This week’s music video is for the song “Bust My G.A.T.,” produced by me, A.P.T.!
SONG AVAILABLE ON “THE A.P.T. LP” – Preview it at www.Myspace.com/NotoriousAPT
INSIGHT INTO A SONG:
This song is four-and-a-half years old, and has been on every album I’ve put together, from “The A.P.T. EP” to “Check The Resume,” and now, “The A.P.T. LP.”
Why, you ask? Because I just really, REALLY like this song! Plus, it’s hilarious as heck, and any time I play it for people, they usually end up laughing their ass off!
The journey for this song begins in January 2004. I was still in college, and was starting to take this whole “wanting to rap” thing seriously. I had been on tour the year before, and had bought myself a drum machine and an interface device that I could record songs on.
I made a song called “Imma Skitzo” which used a very minimalist-type beat – just drums, a few taps and a long hold note for the chorus. One day I went to tweak the beat I made for the song, and I inadvertently came up with another lil’ jam using the same chords, only at a different pace and with a different pitch.
I also found that this particular drum machine also had sound files with sound effects, one of which was a range of gun shots. I thought it would be cool to make a beat using the drum shots. However, there was just one smaaaaall problem: I’m not exactly a gangsta rapper, and beats with gun shots in them are usually reserved for an MC that’s talking about bustin’ proper on his haters.
Yeah, I can talk that slang too, yo!
Furthermore, one of the concerns others had about me being taken seriously as a rapper was that I wasn’t… well, I wasn’t a LOT of things: I wasn’t from the hood, I wasn’t hard, I didn’t have a hard life growing up, I didn’t “sound” black enough to be a rapper (what a f–kin’ insult – what, I gotta sound ig’nant to be black?!?)… and so on.
So, in finding this gun shot sound, I thought it would be funny to put together a song with the following question in mind: “If I really WAS trying to be a hard-core gangsta rapper, and I claimed to have a gun like all the other ones do, how would I go about using it?”
From there, the song just kind of flowed out on its own. I typed up 3/4 of the song in Hampton University’s library (when I should have been doing REAL work), and came back the next day to finish up the rest. The hardest part was trying not to laugh as I was typing up the lyrics – they just seemed so damn ridiculous and funny to me.
4 years later, and the song STILL cracks me up!
Some Interesting Song Tidbits:
1. Rappers like to say lines that are similar to an old-school artist as homage to their rap forefathers. And I am no different; the opening lines of the song – “Now what you hear is not a test, I’m rappin’ to the beeeat/It’s just A.P.T., and his gun, we gon’ knock you off your feeeeeet” – is similar to the very first popular rap lyrics spoken by Sugar Hill Gang in the song “Rapper’s Delight.”
2. A LOT of people get killed in this song – not to mention animals, objects, and other MCs. I figured the more absurd I made the song, the better I’d be able to get across my point of how stupid I think MCs are who rap about using guns like it’s a GOOD thing.
3. Incidentally, I eventually sold my drum machine when I needed money for something else. I saved the beat somewhere, but I have no idea where. In other words, this song has only been recorded once, and the same version has been placed on all my albums ever since. I hope to find the beat and re-record it, but to be honest with you, the song always sounded good to me ever since the first time I recorded it.
INSIGHT INTO A VIDEO SHOOT:
This song was NOT going to be made into a video.
I want to make a video for all the songs on my album, but for this one I had NO idea what I’d do. In fact, I was supposed to be shooting another video this week, but I’m still waiting on footage from a friend of mine in Cali to do that other video (hit me up, J!).
I hadn’t gotten the footage by Tuesday, so I started thinking about other videos I could do. And “Bust My G.A.T.” kept coming to mind. I have a Nintendo 64, and my original plan was to be completely lazy and film shots of me playing “Goldeneye 007,” which is a first-person shooter.
Then I thought: “Hey, wait a minute: instead of filming a TV screen with ‘Goldenye 007’ being played, why don’t I film a real-life version of it instead!? I could walk around town, holding a gun at the bottom of the screen like in the game, and ‘shoot’ the various people/things/animals mentioned in the song!”
One problem: I didn’t have a gun. Of any kind – no real gun, toy gun, water gun, nothing.
And I try to keep the budget of these videos to ZERO if possible, so I didn’t feel like spending money on a gun I’d only be using once.
Then, it hit me again: “Why don’t you just use a Nintendo 64 controller as the ‘gun?'” Now THAT sounded hilarious!
Once I had the basic idea, I started searching on the Internet for the items I mention in my song. Pictures of nuns, pee-wee baseball leagues, cashiers, models, other MCs – I wanted to make it a “game” where the player walks through the city shooting people as a means of gaining street credibility, and thus, increases his popularity as a rapper. Every time one of these items pops on-screen, the player would shoot at them, thus gaining points.
