Tag Archive: jay-z


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:

The election is in two days! I’m already starting to see a spike in video views, song sales and blog traffic, so I figured I would put all my Obama-related stuff in ONE place for you guys to look at, buy, repost, retweet, email and share!

First off, all my current Obama songs can be found on my NEW album, “The O-Bama Mixtape II: Vote Obama Style!” Here’s the full track list:

  1. The Next Black President
  2. Vote Obama Style (Gangnam Style Parody)
  3. I <3 Nicki Minaj
  4. Imma Fool Wit It feat. Kaptain Kutta
  5. I’m Never Ever Gonna Vote for Romney (We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together Parody)
  6. Words With Friends
  7. Pick Up Your Face feat. Snake Eyez and DJ-T
  8. Christmas in Paris feat. Non Juan (Ni**as in Paris Parody)
  9. Zone Out
  10. Your Mama Is So Ugly
  11. Obama Milli Remix 2012 (A Milly Parody)
  12. Rich Man’s World
  13. Ooh, I’m a Model feat. Genellyn
  14. Black President (Rack City Parody)

You can download this album or the individual songs from a plethora of online retailers – here are the links to all of them:

ITUNES – Click HERE!
AMAZON – Click HERE!
eMUSIC – Click HERE!
GOOGLE Play – Click HERE!

But wait! If you’d like to get the 99 cent “Vote Obama Style” ringtone, you can either go to the online link and get it (click HERE) or text VOTEOBAMASTYLE 1 to 69937!

Now, check out the videos for some of the album cuts below!

VOTE OBAMA STYLE!! (GANGNAM STYLE PARODY)

I’M NEVER EVER GONNA VOTE FOR ROMNEY (WE ARE NEVER EVER GETTING BACK TOGETHER PARODY)

OBAMA MILLI REMIX 2012 (A MILLI PARODY)

BLACK PRESIDENT (RACK CITY PARODY)

CHRISTMAS IN PARIS (NI**AS IN PARIS PARODY)

Thanks for all the views and shares, and don’t forget to VOTE OBAMA STYLE on Tuesday, November 6th!

-A.P.T.

Well, it’s finally here…

Introducing my NEW A.P.T. album, “The O-Bama Mixtape II: Vote Obama Style!” Click the picture above or HERE to preview/order the album on iTunes!

Track listing:

  1. The Next Black President
  2. Vote Obama Style (Gangnam Style Parody)
  3. I Wanna Do Nicki Minaj
  4. Imma Fool Wit It feat. Kaptain Kutta
  5. I’m Never Ever Gonna Vote for Romney (We’re Never Ever Getting Back Together Parody)
  6. Words With Friends
  7. Pick Up Your Face feat. Johney Capo and DJ-T
  8. Christmas in Paris (Ni**as in Paris Parody)
  9. Zone Out
  10. Your Mama Is So Ugly
  11. Obama Milli Remix 2012 (A Milli Parody)
  12. Rich Man’s World
  13. Ooh, I’m a Model feat. Genellyn
  14. Black President (Rack City Parody)

Insights into the album:

In 2008 when I released the first “The O-Bama Mixtape,” I had NO idea what I was doing in terms of how to market myself. I had a hot song out at the time with “Obama Milli Remix” but didn’t really know how to capitalize on it or the wave of momentum it had. I released the album as a free mixtape, thinking only a few people would download it and that nobody would want to pay for it.

Fast-forward to the day of the election, and I wake up to find that the mixtape got downloaded over 8000 times… in ONE day.  doing the math, had I decided to charge for the mixtape and only 10% of those people – 800 – had decided to purchase the album, I would have made close to $5,000 in ONE day.

Ever since then, I’ve always wished I could (a) have another out that would hit as hard as “Obama Milli Remix” did, and (b) have another shot at marketing and promoting the album in a way where it would make an impact AND bring in some money.

Fast-forward 4 years later…

I knew I wanted to make a sequel to “The O-bama Mixtape,” but didn’t want to do it if it was going to be a waste of my time. I released a few songs earlier this year about Obama, but none of them were getting the views I felt would be needed to put the album together.

Then, in August, I heard about this song called “Gangnam Style” by a Korean pop artist named Psy.  After seeing the video – which had over 100 million views at the time (and has over 200 million now) – I KNEW I wanted to make a parody of it. I go into further detail in one of my earlier blogs, but in short: I came up with the idea to make a song about Obama using this song, then went and made an EPIC video for it that closely mimicked the original source material.

Well, after I put it up on YouTube, it started to get views. A LOT of views. In the first week alone, the video garnered well over 50,000 views. As of this writing it’s up to 95,000…

More importantly, though, the speed at which the views racked up have been FASTER than they were for “Obama Milli Remix.”  I already had “Vote Obama Style” up on iTunes (which, thus far, has been getting a LOT of purchases, but I won’t know how many until November), but wanted some of my other Obama songs to get attention as well.

I hadn’t really recorded enough songs lately for a new album (except for “Imma Fool Wit It,” originally released by Kaptain Kutta earlier this year – I just jumped on the beat ’cause I liked it and the song was siiiiick!). However, I HAD released a mixtape last year – “Justin Beeber Must Die!” – that had a lot of good songs on it but didn’t get the attention I wanted. I also had recorded songs earlier this year for the “Rapping My Life” project that fizzled out.

