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So, my brother hits me up and says him and his brother-in-law were having a contest to see who was a better MC: Jay-Z (my brother’s pick) verses Eminem (his brother-in-law’s pick). How to do this? By having each person put together a CD of what they considered to be each respective emcee’s best songs… and then having ME listen to the CDs and determine a winner. So I did – and I gave the results by putting together a 13-minute video analyzing each CD’s strengths and weaknesses, then analyzing each song and coming up with a score for both that would determine the winner!

Check it out:

By the way, if you’re curious to see the numerical rankings of each song and album overall that helped me come to my conclusion, you can download this nice little PDF I’ve put together: Jay Z Eminem Contest

- Double A (formerly known as A.P.T.)

Today’s insight is for the music video for the song “When Doves Cry” by A.P.T. (that’s me) and Kaptain Kutta, off our newest collaboration album, “Manifest Destiny: The Takeover mixtape!”

FREE Mixtape Preview/Download – available at www.ManifestDestinyHipHop.com!

INSIGHT INTO A SONG:

This song, “When the Doves Cry,” was one of the hardest ones to come up with for the mixtape. Kaptain Kutta had sent me the beat – a sampling of Prince’s “When Doves Cry” – and I knew it sounded like a hit. Only problem was what to actually do with it!

The beat has these Prince-sampled croons in the chorus part, and I wanted to come up with something that would allow those croons to make sense. Initially I had thought it would make for a good party song where we could talk about getting girls and making them make that sound… but since it’s a dude doing it, I thought it would make it sound kinda… odd.

And so, the beat sat there for 2 months while we worked on other songs. Then, about 5 days before we were supposed to release the album, I came up with an idea: what if, instead of being celebratory croons, they were croons of despair? Like, instead of having the croon be a sound a girl would make during intercourse, it could be more of a groan one makes when things aren’t going right in one’s life?

Once I changed my perspective and went this route, it was easier to come up with a theme for the song.

This song basically gives perspective of what I call “The Before Time.” It’s talking about the feelings and life situation one is going through right before they have their breakthrough and become famous. It’s a life where your job sux, girls won’t date you, and – worst of all – everyone keeps ignoring you and whatever it is you’re trying to put out because they just don’t think you have it.

The first 2 verses have Kaptain Kutta and I talking about various things one may go through during that period, while the third verse gives inspiration and hope to those still going through it. We wanted to end the song on this note so that people know that, even if they are going through a crappy period in their lives while trying to make it, that part will eventually pass if they just keep their eye on the prize.

Some Interesting Song Titbits:

1. My first line of the song – “It gets to the point where your friends won’t even listen to your sh*t” – was written for 2 reasons: one, because I’ve had it happen where I come up with a song I think it’s dope and my friends – supportive as they are – may not be in the mood to hear yet another A.P.T. song; and two, because I figured that, should they actually listen to this song, it would make their ears perk up and make them want to, ironically enough, listen to the whole song.

2. With the songs on the album I was making it a goal to give Kaptain Kutta and I equal amounts of time on each song, and it was no different with this song. However… I wrote the last 4 lines of the song where I’m rapping really fast with the idea that Kutta and I would say every other line. Unfortunately, the tone and pace at which the lines needed to be said weren’t able to match up when we both did it, so I ended up saying the whole thing instead.

FREE MIXTAPE DOWNLOAD – AVAILABLE AT www.ManifestDestinyHipHop.com

INSIGHT INTO A VIDEO SHOOT:

I went to Atlanta for 2 days so Kaptain Kutta and I could shoot videos for the mixtape. This was the second video we worked on, and by far it was the easiest.

The idea was fairly simple: Kutta and I would be walking from our houses on the way to our cruddy jobs in a re-enactment of our “before” times, with me dressed up in a Quiznos outfit and him dressed in his outfit he wore when working at Kroger.

