Naima Cochrane Profile picture
Jul 29, 2018 72 tweets 25 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
It's #MusicSermon's BIRTHDAY!!! 🍾🎉
There will be a special Anniversary Service on this evening.

In the meantime, I wrote a little something about #MusicSermon's first year over on the site.

See ya'll this evening! ⛪️…
I’ll be opening the doors of the church around 8pm, and immediate after service I’m dropping the new #MusicSermon bracket 👀 #PleaseGovernYourselvesAccordingly
Grabbing food and getting organized, then we’ll get started on tonight’s special Anniversary #MusicSermon service. I think this might be a two-nighter.
*Choir processes*
*Ushers process*
*Official boards process*

*Steps into pulpit in deep purple robes*
*Waits for all parties to be seated*

Sermonites, Saints and Aint's... we made it to one year!!
I wrote a post reflecting over this first year of #MusicSermon (link is at the very top of this thread), so I won't get too deep any mushy here, but I will say this: I just created the platform. YA'LL turned it into a community. The community is what makes #MusicSermon special.
So anyway, since the very first #MusicSermon (before it had a name) was more about the videos than the music itself, today seemed an ideal time to take it back to the videos... rather, the video directors. The go-tos for the best visuals in the 90s - early 00s.
I was going to try to knock this all out in one night, and I realized quickly there was no way. So we're going to split it into a two-night service (for real this time, I won't push it like I did with Tim lol).
Hype alone could be his own night, TBH... I mean...
Let's start with one of the go-to directors for R&B in the 90s (and I'm still waiting to see him and Tevin in the same room), Billy Woodruff.
A great thing @ following a director's work over the years is watching their styles evolve. I would argue the super early 90s didn't leave room for a lot of creative distinction. These themes were 90/91 101: flowing fabrics, tribal/motherland influences, bare chested dancers, etc
Billy eventually became THE guy for straight R&B.

(I have so many questions about this video treatment though. The wardrobe. All of it).
But Billy's specifically known for his work with Toni.
Bille (I was spelling it wrong accidentally bc who spells it like that), is responsible for some of Toni's most iconic visuals as she was stepping into the fullness of her Toni-ness.

Shoutout to when Tyson was a top snack draft pick.
Bille started as an intern at BET, and then went to work for LaFace (hence his work with Tony Rich and Toni)....
But he was R&B across the board.

Bille was good for some soft lighting.
Video. Soul. Realness.
Even his hip hop work had a bit of a soft, sexy R&B touch.
I know we *just* covered this with Tim & Missy, but this is Bille's work, too.
Shiny suits and leathers R&B? Bille got you covered there, too.
Oh, and Bille translated this under-appreciated classic to screen for us, as well.
(This is still a bop. I wanna front like it's not, but I can't).

Bille has since graduated from videos to tv and film with Honey (all the Honey movies, actually. I think there's like 4 of them... for some reason), Beauty Shop, a Bring it On sequel, the Drumline sequel, and Empire.
This next director is harder for me to sum up simply in terms of style or aesthetic, which is what I love about her/her work.
Diane Martell isn't just a director, but serves creative director when she's not behind the camera), and sometimes choreographer.
And what's fascinating about her, to me, is that two of the artists she worked with most in the mid-90s were Meth...
...and Mariah
Diane did some of the really gritty hip hop videos of the early 90s...
But later turned around and gave you glamour and romance.

(This is one of my favorite Mariah songs, by the way. It was definitely one of my "Songs that make you feel like you can sing" choices)
Where's Keith Murray, by the way?
Some of your favorite Mariah collab videos? Diane...
Your favorite Method Man collab video? Also Diane.
In later years, Diane got away from the street looks and more solidly focused on R&B and pop.
She handles women beautifully. I don't think I've ever seen a Martell video where the artist didn't look GREAT (which is why she's one of the best)
Shout out to young E - V - E.
When they were ready to introduce a more polished, more high-end, bigger budget Eve for her second album, no surprise they wen't to Martell for the first look.
And she could make the young kings look fantastic, too.

And because there's at least one "REALLY??" with every director, proof that Khia once had budgets. 😬

(WARNING: This is the explicit version)
Give me like two minutes, and we'll move forward to Little X, aka Director X, aka Hype Jr.
Most of the directors we'll be looking at tonight and tomorrow have moved on to commercials and film (although Dave Meyers has in recent years come back to videos). X has, too. He just did the Superfly remake. But he's also still been directing, specifically with Drake.
...But ya'll know we not gonna talk about that stuff.
For the LONGEST, my old ass thought there was some whole other director out here named Director X, and I was like "Well I wonder what Little X thinks of that!"