Since not many people had heard these songs, I figured “Hey, why not take some of those songs, mix them together with your Obama parody songs, and put the album up on iTunes?”

Okay, great idea – but what would I call the album?

This is where having a knowledge of the marketplace comes in. The original title was going to be “The O-Bama Mixtape II: Back in the White House.” However, with Psy’s “Gangnam Style” becoming a bigger hit by the day, I knew I wanted my songs to pop up in the iTunes search engine when people went there to find his song. In order to do that, my songs also had to have the same wording in it. Of course, I couldn’t name every song “Gangnam Style” parody…

BUT… I COULD place that title in MY album title so it would be attached to all the songs!

And thus, the OFFICIAL album title is… “A.P.T. Presents – The O-bama Mixtape II: Vote Obama Style (Gangnam Style Parody)!”

Now, some of you may be familiar with my previous works, including the songs that reappear on this album. For those not familiar, though, here’s a brief synopsis of all the songs:

1. NEXT BLACK PRESIDENT – First appeared on the “The Next Black President” mixtape. It talks about how Blacks now have a better shot at being President thanks to Obama.

2. VOTE OBAMA STYLE – A parody of “Gangnam Style” talking about Obama’s reelection campaign, as well as my disdain for Romney.

3. I WANNA DO NICKI MINAJ – First appeared on the “Justin Beeber Must Die” mixtape. Discusses my desire for wanting the hottest rap female in the game!

4. IMMA FOOL WIT IT – First appeared on Kaptain Kutta’s “Red Dream 3″ mixtape (I think). Just a track where we’re slick-talking about how good/crazy we are!

5. I’M NEVER EVER GONNA VOTE FOR ROMNEY – A parody of Taylor Swift’s “We’re Never Ever Getting Back Together.” Talks about Romney’s habit of flip-flopping his views.

6. WORDS WITH FRIENDS – First appeared on the “Rapping My Life” album. The beat was made using sounds from the actual game, and talks about how good I am at beating people in it.

7. PICK UP YOUR FACE – Features Johney Capo and my bro DJ-T. First appeared on the “Justin Beeber Must Die” mixtape. A track for all the haters out there that didn’t believe we’d make it!

8. CHRISTMAS IN PARIS – A parody of Jay-Z and Kanye’s “Ni**as in Paris.” Features me as Santa Claus talking to kids about why they’re not getting gifts this year.

9. ZONE OUT – First appeared on the “Justin Beeber Must Die” mixtape. A song about having the worst day possible and trying to relax afterward.

10. YOUR MAMA IS SO UGLY – First appeared on the “Justin Beeber Must Die” mixtape. There’s a joke that says you can tell how fine a girl will be when she’s older by looking at her mom. This song talks about that…

11. OBAMA MILLI REMIX 2012 – A parody of Lil’ Wayne’s “A Milli.” Ever since I made the first “Obama Milli Remix” people have been asking me to make a sequel FOREVER. And so, here it is, with basically the same words plus some changes to talk about Romney instead of John McCain.

12. RICH MAN’S WORLD – First appeared on the “Justin Beeber Must Die” mixtape. Talks about the ups and downs of making it.

13. OOH, I’M A MODEL – Featuring Genellyn.  I wanted to make a minimalistic track that didn’t have many words to it, that girls could also dance to.

14. BLACK PRESIDENT – A parody of Tyga’s “Rack City.” That bastard stole my “Obama Milli Remix” song from me back in 2008, so this is light revenge for that. LoL. But really, it’s a GREAT track talking about re-electing Obama for President.

And that’s it! You can download the songs individually, or get the album – either way, I appreciate your support, and hope you enjoy the songs!

-A.P.T.

Get the album NOW – click HERE!

Today’s video insight is for the song “Christmas in Paris,” a parody of Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “Ni@@as in Paris!”

Download from any of the following:

iTunes – click HERE
Amazon – click HERE
Soundclick – click HERE
Zippyshare – click HERE

INSIGHT INTO A SONG:

When I first heard Jay-Z and Kanye’s “Watch the Throne” album, the 3rd track, “N!@@as in Paris,” was the one that caught my attention. Apparently, everyone else felt the same way: since the album’s release, the song has hit number 8 on Billboard (and rising); almost everyone and their grandma has released their own remix of it on YouTube; and, when I went to their concert this past Sunday, the duo performed it SEVEN TIMES (and NINE times last night according to my friend), and the crowd never seemed to tire from hearing it.

Very few songs come along where just about EVERYONE who hears it likes it, and where it’s so infectious it can be played hundreds of times and keep you hyped up each time.  This is one of those songs. And when these types of songs come along… well, I know that means it’s my job to make a parody of it!!

Aside from that, I wanted to release a song specifically meant for the holidays.  I haven’t released a Christmas song before, but they’re always good to have available for sale in November/December since those types of tunes are being bought.