Because we were trying to film 5 videos in one day, we wanted to shoot videos that would be simple yet effective and meaningful. For this video, it was easy to keep it simple while getting our vision across. In short: we’re walking to the bus to go to work because we can’t afford cars. Also, since we wouldn’t have had a big budget to do a massive amount of editing, the shots and editing was kept simple as well, similar to how I would edit videos back in 2008 (I mean, if you really look at the “Obama Milli” video, there’s not much going on other than me in front of a blue screen and a lot of pictures being thrown up on screen to compensate).

Some Interesting Video Tidbits:

1. The house I’m walking out of is actually Kaptain Kutta’s place. The house/fence he’s walking from is a random abandoned house’s place.

2. The cars in the driveway are not owned by me or Kutta – one was his Mom’s, and the other was my friend Daren’s car.

3. Which reminds me: Daren was nice enough to be our third camera guy for when both Kutta and I were on screen at the same time. So, when you see me on screen it’s Kutta doing the filming; when you see Kutta on screen it’s me doing the filming; and when we’re both on screen it was Daren filming.

4. The original idea was to have Kutta and I walk around in the gear we used to work in. I worked at Quiznos at one point and brought that to dress in. However, Kutta did not have his Kroger apron. Therefore, it may appear that he either (a) works at Kroger, or (b) as a waiter in a restaurant. Either way… still works!

5. Editing time for this video was probably like 2 hours, and most of that was choosing what colors to use in the video. I decided I wanted it to look like a “back in the day” recording for most of it, so I chose monotone colors and a projector effect. For the third verse I wanted us to jump into the present time, so I abandoned that look and went with more vibrant colors.

And that’s it – hope you enjoy the video, and be sure to download the mixtape “Manifest Destiny: The Takeover Mixtape” for FREE at our website, www.ManifestDestinyHipHop.com!

- A.P.T.

Ladies and gentleman, I am proud to announce the release of my first ever collaboration mixtape…

Manifest Destiny: The Takeover Mixtape Cover12 Hot songs (plus some bonuses) from me, A.P.T., and my partner in rhyme (and beats) Kaptain Kutta!!

FREE DOWNLOAD – CLICK ON ANY OF THE FOLLOWING LINKS TO PREVIEW/DOWNLOAD:

DATPIFF.COM

MIXTAPEPASS.COM

YOUSENDIT.COM

Track Listing:

  1. The Takeover
  2. I Don’t Mean to Brag
  3. V.I.P.
  4. Wade in the Water
  5. No Tomorrow
  6. The Break Up Song
  7. When The Doves Cry
  8. Heads Will Roll
  9. Take a Look (So Fly)
  10. All Thanks to the Dope Man
  11. Choose One
  12. About to Blow (plus 2 bonus songs!)

INSIGHT INTO A MIXTAPE:

This is my first collaboration mixtape, and it came about for one very simple reason: I wanted to put new music out but didn’t feel like writing full songs.

No, really – most rap songs are 2 to 3 verses, 16 bars or more each, and it can be hard to have to come up with all those words yourself and keep the song interesting. So, I figured it would be a good idea to do a collaboration album.

Why Kaptain Kutta? Well, for those of you who don’t know, this dude is a beat-making GENIUS!! Some of my biggest youtube hits (like “I’mma Let You Finish”) he actually made the beats for, and he’s had quite a few beats on each of my albums. He also raps and puts out a slew of mixtapes each year – way more than me, like every other month or something. He’s got the work ethic and drive for this game, and figured he’d be someone that would actually finish a project with me, as well as make me want to finish a project.

We started making songs in April 2013, with him cooking up beats himself (or with Chris Wayne, his beat-making partner) and me coming up with song concepts and lyrics. It wasn’t until May that I actually had the name for the album. I wanted a title that would symbolize how me and Kutta planned on using this album to take over the industry, if force by necessary. And so, I came up with the idea of calling the album (and later, our group) “Manifest Destiny: The Takeover Mixtape!” (And if you don’t know what “Manifest Destiny” is, I suggest you repeat your 9th grade history class or google it.)

