This week’s music video is for the song, “The O-Bama Mixtape Intro (a.k.a. A Time 4 Change).”
INSIGHT INTO A SONG:
“The O-bama Mixtape.” My first official musical offering to the public. And man, oh man, what a journey it’s been.
Since I released the mixtape on July 27th, it has been downloaded well over 1500 times, and I’m sure it’s been bootlegged and spread much more than that. Heck, I even found it on Limewire! It’s truly been a blessing to have my music spread to so many people.
Seeing as the mixtape had a title to it that mentioned a Presidential candidate – namely, Sen. Barack Obama – and was put together as a result of a song I did called “Obama, Obama,” which ended up being played on radio stations both in the U.S. and in other countries, I felt the need to put some other politically-related tracks on the mixtape.
I had already recorded a few tracks – “Kick Bush” and “Hey Jesse Jackson” – but I felt the mixtape needed something Obama-related to start it off the right way. I went on YouTube to look at speeches Obama had made, and found a sound clip from his now infamous speech about race in America that I could use.
Once I had the clip, though, I still felt like I needed an opening song that talked about Obama. I didn’t necessarily need a song that had a chorus to it, but something that would allow me to say a few more things about the potential next President.
This is one of those songs where I actually wrote the song before I had the beat. Unlike the “Obama Obama” song, where I was trying to do a parody and it took 2 to 3 days to write, this one was actually a lot easier to write because I wasn’t copying another song. And I knew what I wanted to talk about in the majority of the song: how white people still fear him because he’s black, and how white people shouldn’t be mad at me or other Blacks for voting for him based on skin color since there are millions of them who will be voting for McCain for the same reason.
Note: I’m not voting for Obama just because he’s Black. However, I think White people need not be so hypocritical of Blacks who decide to vote for that very reason – they’ve been voting for White candidates based on their Whiteness for years!
After the song was written, it was time to find a beat to use for it. I wanted to use a familiar beat, one people had heard before from a popular artist. I had a few beats in mind that I wanted to use, and almost went with T.I.’s “No Matter What” beat.
Only problem: to me, the beat was too slow. Most of the beats used on the mixtape are fast-paced and/or uptempo. I feel like the opening song on an album should give listeners an idea of how the rest of their musical journey is going to be, and should, therefore, match that image. So, I decided to use another beat – the instrumental from “I Run This,” which, ironically enough, is a song that features Lil’ Wayne!
(Sidebar: I don’t know what the heck it is with me choosing all these Lil’ Wayne beats to make songs over – I need to cut out the middle man and find the people doing his beats, ‘cause they are awesome!)
Once I had the beat, I attached the 30-second Obama sound bite to the beginning of the beat, then did the song – and it came out BANGIN’!!
Some Interesting Song Tidbits:
1. I did the intro in one take. I didn’t want to use double-up voicing or any special effects because I wanted the intro of the mixtape to sound genuine, i.e. not like a “song,” but more like a conversation that just happened to sound song-like.
2. Again, I felt it important to mention my opinions on two important factors facing Obama in the election: (a) that White people still had unwarranted fears about having a Black man as President, and (b) that they didn’t want to vote for him just because he was a black candidate. I find it stupid that every time a black man is about to be the first to do something, all these issues about whether they’re “qualified” or not comes up. Yeah, and Bush, who is White, was REALLY qualified to be Commander-in-Chief. Get the f–k outta here!
3. I have a few favorite lines in the song, but my absolute favorite is: “White people still fearing a man of color/Even though his mother whiter than bleached pillow covers.” White people see him as “black,” even though his upbringing is, ironically, one most of their own children have gone through. He had a white Mother, was raised around White aunts, uncles, and grandparents, went to schools like Harvard that most whites hold in high regard… heck, he’s half-white! But since his skin is still dark, they’ll throw labels on him that don’t belong. Thus, the irony of the line itself.
INSIGHT INTO A VIDEO SHOOT:
Choosing to do a video for this song was easy. It’s only a couple of days before the election, and – seeing as we’ll have a new President on Tuesday – I figure that all Obama-related songs, regardless of how good they are, will be obsolete as of Wednesday (thought, hopefully, I’m wrong – I’d LOVE to be able to sell the single until Inauguration day!).
In the course of this election, I’ve done other political songs about Obama (see: “Obama, Obama,” “Shine 4 Obama”) as well as John McCain (“John McCain is a PIMP”). This is the only song related to either candidate that I haven’t done a video for yet – gotta get them all out while I can!
Plus, I’m not really the type of guy to go out and campaign, but now that I’ve got a large following on YouTube, MySpace and Soundclick, I can at least get my message out to people via the internet!
For the video, I decided I wanted to do it like a Public Service Announcement. It’s simply me, sitting at a table/desk, spitting out my song like an infomercial.
Filming for it was REAL easy. For some reason, I went to bed the night before at around 7 PM, which caused me to wake up at about 3 AM. Since I was up and had nothing to do – and since the rest of my housemates were asleep – I figured it was a good time to film a video.
I have limited furniture, but one of my housemates has a table downstairs that she sits at ALL DAY LONG watching TV. It looks like a card table, and the chair she has looks like a professional desk chair. So, since no one was up, I snuck downstairs, removed all the items off the table (being sure to remember where everything was placed), then got dressed up in a suit jacket and tie.
Since my beloved camera stand was left behind in ATL, I used the “stacking suitcases” method that I used to film the “Fly Chick” video. I did two takes – one with a close-up zoom and one with a camera angle shooting a bit farther away – then placed everything back on the table, packed up my things, and went back to bed.
The whole shoot took less than an hour!
BTW, with all this online “campaigning” I’ve been doing for Obama, I hope he sends me a check if he wins!
Some Interesting Video Tidbits:
1. I only dressed up half-way for this video. Since I didn’t plan on filming the bottom half of myself, I wore jeans instead of dress pants. This is similar to what I did in the video for “Your Mother is a Ho!,” where I wore shorts instead of slacks.
2. I didn’t want my housemate to know I had used her stuff, so I had to be as careful as possible not to wake anybody up. There were a few times where I’d remove all the stuff from the table, then I’d hear creaking upstairs and had to place all the stuff back on the table. What was on the table? A 13-inch TV, stacks of clipped coupons, scissors, a cotton hat, an original Playstation System with 2 controllers, a case holding video games, and a CD holder.
3. Edit time for this video: about an hour and a half. Even though I filmed two takes, I used the second one for the majority of the video, and only used a small clip from the first take for the last line of the song.
4. Also, the song on the mixtape is wee bit longer. After the part where I say “It’s time… for the climate to change,” I rant on for a few seconds about how this mixtape is going to be different from other ones. I didn’t think that part was necessary for the video, though.
That’s all for now! Incidentally, next week will be my 26th video, i.e. the halfway mark of my little experiment. Doing this for a year has been HARD, but so far it’s also been a lot of fun!
See ya next week!
P.S. I lost my job this week, and still managed to make a video. Truly, I am dedicated. I also need money – so please, for the love of God, buy “The A.P.T. LP” – you can buy the songs individually or as a whole album!