So, I decided to make my parody version of “Paris” about something Christmas-related.  I went with the angle of me being a Santa Claus that’s explaining to bad kids why they’re not getting gifts from me this year.  It’s almost like an anti-Christmas song in the sense that Ol’ St. Nick isn’t being his jolly self, but rather a person tired of bad kids asking him to look past their misdeeds all year just so they can get a gift.

Writing the song was surprisingly easy – I think it only took about 20 minutes or so.  Once I found the beat(s) on YouTube, I downloaded them and began recording.

As part of the write-up for the song, I wanted to use my regular voice, as well as a kid’s voice for the parts where I have a kid begging Santa for gifts.  The only real kid voice I have is the one that sounds similar to the voice I use for my puppet character, Non Juan, so I decided to go full out and use him in the song… which would then also give me an excuse to use him in the video.  Smart thinkin’, right?

Some Interesting Song Tidbits:

1. The original version of “Paris” has 2 beats – one used for most of the song, and one used for the breakdown. I couldn’t seem to find a version of the beat produced by one person that had both beats that sounded good, so I split it up. The main song beat was produced by YouTube user juan777ish; the latter beat was produced by YouTube user GeneralsBeats.

2. The line “No gifts for your muffin…” is a secret shout-out to one of my cousins who calls me that all that time. Still makes sense for use in the song, though…

3. The “Ho Ho Ho Ho” at the end is an ad-lib.  After Non Juan’s scream, I wasn’t going to have any more vocals, but just said it to see how it sounded. I liked it, so I kept it.

INSIGHT INTO A VIDEO SHOOT

I had so many ambitious ideas for this video, to the point that it almost stalled me from making it.

At first, I wanted to get actual kids to use in the video instead of Non Juan (my bro thought it might make the vid turn out better).  Of course, that means having to schedule kids, get the parent’s permission for dates and times, hoping they can do a take right, making them listen to the part of the song you want them to lip sync and hoping they get it… quite the hassle.

Then, I was thinking I wanted to film it outside in front of a decorated house… but that would mean having to ask the person who lived there if I could use the front of their yard, and possibly having to pay them. Plus, I’d have to get someone to film me since I don’t have a camera stand…

At some point, I had to stop and think back to when I was making videos in Atlanta. No help, no budget, nothing but a camera, a silly idea, and time on my hands.  Best of all, it was SIMPLE. I didn’t have to consult with anybody about what would be a good idea, I just went by my instincts.

So, that’s what I did this time around: kept it simple.  I’d just decorated the apartment with a Christmas tree and some stockings, and had access to a chair that looked like something Santa would sit in.  In lieu of an official camera light kit, I used my roommate’s highly-lit 3-pronged lamp (which uses the same bulbs as most camera light kits anyway) and placed it in front of me.  Then, I set up a table chair across from where I’d be sitting and used it to prop up my Flip Ultra HD camera.

Yeah, like I said, back to basics, people!

As for the Santa costume… turns out, renting a Santa costume cost about $70 that I didn’t want to spend.  However, going to Target and getting a Santa hat ($4), some fake cotton snow to use for a beard ($3.59) and a green shirt with Santa’s face on it that says “Don’t Stop Believin’” ($9) was MUCH more cost-effective (yet still more than I spend on most of my videos).

I put the costume on, sat in the chair, and filmed the video.  I did a few shots by myself (one with sunglasses on) and a few with Non Juan in my lap as the kid. Then, I moved the placement of the Christmas tree, stood in front of the wall next to it, and did some more shots of me performing the song and/or dancing to it.  Really, really simple shoot, about 5 or 6 takes in all.

Some Interesting Video Shoot Tidbits:

1. To keep the fake snow beard on,  I used scotch tape and tucked the top part of the beard into the hat.  Midway through the shots of me standing up and performing, the left side of my beard fell out of the hat, so I had to stop, re-tape and re-tuck, then go back to filming.

2. I have 2 Non Juan puppets; the one I used for this shoot has a hole in his back where my hand can go. However, I didn’t want that hole showing when I was spanking him; I had to hold him at an awkward angle so as not to show it.

3. The various footage of Santa Claus flying in his sleigh was found at www.iSpotSanta.com, a hilariously great website where people post up “footage” of Santa flying over different places.

4. The moving effects for the video at the part where the beat breaks down was found by accident. I wanted to use the earthquake effect to make things shake (thus making that part of the song and the beat seem powerful), but it wasn’t quite giving off the full effect I wanted.  I saw something in the editing bay that said “Quick Flash/Spin,” and when I tried it, I instantly KNEW it had to be used!

5. The “Mom” used in this video is my roommate, Danielle.  Ironically, the “infant” crying near the end of the video is her son (and my Godson).  He was making a fuss about something one day; with this song in mind, I ran to my room, grabbed my camera, and was able to film him just as his crying spell was ending.  (Oh, and then I comforted him. Yeah, had to add that in so I wouldn’t look like I cared more about filming than soothing a crying child :P)

6. Editing time for this video was… I can’t even count. It was longer than I thought it would take, especially given that I only used 5 or 6 takes. A lot of video editing is figuring out where to place things, how certain parts of the video should look, and it’s making these decisions that takes the longest. Actual editing was probably about 5 or 6 hours, but it felt a LOT longer.