This is a very fun album, but it also gets deep as well. I’ve never been an artist that was good with just creating filler songs or party songs – at some point, it’s always good to have songs with social commentary, or ones that reflect on life, etc. There’s a good mix of songs on here – you have your party songs like “V.I.P.” and “No Tomorrow;” songs about relationships like “The Break Up Song” and “Choose One;” songs about things like the effects of drugs on family (“All Thanks to the Dopeman”) or being tempted by the wrong things (“Wade in the Water”); and some tracks that are about displaying our skills like “The Takeover” and “About to Blow!”

All in all, this album came together real well, and we really want people to hear it. That’s why we’re providing it as a FREE download! You download the album at the following link(s):

DATPIFF.COM

MIXTAPEPASS.COM

YOUSENDIT.COM

That’s all for now – enjoy the mixtape, everybody!! (And yes, videos for songs off the mixtape are coming soon!!)

-A.P.T.

Hey all!

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged on here, but I HAVE been posting up videos on YouTube in the meantime, some of which have actually gathered up quite a few views!!

In the last month, though, I’ve done 3 video music reviews for new albums by Kanye West (“Yeezus”), J. Cole (“Born Sinner”) and Jay-Z (“Magna Carta Holy Grail”). The reviews for Kanye and Jay-Z’s albums in particular have been quite popular, both garnering 1000′s of views on my YouTube channel.

Here are the reviews for you to watch – enjoy!

My review for Kanye West’s “Yeezus!”

My review for J. Cole’s “Born Sinner!”

My review for Jay-Z’s “Magna Carta Holy Grail!”

By the way, me and my partner in rhyme, Kaptain Kutta, have a mixtape coming out next Monday, July 15 called “Manifest Destiny: The Takeover Mixtape!” 12 hot tracks for you to bump for the rest of the summer – it’s a banger, so be sure to get the FREE DOWNLOAD when it comes out!

Manifest Destiny: The Takeover Mixtape Cover-A.P.T.

Hey all!

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve blogged on here, mostly ’cause I’ve been busy with a lot of different video projects and what not. However, I wanted to let you all know that I have been recording NEW material for a NEW mixtape, and it’s dropping in July!

This project is a collaboration between me and Kaptain Kutta. We’ve worked together on a few songs in the past, and all of my albums have featured songs where I rapped on his beats. He released a mixtape back in April, and once I heard it I started getting inspired to write verses… but not whole songs. So, I thought to myself, “hmmm… well, if you can’t think up whole songs, why not do a collaboration album with someone?” I hit him up, he was down to do it, and now we’re about 5 songs in!

Oh yeah – the title of the album is EPIC. It’s called… “MANIFEST DESTINY: The Takeover Mixtape!!”

Why the name choice? Well, those of you familiar with history know that “Manifest Destiny” was the name given to when the Europeans would go to different countries – under the guise of trying to better these new people with religion – and forcefully takeover their land and way of life. So, I thought it would be fun to play with that, and act as though this mixtape is me and Kaptain Kutta’s way of forcefully making our presence known and taking over the rap game. Plus, I haven’t heard anybody use it as an album title yet, so…. yay!

Anyway, I’ve been on a writing frenzy lately, averaging 1 to 2 verses a day. Writing songs is so much easier when you only have to think up either 1 verse or 1.5 verses and the occasional chorus. Even within that, though, there are plenty of ways to make a collabo album be creative, and so far we’ve been coming up with quite a few bangers that are sure to be knockin’ in your car speakers this summer!

“Manifest Destiny: The Takeover Mixtape” will be dropping in July – exact dates will be known soon!

-A.P.T.

Hey well-wishers! Okay, so I made this video 2 weeks ago and forgot to post it up here! Justin Timberlake’s newest album, “The 20/20 Experience,” leaked a week early, so I made an album review for it! Check it out!

-A.P.T.