In terms of the playing aspect, I really, REALLY wanted to use a Wii controller so I could act like I was actually shooting the objects on the screen. One problem (at this point, hasn’t it really been more like 3 or 4 problems?) – I don’t own a Nintendo Wii. Oh well, I figured – I could just act like I’m playing it on the N64 with a regular controller. No big deal.
I had everything mapped out, and I wanted to shoot during the daytime on Friday… but then I had to go to work. CRAP!
“But wait!” I thought to myself, “Since you have to walk to work anyway, why not just take your camera with you and film the damn thing while you’re out and about and/or on break?” And so, I did!
The funniest part of this whole shoot was seeing people’s reactions as I was walking around with a camera in one hand, and a Nintendo 64 controller in the other (with the wire going into my right pocket). Nevertheless, I was able to get the shots I wanted throughout the course of the day.
Of course, not only did I have to shoot the scenes where it was a video game, but also the scenes of me playing the game. While on break from work, I decided to head to the mall and film scenes of me buying the game – “How 2 B A Rapper: The Action-Adventure Game” – from an EBGames store. After filming one or two shots, I remembered that the store had a Nintendo Wii kiosk set up for people to test out some of the games.
And it hit me: OMG, I could film myself playing the Wii in the store, and act like I was playing “How 2 B A Rapper” on it!! The Wii has gun games out where the motion-censored controller is used as a gun, and this would be a perfect fit for what I wanted to do in the first place!!
I placed the camera on the shelf next to the Wii kiosk and filmed 2 minutes of me doing various “reactions” to the game. And it came out PERFECT.
Once everything was filmed, I loaded up the footage on my computer and worked on the graphical look of the video-game portions of the video. Because it’s supposed to be a game, I had to type in all the parts where you see “Status,” “Life” and “Street Cred Points.” I also had to right down what sequence everything was in so I could place the right point numbers on the right footage. For example, the shots before the nun getting shot had to have a Street Cred point reading of “000,” whereas the footage immediately afterward would have to say “010,” or 10 points. It was pretty easy keeping all the info together, and I’m glad the ability to type text onto the screen (as well as include the water-color effect of the video to make it look almost like “Grand Theft Auto”) is already included in my two video-edit programs.
All in all, this has to be one of the more ambitious videos I have shot in a while, even more so than “Smooth Talker” and “Obama, Obama.” And, so far, it’s one of my favorites!
Some Interesting Video Tidbits:
1. Shout-outs to two of the girls who participated in the video (both of whom I work with): Michelle, who’s the girl paying for our date; and Dolly, who, sadly, gets killed for the benefit of me earning more points for Street Cred!
2. The parts of the video where I mouth the words to the song came out pretty good, especially considering that I had NO actual music playing in the background. I thought I’d be filming my parts for the video at my apartment, so I didn’t bring any audio equipment with me. Yet, lo and behold, the mouthing of the words match up perfectly with the video. Why? Because I KNOW THIS SONG THAT DANG WELL!
3. The area for the shots took place in Midtown Atlanta, Dunwoody Mall, and the Dunwoody area of Atlanta, which is actually a bit outside the Atlanta loop… but let’s not be picky!
4. The ending of the video was spontaneous as well. In the song, the last line is, “How come u in prison, dog?/I bust my gaaaaat.” Problem was, I didn’t know what I could use for a jail. However, I thought it would be sweet justice if, after having spent a whole day killing people, I myself were to get shot at by day’s end. So, while walking home from work at night, I filmed the last part of the video. In keeping with the “Goldeneye 007”-type theme, I get shot, the gun goes out of screen’s view, and I do a dizzying fall to the ground. Ha ha, hilarious!
5. For the grocery store scene, I went to Wal-mart (why I end up shooting a Publix employee is beyond me), and filming myself with a gun while trying to push a shopping cart proved to be quite hard. The small footage I used in the video is the best out of a whopping 1 minute and 42 second shot I took where I kept trying to avoid pushing the cart into the actual groceries!!
6. I have no idea WHERE I found the shot of the cat shooting with a gun, but it sure does look funny!
7. It may be a bit blurry in the video for the part of the night scene where I’m standing in front of a big lit-up sign. That’s the Woodruff Arts Center, where they hold plays, concerts and other things involving performance.
8. Edit time for this video was LONG. Between having to add in elements like graphic effects, pictures, etc., the whole thing took me about 9 hours. All for a 4-minute clip – what kinda bull-crap is THAT?!?
That’s all for now – enjoy the video, download “The A.P.T. LP” today, and I’ll see ya next week!