And that’s it! Be sure to download the song, share the video with your friends, request it at radio… you know the dilly!

-A.P.T. (Prince of Parody)

Hey all! I decided to do a parody of a popular song – in this case, Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “Ni–as in Paris,” and turn it into a Christmas song called “Christmas in Paris!” It’s been sent to iTunes, and should be available very, very soon. In the meantime, I’m allowing it to be a FREE download for the next week, so get it and pass it around to your friends!

Here’s the song in YouTube video form (depending on how popular it is, I may make a video for it)!

And here’s the FREE download link: http://www37.zippyshare.com/v/9499906/file.html

-A.P.T.

Hey peeps, guess what? I’m back to writing songs again!

A few months ago, I wrote a blog called My Sporadic Writing Schedule, where I talked about how my music creativity usually consists of me writing a bunch of songs at one time, recording them, releasing them… and then not writing anything for months.

The last album I released, “The Obama Milli Remix Guy Strikes Back,” came out in June.  Since then, I haven’t really had any inspiration to write anything for the past 4 months.

But lo and behold: last month I was able to write and record a new song – a parody of Willow Smith’s “Whip My Hair” called “Rub That Nair”.  I posted it up on iTunes, and the songs has been selling pretty well so far.

Now that I’ve gotten the creative juices flowing, all sorts of ideas have been coming to my head.  In the last week alone, I’ve thought of 6 songs to write and record.  I haven’t had this many song ideas come to me at one time in a while, and the feeling is quite over-whelming!  Like, I’ll think I no longer have any ideas to write about, and then BOOM! A new idea will come to me the next day!

All this is very exciting.  My new album – dropping very, very soon – is going to be my best-selling album.  Why? Because the strategy for it, as well as the songs, is so narrow and focused, it has NO CHOICE but to be successful!

Hopefully, it’ll make me enough money to finally take a vacation to Hawaii.  For now, though, I’m still working on writing and recording all the stuff that’s in my head, which shouldn’t take long depending on when I can find the time to record (which is when everyone else is out of the apartment.  That doesn’t always happen when I’d like it to, so release dates will be announced once I’m able to actually record all this stuff.)

That’s all for now – new album coming soon!

-A.P.T.

Greetings!

If you’re reading this, chances are you probably read my resume, and wanted to see some of the videos I’ve edited.  Most of the videos I edited had to do with the “One-Song-A-Week” project I filmed between May 2008-2009.  You are more than welcome to watch all 54 videos (click HERE for the complete list of videos)….

HOWEVER…

Since I’m assuming you’re as busy as I am, I’ve put together 2 video resumes and 2 recent videos (produced, directed and edited by me) for your to check out:

Video Editing Resume #1: The Best of the Best

This is a 3-minute summary of what I consider to be some of the best video edits I have personally produced and/or edited.

Video Editing Resume #2: A Summary of My “One-Song-A-Week” Challenge

For one full year, I posted up a new music video (music courtesy of me) each Sunday.  The last song/video of the project – “I’m the Realest” – was a collage of all the videos I made during the year. And here it is:

Video Editing Resume #3: A Public Service Announcement (Full)

This is an example of a fake “Public Service Announcement” I made up after Kris Allen won American Idol against favorite Adam Lambert.  It’s pretty funny, but check out the editing skills on it!

Video Editing Resume #4: A Full Music Video Parody

Lastly, here is one of the more recent music videos I edited – it’s a parody of Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind” called “Oprah State of Mind” featuring Non Juan (of http://www.NonJuan.com fame) and Tamika Keyz!

If you’re interested in working with me for the purposes of video directing, editing, or creative consulting, e-mail me at APTsongs@hotmail.com.  Thank you for taking the time to look at some of my work!

Oh yeah – for those of you who didn’t get a copy of my resume, and just happen to stumble upon this page, my resume is down below (sans my phone number).  Enjoy!

-Aaron P. Taylor

Objective:

Seeking to work on a Video Editor position within a production company or television station, where I am allowed to use my creativity to help tell a story, while learning and growing in the industry.

Qualification Summary:

  • Extensive previous experience with videography of dance, comedy or music videos.
  • Strong ability to operate S-VHS and digital/HD video equipment.
  • Extremely proficient with non-linear and computerized video editing systems.
  • Wide knowledge of iMovie and Mac operating system as well as Windows Video Media.
  • Evening and weekend availability.
  • Strong ability to work independently and professionally in a timely and efficient manner.
  • Proven high abilities to be an efficient, multi-tasked, dependable & reliable worker.
  • Excellent writing and oral skills, observant, keen on details, goal oriented.