Anyway, X is of the Hype Williams school of directing. Colors! Lighting! Girls! Lots of cuts.
There've been a few times, especially during the era when X was right in his pocket, where I had to go back and check whether it was him or Hype.

BTW, this is one of my favorite videos ever. It's got EVERYTHING. Furs, robes, weight belts, ninjas wearing Avirex at the pool...
X also adopted Hype's love for elaborate yet simple at the same time (read: expensive) sets. Did I mention lighting?

Ya'll remember how BIG Sean Paul was? lol that was crazy.
Also a signature of both X and Hype, the monochromatic play.
Shoutout to Music of the Sun-era Rihanna.
X also gave us some very, very crucial early 00s R&B visuals.
Like Usher's 8701 joints...

I've said this before, but I was hooked on this song the first time I heard it, and all I heard was first verse and hook. Gone.
*Taps mic*
*Unfolds paper*

There is a correction to an earlier post. Martell directed the “My All” REMIX, not the original version. This was famed director/photographer Herb Ritts (Janet “Love Will Never Do” video)

Ok, back to X.

I know Confessions is considered the definitive Usher album. But it's between My Way and 8701 for me as a fave. But Ush has always been consistent with a good visual. Only he could get away with being a grown ass man with them damn sneaker skates.
And X got the Confessions era started with "Yeah". He's since said he wishes he used MORE lights. (Did I mention he likes lights?)

*Bends over to front. Touches toes*
We talked about lights and elaborate sets, right? X says that if you've followed his career, the "Hotline Bling" video should feel like a natural progression.

This used to be my 2Way alert 🤣

Sigh...I miss video budgets.
I don't put this song in rotation enough...

The Neptunes' golden age, forreal.
Like I said earlier, X gave us some crucial early-mid 00 visuals.
Did ya'll know this was nominated for a Grammy? lol
Man...what a time.
I am unable to hear "One Wish" anymore without visualizing Ray J playing the piano alone in the middle of Mayweather's living room, but X put him in the middle of the rain for full dramatic effect. Like, a SUNshower too! Extra dramatic.
Before we move on to our last director tonight, I must also acknowledge that X set Donell Jones' selfish-a** lyrics over beautiful melody to film.
Last director of the night...
I put Paul Hunter RIGHTUNDER Hype as one of the most influential directors of the 90s. Like, not even all the way under, but like that Tetris L shape block stack type under that's also adjacent. He and Hype elevated urban music visuals (and budgets)
Hunter's visuals were crisp, clean. More like cinema than music videos.
And soon his videos were genuinely like mini-movies...
Elaborate openings and plots.
Speed boat chases and crazy set ups.
It was cinematic!!
Honey is basically part II of "Hypnotize", BTW. (Not that I'm mad at it)
The "Been Around the World" video references like 3 movies in the first 3 minutes (it's 10 minutes long). Oh, and Quincy Jones.

Sigh...I REALLY miss video budgets.
There's also a dance break with J Lo, just because why the f*ck not?
Let's stay with these cinematic ass Bad Boy/Paul Hunter collabs a little longer. The No Way Out/Harlem World era was ..... whew.
And when the KING of video-as-movie, movie-as-video was on the comeback, who'd he call?

Paul Hunter.

"You Rock My World" is 13 minutes long (I mean, that's standard for Mike and all, but still).
Even Hunter's videos that weren't meant to mirror major motion pictures looked like A BUDGET.
Like, it was CLEAR there was a REAL BUDGET.
Money on your tv screen, hello.

This shit so glossy and carefully colored and edited.

Also, "Step up in this muthafcka just a swinging my hair" is one of my favorite Snoop lines.
And as I said initially with Hunter, even his "simple" visuals would just be so clean and gorgeous. I mean striking.
Or, if they needed to be edgier, jarring, a little chaotic...he still did it with control (and incredible use of color).
He even turned a slow pan out of a torso into one of the most talked about videos of all time.

And we'll leave off here for tonight, bc there's nowhere else to go after this.
Tomorrow we’ll pick up with Chris Robinson, Bryan Barber, Benny Boom, Dave Meyers & Hype.
So, if all hearts & minds are FULL. 👋🏾

Now unto music that is able to keep you lifted when you're falling, be vibes, joy, and nostalgia. Now, henceforth and forever more.