Hey all:

Just wanted to do a mini-announcement: I am (finally) in the process of writing songs for my long-talked-about album, “Organized Chaos!” It’s going to be an album of original songs (i.e. no parodies) and have beats that range in variety.

APT Potential Album Cover

I don’t know too much other than that at the moment. What I do know is, since my last album, “The O-bama Mixtape II: Vote Obama Style,” a lot of things have happened in my life (both great and challenging) and within the past week I’ve been starting to get inspired to write new songs.

Up to this point, I haven’t really done a good job at promoting my original albums – I mean, the parody stuff sells itself thanks, in part, to the fact that the works I’m making fun of are pretty well-known – and I want to make sure people buy the songs on this one when it finally does come out.

Incidentally, this may be the last official album I put out – after this, I plan on releasing songs, but probably as just singles. We’re in an age now where singles tend to sell better than full albums, but one well-promoted single can sell MILLIONS. Just seems like a good direction to go in. However, I’ve had the idea of doing this particular album for YEARS now, so I want to get it out now while I still have motivation to do so.

As for when the album will come out? I’m taking my time with it. Right now I’m looking at sometime around July or August – I want to be able to record the songs and find creative ways to promote the album. Plus, if I talk about the album enough between now and when it’s released, I should be able to have a very good first day sales number. Fingers crossed, people!

-A.P.T.

Hey all:

So, I’m putting together some new things that will help me to earn some more money doing the things I like to do. While sitting here pondering some of my next ventures, a random thought came to my brain that I felt would be beneficial for me to share…

I live in Los Angeles now, where I make my bread and butter off music, video editing, producing and background extra work. And yet, what I’ve noticed is that all of the stuff I make money from are things I used to either do or give away for free.

Take, for example, my music. When I lived in Atlanta back in 2008 my goal was to give away a song a week for a whole year, for free. By the 6 month mark, though, I had people not only willing to pay me for my music, but also hiring me on for projects to create music for them.

And then, there’s my video editing. I was making videos for myself simply because I thought it would be a good platform with which to display my creativity and get my music out there. When I got to Los Angeles, people saw some of these videos and asked me to edit a few things for them here and there – for free. So I did; and, over time, I started getting paid for this skill, to the point where now it’s how I make most of my money.

And then, producing. As I upgraded my equipment I was able to learn how to make music and videos on quality equipment. A lot of up-and-coming entertainers I’d run into didn’t have the stuff I had to make a good-sounding album or video, but were willing to pay me to use my stuff. So I started charging people for it – and, lo and behold, people were actually willing to pay me the price I asked for!

And lastly, acting. Although I do mostly music stuff now, I went to school for a Fine and Performing Arts degree. That meant years and years of doing theater stage shows and NOT getting paid. And yet, all the skills I acquired during that time are ones that now help me when I’m creating content out here for myself and others. It’s also what’s allowed me to discover background acting here in L.A., where I can be on set and still enjoy acting as a “hobby” while getting paid something for it.

The point of all this is that if you want to be successful, you have to constantly be doing what you love, even when you’re not getting paid for it. You never know who’s watching you do what you do, and you never know who’s going to come to you one day and say: “Hey, I like what you’re doing and would love to give you some money for it.”

Now, most people want to get paid upfront for anything they do; however, unless you’ve been in an industry doing something for years and have a proven track record of excellence, you’re not going to start off getting paid that much. However, the irony of doing something you love regularly for free is, when people are able to see the high quality work you’re putting out when you’re NOT being paid anything, they will think to themselves: “Geez, I can only imagine how much better their stuff would be if they DID get paid…” and throw money at you.

Anyway… just thought I’d share that thought with you all. Best of luck in your journey towards success!

-A.P.T.

Hey all:

So, the last video I posted on here was for the 2 Chainz parody song “I’m Chrisitian (I’m Diffrent Spoof).” Since that time, I’ve been mulling over what I want my next step to be music-wise.