Education:

  • Hampton University, Hampton, VA – Bachelor of Fine and Performing Arts, May 2005

Work Experience:

Responsibilities have included:

  • Creating, writing, producing, editing, sound mixing, mastering, publishing and promoting various music videos, skits, video blogs, music reviews, and advertisements for both myself and for http://NonJuan.com
  • Started a “One-Music-Video-a-Week” project (May 2008 – May 2009) where I recorded, edited and posted a new video each Sunday for one full year. Project resulted in one of my videos getting recognized worldwide, including on radio stations, for a year
  • Editing Red Carpet footage for 307 Productions
  • Assembling the final video production sequence from other companies, consisting of shots taken from the raw camera footage, contacting directly producers and graphic artists to assemble video content for web distribution, providing non-linear video editing, image manipulation and color correction of all assigned productions.
  • Synchronizing and storing them into files on computer, digitally cutting the files in order to determine the sequence of a film and determining what parts are usable, creating a ‘rough cut’ of the programme/film and determining the exact cutting for the next and final stages and re-ordering and tweaking the content in order to ensure the logical sequencing and smooth running of the video.

References: Available upon request

As you all may know by now, Jay-Z’s highly anticipated album, “Blueprint 3,” leaked on August 31.  I got a copy of it, and decided to do a video review for it (the first one ANYWHERE in the world).

So, what did I think of the album?  Is it an album worth picking up at the store, or is Jay-Z starting to get too old to do this anymore? Find out by watching the video below!

-A.P.T.


Above: The long version of “I’m The Realest” featuring an intro and outro skit!


Above: The short version of “I’m the Realest” with the song and montage part only. (For people with short attention spans.)

This week’s video is for the song “I’m the Realest” feat. Jay-Z (beat produced by King Kut, Jay-Z vocals added in by me!).

AVAILABLE EXCLUSIVELY ON A.P.T.’s “WELCOME TO CALI: THE MIXTAPE!” Click HERE for download link!

INSIGHT INTO A SONG:

When making the “Welcome 2 Cali” mixtape, I knew I wanted whatever the last song on the album was to also be the song I used for the last video of my “One-Song-a-Week” project.

I had a stack of beats that I had gotten from King Kut (who I collaborated with for video 50, “Rock and Roll (Remix)“), and there was a particular beat that stood out to me – it was bouncy, had a frenzied chorus, and sounded like it would make for a good song. Actually, when I heard the beat I had an idea for TWO songs I could make, but didn’t know which one I wanted to go with.

My original idea was to make both of these songs using the same beat. One of them – which I haven’t made yet and will therefore not mention the title of – was a goofy-sounding song while the other one was “I’m The Realest.” The idea takes off from the part of Jay-Z’s “Dirt Off Your Shoulder” song where he says: “I’m the realest that run it, I just happen to rap…” I thought that part of the song would lend itself to me writing about how I was able to stay true to myself while making music, despite the fact that (a) I’m not seen as a “typical” rapper, and (b) that I do a whole bunch of other stuff well (acting, producing, drawing, etc.) and that rap is something that I just “happen” to also be good at.

So, I was going to go ahead and record the song… but first, I had to take the beat King Kut sent me and mix it in with the lines from the Jay-Z song that I wanted for the chorus. However, I didn’t know how to take the vocals and change the pace/tone of them on my MAC’s Garageband program. Plus, the acapella vocals for the song could only be gotten one way – Limewire – and, since it’s not installed on my MAC (no WAY I’m even taking a chance at a virus getting on this computer), I had to use my PC to actually download it.

Since I had my PC up and running, I decided to use the Magix Studio 14 program I have on it to mix in the vocals. Despite my PC being slow at times, my music program actually runs quite well on it, and Magix Studio 14 allows me to bend, cut, and position beats and vocals any way I’d like to. I loaded in the acapella Jay-Z vocals and picked out the part I wanted to use. Now all I had to do was load in the beat…

I looked on my external hard drive for the file that said “Beat #1.” I noticed there were actually TWO beats with that same title – one saved in .wma format, and the other saved in WAV format. Not knowing which one was the one I actually needed, I figured I’d listen to both to see which one was the one I had been looking for. I imported in the first “Beat #1…”

And it was the wrong one.

In fact, it was one of the beats I had actually NOT had an idea for a song for. The beat itself was good, but it was repetitive, and there was no change-up in tone or pace throughout the song, not even during the chorus parts.

And yet…

Because of this beat characteristic, it actually made it the PERFECT beat to use for the song! The way I saw it, the fact that Jay-Z’s voice would be on the chorus meant that people would be paying more attention to him that whether or not there was a music change-up in the background. Most importantly, it meant that the other beat I was going to use could now be use for ONE song, and this beat that I didn’t have a song for at all could be used. Genius!

Once I got the vocals in pace with the beat of the song (it doesn’t sound like it would take that long, but it was probably a good 30 minutes before I got it sounding right and having it go at the right pace), I re-exported it as a WAV file, then sent it back on over to my MAC, where I laid down the vocals.

As for the song itself, I wanted it to sound like a culmination of the year-long experience I went through, from when I first had the idea for the project, to the unexpected success and attention I got as a result of “Obama Milli Remix,” to being able to actively pursue my dreams even moreso as a result. In between all that, I wanted to use a flow that wasn’t just a standard pattern. Admittedly, I have been listening to a lot of Eminem recently, and I always liked how he flows in relation to the beat – over it, under it, inside it, etc., you name it, Em’ does it. Thus, you’ll here voice change-ups, sing-songy parts, and some verbal wordplay, as well as a few funny lines here and there.

