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This week’s song/video is “Crank That (Yeah!)” (Produced by Fire Kraka)

INSIGHT INTO A SONG:

For a song that’s so simple, the making of it had a whole lot that went into it.

I look for beats online, and when I find a beat I like I’ll usually start freestyling to it to see if it I could use the beat for a song.  Some of my best songs so far have resulted from this (see: “Shout Out 2 My Big Girls,” “Back 2 The Future,” and other yet-to-be released songs), and I try to do it at least once a week.

When I heard the beat for this week’s song, it instantly reminded me of last year’s hottest record, “Crank Dat (Soulja Boy)” by Soulja Boy.  The words to his song were admittedly simplistic, but as I always tell people, some times simplicity is better than trying to be all deep and complex.  I started freestyling off some random stuff into the mic, not thinking I’d actually make it into a song.

Then, I came up with the chorus.  It was so good that I just KNEW I had to make it a song.

However, I didn’t necessarily want to make it into a video.  Up until now, most of my songs have had some form of plot line, or talked about real-life situations.  Even in the case of “Obama, Obama,” as funny as it was it still had a main focal point.  This “Crank That” song I made was about nothing more than doing the crank dance to any song that comes on!

I recorded the song prior to 4th of July weekend.  During the holiday, my friend Michele came from DC to visit me.  On her last day, as we were packing her up to go home, I asked her if she’d like to record a few parts for 2 songs I had made, one of them being this one.  The part of the song she recorded for me sounded so good, I just KNEW I had to figure out a way to make the song into a video so that she’d be able to see it!

Some Interesting Song Tidbits:

(1) The original title of this song was “Crank That $#!+.”  However, I decided to change it for a few reasons.  One, I have younger cousins and relatives that are hip to this site now, and, seeing as I grew up in a family that didn’t cuss around each other, I’d like to be able to keep it to a minimum.  Plus, I really don’t cuss that much in real life, and even the songs I have up now that do have cussing don’t have a lot in them.

More importantly, though: my song “Obama, Obama” is getting regular radio play, part of that being because I didn’t cuss during the entire song, which made radio DJs feel okay about downloading and playing it.  This song’s pretty catchy, and I’d hate to think I’d be blocking myself from even more exposure simply because I wanted to say “shit” every few lines!

(2) People think these types of songs don’t take long to write.  And… well, they’d be correct!  However, for these types of songs, it’s not really the words themselves that matter as much as the FEEL of the words.  How they are enunciated and phrased has to be in line with the beat so that people will be able to dance to it.

(3) Because this is a party song, there has to be parts in their where the club audience is persuaded to sing back certain parts.  You’ll hear a few “Yeaaaah”s and “A.P.T.!”, as well as Michele’s line in the song, which ALL girls will have to say!  It’s actually a very good psychological trick into making people like your song!

INSIGHT INTO A VIDEO SHOOT:

As is usually the case, I had NO idea what I was going to shoot.  I wanted to just do like Soulja Boy, and tape myself dancing for 4 minutes straight with no edits.

HA! Like THAT was going to happen!

Besides, it would have been too boring. Plus, I didn’t want to look so goofy or bore people to death to the point that they’d click off the video before even getting into it.

At the same time, since the lyrics of this song are extremely simple in comparison to the first 8 videos I put up, I didn’t want there to be a backlash from a letdown of expectations.  I know now that I’m early on enough in my career where I can experiment with different styles, but you never want to catch a brick so bad that you can’t recover from it.

And, to top THAT off, I was on vacation this week in DC for my brother’s birthday.  However, this ended up being a blessing in disguise because it allowed me to film in a location OUTSIDE of my apartment!  Still, I didn’t know what I was going to do…

…until I remembered the online feud Soulja Boy has been having with Ice-T about who’s responsible for “killing hip-hop” vs. “helping hip-hop.”  I have another song I wrote called “Retirement Home” where I bash old-school rappers for not giving credit to the newcomers who are helping to continue the genre.  I figured out that I could do a two-part video, with “Crank That (Yeah!)” being part one and “Retirement Home” being part 2, thus giving me a legitimate excuse for this song’s/video’s existence!

Because I wanted to show that actual work DOES go into creating a crank-type song, I decided to make the video a 7-step instruction manual on the creation of one, from finding the beat all the way to putting it on YouTube.  I was able to run with this idea, and it only took me about 1.5 hours to film. I also had to film half of next week’s video, where I respond to a hater who’ll be hating on this week’s song.  Always thinking ahead, people!

All in all, I think it came out pretty great!

Some Interesting Video Tidbits:

(1) The hotel used in the video is the Crowne Royal in Alexandria, VA.

(2) The first shot of this video? Me in the shower.  I don’t know why I decided to start filming while showering, but who knows when or where inspiration will pop up?!?

(3) “Theory” is the nickname my friend Michele used in college when she did radio.

(4) To film the editing of the video, I had to take my first set of shots, load them up, and then film myself editing the shots I just loaded.

(5) I have no idea what the estimated loading time is because I was trying to edit this thing all day, while at the same time preparing for my brother’s birthday festivities.

That’s all for now – enjoy the video, and I’ll see ya next week!

-A.P.T.

E-mail: aptsongs@hotmail.com

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