And all the people said....
As the ushers come forward, if you are moved to make an Anniversary love offering or just contribute to the ministry, you can do so at$musicsermon. I thank you in advance.
Oh! I almost forgot...
Our Anniversary seemed like an appropriate time for another bracket, so I present The Battle of the Golden Era Debuts. There’ll again be a live voting component (launching Aug 1st) but filling your own out is so much fun!
My selections/seeding guidelines + DL link in next tweets.
Since I know alot of ya’ll will ask... I spent like 2 days on choices and seeding - it was not easy!
Albums released 87-03 (w/ the exception of College Dropout). Seeding based largely on my personal opinion 🤷🏽‍♀️.
We don’t have hard guidelines for voting. Use your own. (2/)
You can download the bracket at the link below. Check back here or at for the live voting link on the 31st!…

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More from @naima

Sep 4, 2018
Alright ya’ll, we’re figuring out *our* hashtag for #BobbyBrownBET (bc, no shots to BET, but Bobby needs some flair).
Cast your vote below before 3pm ET.
To help prepare your soul and spirit for tonight (as we continue deliberations on OUR #BobbyBrownBET hashtag), let's revisit my reminder of why Bobby is the once and always KANG of stage and R&B...…
I expanded on it just a little bit on our site as a longform.…
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Happy Sunday, fam. There will probably be a sermon on tonight (but it may be tomorrow. I’m waiting for the spirit to hit). In the meantime, we finished counting down your Top 11 favorite #MusicSermons from our first year. Catch up with them here:…
And ICYMI, last week we had a special #MusicSermon Devotional to give proper acknowledgement to Tevin.…
Aight fam, this week’s #MusicSermon will happen manana. The spirit just isn’t moving on today.
I haven’t really moved beyond scrolling twitter and changing the tv channels from the comfort of my couch.
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Aug 12, 2018
Happy Sunday, fam! The *plan* is to do an early-ish sermon today (around 7) to be done in time for #Insecure.
But I’m also gonna be day-drinking, so let’s see what happens!! 🤷🏽‍♀️

#ICYMI, we finished our Director’s series on Monday w/ Hype Williams.…
Aight, I just got home. I need to get settled and organized but we ARE doing a #MusicSermon tonight. I expect to open the doors of the church around 8/8:30, we’ll rock until #InsecureHBO, take an intermission to watch as a family, then finish service.
*Steps into pulpit without robes*
*Adjust mic*
*Clears throat*

Happy Sunday, family.
I’m not ready to get started just yet (there’s alot of content. You’ll understand in a minute). I am, however, gonna break protocol and - for the first time - set the sermon up, then come back.
Read 76 tweets
Jul 23, 2018
My ni**a this was on NATIONAL TV TWENTY YEARS AGO and ya’ll be like “I need receipts”...
I don’t even...
I also doubt the “pee” tape was still circulating by mid-00’s (at least I hope), but if you ever saw that tape, that was CHILD. She LOOKED like a child. There was no “I thought she was older...” nah.
Wait, the Toure interview happened in 08. I thought it was around the trial. STILL, that means he was FORTY something and couldn’t answer a question about teenage girls. Smh
Read 4 tweets
Jul 15, 2018
Happy Sunday! We will be continuing our special #MusicSermon series on The Superfriends tonight with Timbaland. Doors of the church will open around 8. In the meantime, catch up on the latest church news with this week’s bulletin!…
Alight y'all, I'm getting organized and then well get started with tonight's #MusicSermon.
Ushers, you may begin seating. ⛪️
*Steps into pulpit*
*Adjusts mic*
*Cleans glasses*
*Opens text*

Good evening, family. Sorry for the late start. For one, it's hard for me to settle into a sermon while it's still daylight. Second, I was hit with a massive bout of sleepiness out of the blue...
Read 50 tweets
Jul 9, 2018
We’re taking the “long way” back home so we could stop in Montgomery to visit the lynching memorial. Found the counties we knew. Found the name of a victim my grandfather used to tell stories about.
The latest dates I saw were in the 1940’s. As late as 47. Some lynched for something as simple as standing around a white space, “frightening” a white woman. Sh*t is sounding way too familiar right now.
There are multiple places in the memorial that remind us there are *thousands* of stories we’ll never know the details of. Names that will never be called. These stories rise up in our spirit every time a black person is killed extrajudicially at the hands of police officers...
Read 6 tweets

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