Above: The “I Voted For O-Bama! O-Bama!” T-shirt! Available in all sizes!
Short-sleeve, sweatshirts, mugs, hats, and iron-on press design also available – click HERE for info!
This week’s music video is for the song, “Stop Cockblockin’!!” from “The A.P.T. LP,” produced by ME!!
INSIGHT INTO A SONG:
This is one of my all-time favorite original songs that I’ve written – yet, like many of my songs, it actually started off as a parody!
Let’s travel back in time to spring of 2007, when an artist named Huey had a humongous hit song called “Pop, Lock, and Drop It.” The song was playing just about everywhere, from the clubs to the radio – yet, because I had neither a car or went out clubbing too much (nor did I watch too much TV at the time), I had NO idea of the song’s existence.
I think I was at home one day when I finally saw the video for it on B.E.T., and found the song to be annoying but infectious. Sure enough, I found myself singing its chorus – the title of the song said over and over again – on a daily basis.
And when that happens, it’s only a matter of time before I start thinking of my own words to put in place of the original words.
Sure enough, I soon changed “Pop, Lock and Drop It” to “Cockblockin’? Stop it!” I thought it was pretty funny, and I envisioned a parody of the original song where I’d be telling a girl’s friend to stop blocking any action from taking place.
One problem with parodies, though, is that, if you can’t remake the original beat to a song, you can’t legally sell it. However, for some odd reason, copyright law allows you to do a parody of a song without having to pay the original person royalties, so long as you are able to remake the beat and have it sound slightly different from its song of origin. This is why I could make “Obama Obama” and sell it – I wrote the words and remade the beat.
With Huey’s song, though, I didn’t really want to go through the hassle of having to remake a beat. Sure, it sounded simple enough to remake, but I thought, “Why do that when I could just make an original song instead?”
I didn’t really plan on making a beat for the song, but I was fooling around on Fruity Loops one day, and ended up making a bouncy-type dirty south beat that I thought would go perfect with the song. Of course, at the time, all I had was the chorus – “Stop Cockblockin’! Stop Cockblockin’! Stop actin’ like a punk and stop cockblockin’!” – so I knew I’d have to fill the verses in with words of some kind.
Luckily – or unluckily, depending on how you look at it – coming up with words wasn’t that hard. I just thought back to all those times I went to the club where I’d be trying to talk to a girl, and her girlfriends would come up and ruin the flow of the conversation… or, if we were dancing, they would completely interrupt our good time and take her friend way from me.
For example: in college, I was at a party, and I walked up to this girl, and we started dancing. She looked back at me (it’s the look girls always do to see if the guy they are dancing with is attractive enough for them to continue on with) and kept on dancing. We were having a good time…
…and then, out of no where, her girlfriend runs up to her, yells “NOOOOOO!” like it was a bad drama movie, and pulled her girlfriend away from me!!!
So… yeah. Needless to say, the song wasn’t that hard to write 🙂
Some Interesting Song Tidbits:
1. For the chorus, I always envisioned having Lil’ Jon for the vocals. Of course, I’m not famous enough yet to be in the same circle as Lil’ Jon, so I’m basically doing the best Lil’ Jon-sounding voice I possibly can. If anyone knows how I can get in touch with Lil’ Jon, PLEASE let me know – I’d still love him to be on the chorus!
2. The person doing the woman’s part in the song is my friend Michele, a.k.a. Ms. Theory. She has been a great help in many of my song projects, including “Crank Dat (Yeah!)” and as the voice of the girl breaking our date in the “Back to the Future” video.
3. The last line of the second verse is said similar in style to the last line in Huey’s “Pop, Lock, and Drop It.” The last line in that song went, “…. pop, lock and drop it,” and mine goes “So you can tell your friend that if she’s cockblockin’, stop it.” I believe I actually had this line of the song first before I went back and wrote the rest of the verses!
4. I was originally going to make this song 3 verses, with verse 3 being a chant of some kind. But the song was already approaching 4 minutes. In the world of music, it’s important to know when you should add more to a song, and when you should go ahead and finish it up, and I think this one was fine having only 2 verses.
INSIGHT INTO A VIDEO SHOOT:
Man, oh man. I’ve wanted to shoot a video for this song for the longest time, and I’ve had DOZENS of ideas for what I wanted to do.
First, I wanted to film it with me walking out of a club, screaming, then walking down the street filming myself mouthing the words to the song. Only problem: I don’t have an MP3 player, and trying to carry a laptop while carrying a camera AND mouthing song words was NOT going to be possible.
Second, I wanted to film it as though I had just gotten home from the club, frustrated that I didn’t get any, and I was going to sit down at my laptop and blog an angry post about it. But that seemed too… boring.
