This week’s song/music video is “The N!@@er Song (a.k.a. The KKKramer Song).”
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INSIGHT INTO A SONG:
In November 2006, Michael Richards, better known as Kramer on NBC’s popular sitcom “Seinfeld,” was phone-video taped making racist comments towards a group of Black people at the Laugh Factory club in Los Angeles. The tape made its way onto YouTube, got sent to news organization, and became a HUGE story.
I heard about the incident prior to going home for Thanksgiving holiday. I was in Richmond at my Mom’s house when I saw the story on the news… and on yahoo.com… and on just about every other news site… AND I saw the video for myself on YouTube. Very classic stuff – you get to see Mr. Richards saying the N-word a number of times, and even goes so far as to say they would have had a fork stuck up their asses were it 50 years ago!
The main focus point everyone seemed to have about the video was Michael’s use of the word “nigger.” I didn’t have so much a problem with his use of the word, as much as I did the reaction from people like comedians and rappers, all of whom seemed very angry at Kramer for saying the term despite the fact that they themselves use the word in their material.
Maybe it’s just a personal thing, but I find that to be very hypocritical. Rap is bought these days by more white people than black, yet the black artists in these songs are constantly saying the word. The problem is, once people learn a song, they usually like to sing along with ALL the words, regardless of what meaning those words may or may not have.
And so it is with the word “nigger.” In my entire recording career, I’ve made one song with the n-word in it, and I didn’t like using it. Sure, it sounded good when I chanted it along, but even to this day I’m partially conflicted about it. I don’t want to be performing these songs someday in front of an entire white audience, or any audience for that matter, and have them calling me a “nigger” – oops, I mean “nigga.” I don’t care how people try and misspell it, it’s still means you’se ignant, nigga!!
I wanted to do a commentary on the incident in a blog, but I figured a song would be much better. I found the video online, recorded the dialogue from Kramer’s rant, and cut and paste parts to create a chorus. Once I had the chorus, I created the beat around it. Yes, this is an example of ME producing a beat, people! I made the beat sound similar to the inflections in Richard’s voice so they would connect together.
Writing the song itself wasn’t too hard – I was only on vacation for 4 days, and my Mom’s computer has one of my earlier Fruity Loops programs on it, so I made the beat, wrote the song, and recorded it within a relatively short time span. I actually placed it up on my MySpace page the same day, and was surprised to find that it got 100 listens on the first day – pretty good, considering I didn’t really advertise my music that much back in 2006!
Some Interesting Song Tidbits:
1. The second verse of the song, I use a “stutter flow.” Basically, I stutter my words. I got the idea after having listened to Fresh Prince’s “Boom! Shake the Room” where, in the first half of the last verse, he goes “The F-f-f-fresh P-p-p-prince is wh-who-who I am…” I thought it would be a good way to not make the flow of the song sound the same on each verse!
2. The “aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa” in the chorus? I got it from the opening of a VERY popular TV show.
3. Listen very carefully to the “niggas” and “niggers” used in the song. In the first verse, Kramer is shouting the word “nigga” like black people use it with each other. In the second verse, the words “nigga” and “nigger” are used on the 8th line. This is the point in which the nigga/nigger trade off occurs: in verse three, all n-words spoken are “nigger.”
4. As you can see, I wrote this back in 2006 – WAAAAAAY before Nas even had the idea to come up with his recent album concept, “Nigger.” I just wanted to note that so people wouldn’t think I was biting off him – it ain’t like he or I are the first people to address the N-word through song, people!!
INSIGHT INTO A VIDEO SHOOT:
First of all, I didn’t have my own computer or camera to make videos with back in 2006, but I always wanted to make a video for this song. It wasn’t until this week, when I had to prepare for a friend to come into town and didn’t have time to put together a complicated-to-edit video, that I realized I could make a simple video for this song. Because the song is about something semi-serious, I didn’t need to be all flashy with the camera work to get my message across.
There’s really not too much insight. I shot the video right out on the front stoop of my apartment complex, and shot the thing in one take. I also video-camed the YouTube video of Kramer’s rant to interject in the video. Really, really simple stuff.
Some Interesting Video Tidbits:
1. While shooting this video, some guy walking on the sidewalk passed by the apartment. It’s really weird to have someone looking at you strange while you have to stay in the moment for camera purposes!
2. Edit time for this video: a very short 3.5 hours. Woo-hoo!
That’s all for now – enjoy the video, and come back next Sunday!