During the late 1990s, Julien “Director X” Lutz was taken under the wing of video icon Hype Williams. The protégé learned a lot under Williams’ direction, eventually branching out to put his touch on high profile videos for artists such as R. Kelly, the Clipse and Jay-Z. More recently, X made his name known in rap circles for his direction on Drake’s “HYFR” video. The director and artist tandem—plus the creative approach of capturing Drizzy’s bar mitzvah—was praised in the amount of publications placing the visual on their year-end best-of lists.

X is currently working with the OVO leader on the video for his new single, “Started From the Bottom.” Before he adds one more to his resume, we spoke with X to discuss the videos that shape his career. For his nearly 10-year run in the game, X has helped create some iconic visuals from DMX’s “What’s My Name? to Kanye West’s “The New Workout Plan.” He talked about how Ghostface Killah’s "Cherchez La Ghost" originally had a different treatment, the experience of working with a young Mr. West, and how Nicki Minaj’s “Your Love" tested your limits. Read on to hear the stories behind each of them.— As told to Eric Diep (@E_Diep)