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This week’s song/video is “Retirement Home” (Produced by ME!)

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INSIGHT INTO A SONG:

I was inspired to write this song two years ago, when I read an interview with an old-school rapper (who shall remain nameless) on allhiphop.com. This particular rapper – who had a string of hits and was very popular in the 90s – felt that his recently released album did poorly because of poor promotion by his record label.

He also felt that the public was so dumbed down by what he perceived to be “poor-quality rap music” that his stuff wasn’t wanted by the public. He cited several rappers who, at the time, had major radio hits where the songs weren’t about anything really deep or insightful – just booty-shaking and “flossing” songs with no substance. And, like most older MCs who are no longer as popular, he stated how the rap music from back in the day was better, had more MCs who were about promoting “realness,” and was of a higher quality.

And to that, I said: “Get real!!”

I think older MCs have a very idealistic way of how ALL rap music was in the past. I’m an 80s baby, and lived through the development of hip-hop, so I can safely say that not ALL rap music from the past had meaning or substance. I think back to the early 90s when rap started getting more popular, and I clearly remember songs like “Baby Got Back,” “Rump Shaker,” and “O.P.P.” – and NONE of those songs were about anything deep, yet they happen to be very popular “oldies” from my generation.

In response to that allhiphop.com article, I wrote this song, “Retirement Home.” In the song, I basically bash old-school MCs who are always bashing the current batch of new-school MCs. At the time I wrote this, Nas’ popular “Hip-Hop Is Dead” CD was about to drop, so I found it to be a perfect time to record the song.

Who would have thought, though, that this hating of young MCs by older MCs would be happening two years later? I got word that old-schooler Ice-T dissed Soulja Boy, of the popular “Crank Dat (Soulja Boy)” song – specifically, he told Soulja Boy to “eat a d*ck.” I don’t care how old you are, saying that crap to anybody, especially a 17-year old, is just plain disrespectful. I figured this would be the perfect time to release that song, as it mentions the reasons WHY an older, no-longer selling MC would go about hating on a new generation of rappers who are simply taking the art form and tweaking it to work for them.

Side question: ever notice how every generation of musicians hate on what they consider the “bastardization” of their art form? R&B artists of the 80s often hate on the new wave of R&B artists, whom they feel are ruining the music, despite artists like Alicia Keys and Usher treating the genre with much respect. In the same way, rap artists from “back in the day” are fans of saying how hip-hop is “dead,” even when artists like Kanye, Common, Lil’ Wayne, and even Soulja Boy are making the genre popular.

As for the “killing of hip-hop,” people have been saying that for YEARS, and it’s still here. And truthfully, as much as the old-schoolers might hate people like SB, Lil’ John, Hurricane Chris or DJ UNK for making what they consider to be “bubble-gum music,” their songs hold a place in hip-hop. As much as I like NAS, I ain’t trying to dance to one of his songs in the club!!

Some Interesting Song Tidbits:

1. I did the old-man voice in the song.

2. The line, “Only 40 – but in rap years, you’re dead,” is in reference to the fact that most hip-hop fans think a rapper shouldn’t be rapping past that age. Personally, I say if the artist is still good, go for it – but, for the purposes of the song, I felt I should say that.

3. There are actually some recording mistakes in this song. The line, “went from wearing old tims to some old flip-flops” should actually say “new tims,” but sometimes when I’m recording I mess up reading what I type. I also meant to say “put your headphones on and take a seat back/singing out your old raps ’til your lungs collapse,” but I ended up saying “listening to old raps” instead. In essence, this makes the sentence make no sense – but oh well!

4. I produced the beat for this song. No samples, just instruments and a creative mind. If you like the beat and would like me to make one for you, hire me, maaaaan!

INSIGHTS INTO A VIDEO SHOOT:

In order to make this song have more emphasis, I felt it necessary to make my own “Crank That” song/video last week. Again, I have NO problems with these types of songs, so even though it’s not a song I’d normally do, I figured it would be okay, so long as I had this video to back me up!

I decided to film the part of the video where I’m “me” while I was still up in Alexandria, VA. I filmed me doing the song twice so that I’d be able to make fade-in cut shots. Why? If you’ve seen the back-and-forth melee between Soulja Boy and Ice-T, SB’s videos had him talking into the camera, and every so often there’d be an obvious “edit cut” where it looked like he took a part out and cut-and-pasted a later part on. This is why I’m sitting in one place for the “me” part of the video.

The second part of this video was me as the old-school rapper, who I named “Warm Lemonade” (Ice-T, Warm Lemonade – get it?). He’s the disgruntled rapper who scolds A.P.T. for making a “Crank” song that he feels is “killing hip-hop.” I filmed this part at my apartment in Atlanta, GA, using my plain wall as a back-drop.

This video shoot was relatively easy. Thank GOD!

Some Interesting Video Tidbits:

1. To play the part of the old man, I used some novelty old-man glasses I got from Spencer’s. To give myself the look of an old man, I powdered my hair and beard… with all-purpose flour. Gotta use what you have lying around!

2. The scenes of me watching “Warm Lemonade” from my hotel were actually filmed in my apartment. This is why I have the camera so close to my laptop – I wanted people to get the effect that I was still in the hotel. (Although, now that I’ve revealed that, it probably makes keeping that a mystery pointless 🙂

3. My mom actually bought me that shirt while I was in VA. I don’t think she ever thought I’d be using it as an old-man shirt, but it was a GREAT prop!

4. The microphone sitting on my laptop is an H2 Zoom mic. It’s the actual one I use to record my songs!

5. Editing time for this was relatively short – about 2.5 to 3 hours, plus added time in-between for me to goof around!

That’s all for now – see you all next week!

-A.P.T.

E-mail: aptsongs@hotmail.com
MySpace: www.myspace.com/notoriousapt

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