And of course, I couldn’t end the song without thanking everybody who helped get me to this point. I now understand why musicians are always saying, “Without you, the fans, I wouldn’t be here.” ‘Cause really, if people hadn’t passed my song around, I wouldn’t have gotten the attention I got, and I would probably still be in Atlanta working at a restaurant NOT making progress (as fast) and NOT being happy – at least not as happy as I am living in Cali :)

Some Interesting Song Tidbits:

1. One of my favorite lines is, “Picture A.P.T. sittin’ in an APT in Atlanta.” One, it’s a play on my initials, which are also an abbreviation for “apartment;” and two, I did a great job of making the syllables rhyme in this sentence!

2. It really IS a challenge to try and rap off-beat without making it sound like you’re rapping off-beat and have it flow well. The last part of the first verse where I say, “You… MUST have fallen off the wrong side of the bed/bumped your head/ can’t com-pre-hend ’cause you’re brain dead, oh!” took quite a few takes. When I write it I can hear it in my head, but if I don’t record it right away, having to re-dice it up so it sounds the way I heard it to myself can be challenging!

3. I mention how I didn’t think my songs would get farther than my “poor excuse for a laptop.” Truthfully, when I started out making music on it it wasn’t so bad… but as I added more and more memory to the machine and it got harder and harder to edit my videos, THAT’s when it became a “poor excuse for a laptop,” LoL!

4. The last 2 lines of the song were really hard to come up with. I knew I wanted to end on a joke, and once I figured out WHAT I wanted to say, I had to figure out HOW to put it into rhyme form. I figured it out eventually, but those last two lines took up about 2 hours of my time!

INSIGHT INTO A VIDEO SHOOT

This is not only the last video in the “One-Song-a-Week” project, but also the last video in the “Video Wars” trilogy I started 3 weeks ago.

To that end, when I first started it I already had the end in mind – namely, to have a montage of all the videos I had made over the course of the last year. How I was going to present them, though, was the hard part to figure out…

My original idea was to film myself in front of my green screen, and add in the montage as a background later. In fact, I actually DID film myself in front of the green screen doing this song last week while filming video 52 episode 2, “Welcome 2 Cali.” As I mentioned in the video insight for that video, though, keying out the green without having little green fuzzies everywhere took 3 hours, and that was only when using 3 minutes of footage. I couldn’t imagine how nightmarish it was going to be trying to key out the green screen of 3 separate takes, given the fact that, since my camera isn’t a digital one, the fuzzy count would be ridiculous!

My next idea was to place this thing WAY into the future, and have it be a situation where an older version of me is being filmed for a television show, and I’m reminiscing about all the videos I made “back in the day.” I was actually going to do this one – put some flour in my beard and dress up like an old man – but there were two problems: one, I was already an old man in video 10, “Retirement Home,” except I was a bitter old rapper in that one. Unfortunately my old man voice impression doesn’t really change, and I didn’t want people seeing this video, then going back and seeing THAT video and pondering if it was the same character, and why one was mad and the other wasn’t. (Yes, I really think about these types of continuities when making videos.) The second reason is that, since I’ve used my apartment in so many videos, trying to make people believe it was suddenly some other place (i.e. an old folk’s home, a mansion, etc.) would be hard to do.

Then, on Friday, as I was setting up for the “old man” scenario – after all, I had to film SOMETHING – I stopped and reflected on all the videos I had done this past year… and for some reason the “Kick Bush” video came to mind. In that video, I acted like I was the host of a kid’s show called “Mr. Taylor’s Neighborhood,” a take on Mr. Rodgers Neighborhood. At the end of that video, I tell the “kids” to tune in next time… only problem was, I never actually MADE a second video for them to tune in to!

In thinking about it, I figured it would be a decent enough idea to do a second episode of the show, only this time with the “newly improved” set from my California residence.  It would allow me to tell the “kids” in simple vernacular about how I got from D.C. to Cali (since I explain in the “Star Wars” intro how I made it from Atlanta to D.C.), while at the same time making it easier for me to segue into the montage clip I had for the actual song.

Filming the “Mr. Taylor’s Neighborhood” portions of the video was really easy. I filmed myself walking from the sidewalk outside my apartment up to my door, and used that as the opening for the show. Then, I filmed myself walking in while on my phone threatening someone to send the money they promised to me for doing the program, lest I kick their… well, you know. Then, I talk to the kids about how me, Mr. Taylor, made a song that got big enough for someone in Cali to find me and help me move there. From there, I mention that I still completed my “One-Song-a-Week” project, and to prove it… well, that’s when I go into the montage!

Putting together clips from all my videos was easy, but time-consuming. I figured out the play time of “I’m the Realest” and calculated that I could fit clips of all my videos into the montage if I cut them down to 3 to 5 second shorts. Because their were 53 videos to go through, it took me quite a few hours; luckily, I knew which clips I wanted to use from most of the videos. Unfortunately, in order to do so I had to open up my PC one last time (since most of my older videos up until 40 were done in .wmv format, which wouldn’t transfer onto my MAC) and use the movie converter program I had on there to cut down each clip to the small amount of seconds I wanted to use.

