Drake director says ‘Hotline Bling’ clip was inspired by his work with Sean Paul

Video draws on director's work for 'Gimme The Light' and 'I'm Still In Love'

Director X, the director behind Drake‘s new video ‘Hotline Bling’, has explained inspiration behind his new clip, which has spawned many memes and jokes online.

The filmmaker, real name Julien Christian Lutz, has recently worked with the likes of Iggy Azalea, Little Mix, Kendrick Lamar and Justin Bieber. He previously directed Drake’s videos for ‘Worst Behavior’, ‘Started From The Bottom’ and ‘HYFR’.

Lutz recently told The Fader that one of the inspirations behind the video was his own work with Sean Paul.


“I’m influenced from a lot of places,” Lutz said. “I’m a set-driven director. A lot of kids were noticing that this feels like the Sean Paul video [for ‘Gimme The Light’] which was a light-driven piece. A lot of kids were saying it looks like this other Sean Paul video, ‘I’m Still In Love,’ which is another video I did, which is another set-driven, people in boxes kind of piece. I do understand why people would say that’s Turrell’s thing but this is my style best of all. I’m definitely familiar with the man’s work, he’s a genius. But if you look back at what I do, this is my style.”


The director added: “Drake’s vibe and involvement [made the ‘Hotline Bling’ video experience] a little different than your usual music video, where you’re hired and it’s: ‘Here’s the gig and here’s the thing we’re doing.’ Drake is a part of it, he has an idea of what he wants. He wanted to do that whole dance number with [dancer] Tanisha at the end.”

“That dance was a throwback for me and Tanisha, to Sean Paul’s ‘Gimme The Light.’ Tanisha and I do the same dance and situation in those videos. This really does feel like a ‘Gimme The Light’ for a new millennium, or the ’10s. But this is definitely on a different level. I’ve seen some videos react, ‘Gimme The Light’ was a real pice of culture. It was a music that was out of the spotlight for a while—it all really hit and people were excited when it happened.”

Watch the videos for ‘Hotline Bling’ and ‘Gimme The Light’ below.


Drake has been accused of “jacking” another artist’s music with ‘Hotline Bling’, with Virginia newcomer DRAM pointing to what he perceives as similarities between the song and his own ‘Cha Cha’.

‘Cha Cha’ was originally released in March, with Drake’s ‘Hotline Bling’ following in July. The similarities between the two songs has been noted previously, with Beats 1 describing Drake’s song as a ‘Cha Cha remix’ when it first premiered on the artist’s own Ovosound radio show. Drake has since described it as a “quasi cover”, according to Billboard.

Now, DRAM himself has taken to Twitter to accuse Drake of “jacking” his song. He recently wrote: “Just performed in Toronto for the 1st time tonight and it was bittersweet… cus after my performance all I’m seeing is Cha Cha/Hotline Bling comparisons on my timeline.”

He continued: “I feel I got jacked for my record… But I’m GOOD.”

Following the comments, Erykah Badu, who recently covered ‘Hotline Bling’, replied: “We loved ‘Cha Cha’ first. Very unique and raw. That’s that underground magic force that sparks a seed to grow a tree.”

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