These days, though, I find that the majority of my bread and butter comes from creating stuff for other people. I’m in the process now of finalizing a deal with a popular knife maker to create parody songs and videos for their company, which will help to generate a lot of income, but also take up a lot of my time. Aside from that, I’ve also been doing video editing work for people here in H-wood, both for people on the come-up and bigger names. In looking back almost 5 years ago, I still find it hard to imagine that I’d go from being in a studio apartment in ATL creating stuff for myself to actually being a well-respected content creator in Los Angeles.

With that said, my desire for creating my own songs – like, not just parodies but original songs – is still something I want to do. I have an arsenal of original beats ready for me to create songs to, and I’ve been listening to them for the past few weeks. At the moment, though, I’m still trying to figure out what it is I want to say. I don’t want to re-hash the same kinds of concepts or ideas I was having back in my mid-20′s, but I still want to create stuff that is entertaining, a bit off-kilter and, in some cases, controversial (but not just to be controversial).

I’m also trying to figure out how I want to present them to the public. Part of me would love to go out and perform my songs live in front of an audience; and yet, another part of me loves being able to just stay home, create videos for my songs and present them that way. I’m very aware that putting together a GREAT performance takes lots of practice, coordination and time – things that, to be honest with you, I don’t care to make time for. I’d rather just be able to memorize the song, go on stage and perform it… but even that would require me to, at the very least, work out enough so that I could get used to performing these songs without running out of breath on stage. So far I’ve done okay for myself in terms of profiting off my videos (thanks, YouTube!) and iTunes (thanks, “Obama Milli Remix” and “Vote Obama Style!”), so I’d rather be able to get the money that way.

I also like the idea of creating songs and/or beats that could be used in realms outside of the performing arts. Many artists make good money selling their tunes for use in commercials, TV shows, movies, and other forms of media. This is the pathway I’d prefer to do. The crux of that, though, is that when I create songs I have to think of them from the angle of how they would best sell, and not always from the angle of expressing my inner thoughts as an artist. Eh, so what – if I want to do that, I can always blog on here, right?

Anyway… so, I’ll have new music coming at some point. In the meantime, I’m definitely down to collaborate with other artists on their albums – I find it’s a good way for me to practice my writing skills, while also giving me motivation to record my own stuff. Once I’ve started recording some new tracks I’ll be sure to announce an album date, but it will probably be in the latter part of this year. Stay tuned!

-A.P.T.

Happy new year! Okay, enough of that – today’s video insight is for my NEW parody song, a spoof of 2 Chainz’ “I’m Diffrent” called “I’m Christian!”

ONLY 99 CENTS FOR DOWNLOADCLICK HERE!

INSIGHT INTO A SONG

When I first heard 2 Chainz’ “I’m Diffrent” song, I immediately started trying to think of a parody for it. The song was just too darn catchy to NOT be a hit, and even though it came out back in August, the song continues to bump heavily now and is still climbing the charts.

Around October is when I first thought of the idea to make a parody of it called “I’m Christian.” Not necessarily because I wanted to do a religious parody (though it had been on my mind for a while), but because it just fit so perfectly, and I knew I’d have tons of subject matter to talk about. However, since it was the holidays I had also considered turning the song into a spoof called “It’s Christmas” to take advantage of the holiday momentum. Eventually, I realized that “It’s Christmas” would only have relevancy during the holidays, whereas “I’m Christian” could rock all year, and tons of kids who went to church AND listened to worldly music would get a kick out of it.

It took me until January (like 2 weeks ago) to finally write and record the song; however, I was coming up with words, phrases and ideas for the song in bits and pieces for a few weeks. I’d be on a film set (I do background work here in L.A.) thinking up song verses and sending them to myself, or I’d be walking home and suddenly – BAM! – another verse would pop into my head and I’d be on my phone texting it out.

I wanted the song to be both funny AND enlightening. I placed a good amount of focus mentioning things that happen in the church that are funny (i.e. kids falling asleep, old ladies dancing, communion), but I also mention things like Jesus dying for our sins, having one’s spirit being happy, changing your life around, etc. All in all, I think I made a very well-balanced song – one that’s not too preachy and is funny, yet is respectful of God and what he can do for people’s lives!