Once I did that, I was going to just put them all in order on my Windows Movie Media program in numerical order, paste on the song, then publish it, load it back onto my MAC and use a converter to change it over to an .mov file. But, I knew that I wanted to have the transitional “roll of film” effects that my iMovie had on its program. So, I took all of the 53 mini-clips that I had, converted them into .mov, then imported them into iMovie, pasted them in order, added the song, and BAM – montage complete! Again, very simple process, but it took almost 6 to 7 hours out of my life!

So, after the opening, the intro, and the montage, I had to figure out a way to end the video. But I had already thought about that during the week, and I knew exactly how I wanted to end it. Since this is the last video in the project, people have been asking me, “What are you going to do after you’re done with it?” I already know what I’m doing since I’ve been working on it since I moved here, but since I can’t reveal everything about it just yet, I decided to end this video by having me begin to tell them, then getting cut off by the credits of the show. I’m sure people will be writing me asking me, “seriously, though – WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO??” Sorry, peeps, can’t say anything just yet!

All in all, I think this video – and, more importantly, this song – was a great way for me to end the project on a high note!

Some Interesting Video Shoot Tidbits:

1. When filming the part of the video where I say that people stole my song, I “say” that I don’t want to mention any names, and I wasn’t going to. However, while editing in the text for some of the other clips, I thought it would be funny if I “mentioned” the name by scrolling it at the bottom of the screen. That way, I could “say” the name without “saying” the name.

2. As you will see in the video, I mention the videos in reference to the weeks they were made instead of the number order. This is because (a) I didn’t want people to question why there were 54 videos instead of 52 (there were 2 weeks when I did 2 videos in those weeks); and (2) so people will know that I actually did a video each week.

3. Also, I was originally going to mention the weeks and names of each video using the “writing on tape” effect, but it looked monotonous to me. So, AFTER I gave all the clips that effect, I went back and put in different effects so the audience wouldn’t get bored looking at the same lettering effect over and over.

4. The shirt I’m wearing in the video has the logo on it from EMQTv.com, which is the web site I blog for when I’m not doing music stuff.

5. Editing time for this video: I couldn’t even tell you. I was just so eager to get it done – I started editing it on Thursday, then filmed the parts of me doing the “Mr. Taylor’s Neighborhood” on Friday… let’s just say, I wanted to do it right, so it took a LONG time!

And that’s it! I did it! 54 videos in 52 weeks, baby! Will there be more videos from me in the future? The answer to that is “yes,” but definitely NOT on a weekly basis, but as for right now… I think I deserve a little vacation!

-A.P.T.

E-mail: aptsongs@hotmail.com
MySpace: www.MySpace.com/NotoriousAPT
Twitter: Twitter.com/APTsongs

This week’s video is for the song “Can’t Leave Rap Alone,” featuring Jay-Z on the hook.

AVAILABLE EXCLUSIVELY ON “THE O-BAMA MIXTAPE”!  Click HERE for download info!

New A.P.T. EP, “The Great Black Hope,” available Wednesday, January 7th (a.k.a. MY Birthday!)

INSIGHT INTO A SONG:

My New Year’s goal for 2008 was simple: to get at least ONE song on radio.

Now that it’s 2009, its easy to see that I was able to make that happen with “O-bama O-bama.”  However, back in March, I was simply doing what I needed to do to reach my goal: listening to beats from www.soundclick.com, finding the ones I liked (on pages that said the beats could be downloaded and used freely for promotional use only) and making songs that I found amusing.

One of the beats was for the song used in today’s video, “Can’t Leave Rap Alone,” made by One Dollar Beats.  I don’t know why he calls himself that – the beat is infectious, and smartly uses the “Can’t leave rap alone, the game needs me” line from Jay-Z’s “H to tha Izzo” song.

Because of the chorus, I wanted to write lyrics that would prove to people how serious I was about doing this rap thing.  So, I wrote up as many funny lines I could think of, then put them into rap form.

At the time I wrote the song, I didn’t have much of an audience, so using cuss words here and there in some of my songs was no big deal to me.  This is one of those songs where some of the lines I used HAD to use cuss words to make them understandable.  My favorite line in the song is, “But I’m constipated, plus I cut my d*ck off/so I don’t give a $#!+, and I don’t give a f*ck.” Without the cuss words, though, that line wouldn’t make sense!

Of course, now that I  have an audience, including family members, I try to watch what I say in songs.  Still, I figured that if people heard I had a song with Jay-Z on the chorus they’d pay more attention.  Not that it’s really needed now since more people know who I am; regardless, though, this is, lyrically, one of my favorite songs I’ve written.

Some Interesting Song Tidbits:

1. This song is time-stamped by the fact that I mention Elliot Spitzer, the NY governor who was outed from office after his affair with a high-end prostitute was turned into a national saga in early 2008.  Thus, the line in the song… ah, you’ll have to hear it for yourself!

2. Also, at the beginning of the first and second verse, and the end of the third verse, I start all of those lines off the same way.  I don’t want to give away how I start those lines off… but the way I start off the first verse is the way I’ve had the line in my head for over 3 years, and was happy to be able to add other examples as puns in the song!