Third, I was going to try and either get one of my friends or my brother to be in it, and I’d act like I was telling them the story of what happened at the club the night before. Only problem: let’s just say, coordinating times with people for when I want them to do stuff is always a problem, and at this point I’d just rather do everything myself since I know I can rely on me to do the takes how I want AND do it at the time I’d like it done.
Finally, I settled on an idea – I would film it in our downstairs bathroom, and act like I was at still at the club but phoning my friend to tell him that I was about to take a girl home.
Then, before I started filming, I remembered that the second verse of the song has me talking to the girl as if I wasn’t trying to take her home. How could I say the verse in the video if I was still at the club, and hadn’t actually taken her home yet?
Then it dawned on me: I could act like I already took her home, and that the lines I said to her at the club made her comfortable enough to go home with me. Genius!!
After much setting up of camera angles, I was able to post my camera on a box sitting on a towel bar to film myself doing the song in the bathroom. After I filmed there, I went to the kitchen to film the “wilin’ out” version of me (i.e. the crazy version of me doing the song, as opposed to the more subdued version in the bathroom).
As for my clothes in the video, they consist of blue jeans, a U.S.A. jacket I bought from some store in Hampton, VA that no longer exists…
…and my very own self-made “I Voted For O-Bama! O-Bama!” t-shirt!
Part of the reason I held off on making the video was because I wanted to have this T-shirt to wear in it so I could start selling it. I wanted to do a test run of it first, though, to see if the shirt would actually sell. So, I went to Wal-Mart and bought a long-sleeve shirt ($5), 2 short-sleeve shirts ($8), and some iron-on paper.
Once I got home, I came up with a nice-looking design (which is COPYRIGHT-protected – I WILL sue if I find out copies were made) and test-ironed it onto the short-sleeve shirts…
…and the designs didn’t stick too well. “Aw crap,” I thought to myself, “so much for THAT idea!”
2 days later, though, I wanted to give it one more try. So, I got out the long-sleeve shirt this time, and ironed the design on the shirt. Lo and behold, it worked this time! (Well, most of the way, anyway).
So now, I have “I Voted For O-Bama! O-Bama!” T-shrits available for sale in the merchandise section! (NOTE: If you buy the shirt, it will NOT be an iron-on, but a professional printing of the shirt. The iron-on was just for testing purposes so people would know what the shirt they are buying would look like).
Lastly, since I was going to be selling Obama-related stuff, I thought it would be funny to do a re-enactment of the club scene using political figures. For this reason, I put together stick puppets using familiar politcal figures’ faces. The part of me in the story retelling is played by “Obama,” while the girl being hit on is played by “Michele” and the cock-blockin’ girlfriend is – who else – “Hillary!” (I’m sure Bill Clinton would agree with Hillary being a cock-blocker!)
All in all, this was a fun video to make for a song I absolutely love!
Some Insights Into the Video Shoot:
1. I shot most of this thing at 1 AM in the morning on Wednesday, while the rest of my housemates were asleep!
2. The bathroom used in the video is the downstairs half-bathroom. There is also a bathroom upstairs, but it has a tub in it. I was originally going to act like the bathroom was in the club, and I don’t believe many clubs have bathrooms with tubs in it!
3. Many of the ideas or things used in this video are throwbacks to other videos I’ve done. The bathroom-as-location idea? Also used in “Shout Out 2 My Big Girls” (video #2) and “It’s Over” (video #8). The Kanye West glasses? Also used in video #2. Me talking on the phone? Also used in “Back to the Future” (video #6). I guess this is what happens after you’ve filmed 28 videos!
4. The design for the “I Voted For O-bama! O-Bama!” shirt was ironed on. However, since I still haven’t quite figured out how to get the design to stick 100%, some of the lettering had to be touched up using permanent marker. Again, for the actual shirts being sold, it’s being made professionally, but I didn’t want to spend excessive money on ONE shirt if it ended up not selling. Let’s hope it does!!
5. I was going to use popsicle sticks for the backing of the puppets, but I had no idea where to buy them without having to buy actual popsicles – and, given how cold the weather has been, I was definitely NOT going to do that! So, I found a cardboard box instead and cut out thin rectangles to glue their faces to. Genius!
6. Estimated time for video editing: I can’t remember. I was editing the video while doing other stuff throughout the course of the day. Now that I’ve moved to D.C. I’ve actually picked up a social life, so I’m usually editing something then getting interupted to go hang out. If I had to guess, though, I’d say about 4 or 5 hours.
That’s all for now! Incidentally, I only have ONE more video to shoot for the songs off my album – still have no idea what the video will look like, but here’s hoping I think of something soon!