Some Interesting Song Tidbits:

1. The easiest part of the song to write – which I thought would be the hardest – was the first part of the 2nd verse. In the original, 2 Chainz is rambling on about meeting girls at tellies and putting his stuff in her belly, but it’s the flow and his usage of words repeatedly I thought would be hard to duplicate. And then, when I was walking home one day, words just started coming to me, and I couldn’t type fast enough on my phone to put it in a text message and send it to myself. What I ended up writing just worked so well, and it only took about 5 minutes to come up with!

2. Like I said, the words of the song came together in bits and pieces, like a puzzle. I’d go a few days not even working on the song, then BOOM – I would have half a verse done in no time.

3. Trying to include as many church references as I could proved to be hard as I got close to completing the song. I wanted to mention the Bible, angels, preachers, kids falling asleep in church, and so much more, so fitting all that stuff in really became a matter of re-arranging ideas. The hardest one was trying to fit in communion, and the fact that most places use grape juice instead of wine. But I did, and it’s probably the funniest part of the song (at least to me).

4. Initially, I tried to imitate 2 Chainz’ voice. Turns out, my vocal range is slightly higher than his, so I just went for trying to say words like him instead.

INSIGHT INTO A VIDEO SHOOT

All I knew was I wanted to film everything in front of the green screen. I recently moved to my own place where I have my green screen placed up in my living room, ready to use 24/7/365, and wanted to put it to good use.

What I didn’t know, though, was if I’d be able to get anyone else to be in the video with me (don’t I always say that?? LoL). Long story short, I got my friend Joe to be in it (’cause he’s in, like, almost ALL of my videos), plus some new women additions to the “A.P.T. Video Archives.”

In order to put the video together, I knew the backgrounds would be of utmost importance. I went on YouTube to see if anyone had background loops of church stuff I could use; it was a shot in the dark, but lo and behold: a media group called Muddy River Media (http://www.muddyrivermedia.org) had tons of free-usage backgrounds with spiritual content! I downloaded as many of them as I could to use in the video, along with pictures of things like churches, pews, seats, and other things for me and my guests to stand in front of.

And, of course, different backgrounds meant dressing up in different outfits! I must say, I got a LOT of new clothes over the holidays, so most of the stuff I’m wearing in the video isn’t stuff I’ve worn on camera before. I have about 4 or 5 outfits I wore for this video so there would be a variety in look.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot! In a happy circumstance, I was able to get J. Anthony Brown – radio personality from “The Tom Joyner Morning Show” – to make a guest cameo in the video! He had called me to film something at his house, and was gracious enough to allow me to get some footage of him to use for my video. Appreciate the look!

Anyway… I can’t really say too much more about the video, other than I shot it as if I was doing a cable access show. So… check it out already!

Some Interesting Video Tidbits:

1. The girl in the black jacket – Destiny – looks like she’s wearing a church robe in the choir scene. But really, she’s just wearing her jacket backwards.

2. Also, none of the people in the choir scene were shot at the same time. I filmed each one individually because… well, they weren’t all here at the same time.

3. The original idea for the baptism scene was to through me in the pool. However, by the time we got ready to shoot the scene, it was nighttime, so the light wouldn’t have worked. Getting baptized in the kitchen also seemed like a funnier idea to me.

4. J. Anthony Brown’s scene is one of the few that doesn’t have a green screen background. However, the part of his house we filmed in front of – with a brown maroon curtain and a wall light candle – just happens to look like a wall a church may have!

5. Estimated editing time was… a LOT. I actually edited the flow of the backgrounds before I finished filming the video, so I was editing while filming. Let’s just estimate it at around 12 hours or so – at least that what it felt like!

That’s all for now! Enjoy the video, and be sure to get the song on iTunes!

-A.P.T.

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