3. The original beat actually went a bit slower.  However, once I loaded it into my Fruity Loops program, I was able to take it up a few keys on the FL Piano, thus making the song faster and at a slightly higher tune.  I already had to talk slow in the song, but talking the song at the original pace was straining, and made the song sound boring!

INSIGHT INTO A VIDEO SHOOT:

As you may know, I have an NEW EP coming out on January 7th called “The Great Black Hope.”  And I’ve recorded most of the songs for the album as well.

So, why did I decide to do a video off “The O-bama Mixtape,” which was released over 5 months ago?!?

Easy: I checked my MySpace mailbox one day, and I got a message from a fan named Sherod asking me if I ever planned on making a music video for one of his favorite songs of mine, “Can’t Leave Rap Alone.” 

I wrote him back, saying that I had actually had an idea for a video for tha song, but due to the fact that I had been making videos for songs off “The Next Black President” mixtape and was going into video productions for “The Great Black Hope,” I hadn’t gotten around to making it.  I told him I’d probably end up making a video for it once I’d made a few videos for my new songs…

…and I really did NOT plan on making a video for it until much, much later…

…but the more I thought about it, the more I realized I actually had an idea for how the video for it could be shot – so, why not shoot it now?

In retrospect, I’m glad I did – the video actually turned out to be one of the more inventive shoots I’ve done lately.  Peep the insights…

So, the idea for it was simple: I’d film myself attempting to record a song, get frustrated and say “Aww, screw it, I quit!” Then, I’d go to sleep, and have a dream where a phantom version of myself would tell me that I couldn’t escape my destiny of becoming a rapper.  From there, I’d film myself running away from whatever is chasing me, only to be caught by it in the end.  Then, I’d tell myself not to give up, and, upon awaking from my dream, finally have a song idea to record.

Pretty cool, huh?

And, as it so happens, I was staying over at my friend Brooke’s apartment, whose building had everything I’d need for an awesome dream sequence shoot.  Long hallway outside her door? Check!  Dark room to film spooky-looking guy?  Check (the building had saunas on the very top floor)! 

Most importantly, since Brooke was there (after all, it WAS her place), she agreed to be my assistant director!  I finally had someone to follow me around and film while I did stuff, instead of having to hold the camera while running (thus looking like I was chasing myself)!

We filmed the hallway chase scene first, where I ran along the 8th floor’s hallway while Brooke chased me with the camera.  Next, we filmed me in the sauna (minus actually turning it on) with a flashlight rapping the song.  Because I wanted the film footage to look slowed down while having my lips be in pace with the song, I had to double-up the speed of the song and rap it really fast, which proved to be challenging (though it came out looking great in the end)!

Once I filmed those scenes at Brooke’s apartment, which was on Friday, I had to wait until Saturday night to finish filming the parts where I was in the real world.  I’m moving to California next week, but because our previous landlord cut off our electricity, my Mom took me back to Richmond to stay with her for a few days.  While here, I filmed the opening (where I’m at the table trying to think of a song) and the parts where I’m trying to sleep but can’t.

And, of course, I couldn’t forget to let people know I had a NEW collection of songs coming out.  I put an ad in there with the cover of the EP, but I wanted to give people a taste of what to expect.  So, I decided at the last minute to make the song I ended up thinking of be one of the songs off “The Great Black Hope!” If you watch until the end, you’ll get a 20-second sneek peak at one of the songs from the EP called “Hands UP!”

Overall, a very ambitious video, but one that I’m very proud to have made.  Thanks for the suggestion, Sherod!

Some Interesting Video Shoot Tidbits:

1. Argh! I hate video discrepancies!  Okay – when the video first opens you’ll see a side view of me at the table with the laptop. Look carefully at the left part of the table behind the laptop – there’s nothing there, right?  Yet, in the footage where I’m looking directly at the laptop, you’ll see a big box of Raisin Bran!! I shot the footage with the Raisin Bran first, and must have moved the box before filming at the wide shot angle.  Darn it!

2. At the end, I credit my brother for wardrobe.  This is because, in thinking back on the video, all the shirts and pants I wore were either (a) things he bought me or (b) things he used to wear.  I had no idea I couldn’t pick out my own clothes!

3. The reason the dream sequence is in black and white is because, according to dream experts, people dream in black-and-white.  The only other dream-type video I’ve done was for video #4, “Smile 4 Dad,” and the dream sequence for that was filmed in black-and-white as well.

4. The girl near the very end of the video is Brooke, who was gracious enough to lend her time to helping me direct my video, and came up with some pretty good ideas about a future video of mine… but I’ll talk about that more once it’s released!

5. Estimated time for editing: about 6 hours.  Plus, as I’m typing this, it’s taking a LONG time to load up on YouTube due to the large size of the file – an enormous 98 MB of memory (the biggest since video #4, “Smile 4 Dad,” which clocked in at 90 MB). My average videos are in the 30 to 40 MB range, so you KNOW it’s going to take a while.  I just hope it loads up before the day is over…

That’s all for now – only 18 videos left to go! See ya next Sunday!

-A.P.T.

E-mail: aptsongs@hotmail.com

MySpace: www.myspace.com/NotoriousAPT

Soundclick: www.soundclick.com/APT

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