This week’s video is for the song “Hooptie,” produced by ME!
Available on “The A.P.T. LP” – Click HERE for purchase info! Also appears as a bonus track on “The Great Black Hope,” available January 7, 2009!
INSIGHT INTO A SONG:
Finally, a video for “Hooptie,” and the last song off “The A.P.T. LP” that needed a video! But first, some song insights, shall we?
Way back in 2005, I was driving around in a wonderful Honda Civic. Unfortunately, I also had a sales job selling a cleaning system (similar to a vacuum, only it uses water) where I wasn’t making many sales. As a result, I wasn’t able to make payments on the car, and it got impounded.
I still needed a car to drive, and it just so happened that one of my grandma’s friends, who was in his 40s and worked at a car dealership as a mechanic, had an old 1982 Cadillac that he was willing to give me for free. The car had many problems with it, but, at the time, free was what I could afford, and I was just happy to have a car to drive.
At least I was for the first month, when it worked. In December 2005, the car broke down, to the point where fixing it would cost oodles of money that I didn’t have. Thus, I ended up selling the car to a mechanic in Richmond, VA for about $50 bucks.
Fast-forward to August 2006. After living at home for nearly 10 months, I decided I wanted to move to Atlanta. I had been selling items on eBay for 7 months, and was making enough money to afford a $500 apartment deposit, 1st month’s rent, and – if I was lucky enough – a car that could, at the very least, help move me down to Atlanta.
While doing my normal routine of going to yard sales on Saturday mornings (to buy stuff to resell on eBay), I saw a car with a “FOR SALE” sign, along with a price tag of $500. I immediately called my Mom and told her I found a car I wanted to look into buying. When we met up with the people, we found out more about it: it was a 1987 Cheverolet Celebrity station wagon, had 125,000 miles on it, and needed to be sold. After giving it a test drive, I decided to buy the car.
In between owning these two cars, I was working on some new songs for the “Check the Resume” album. I wanted to do a car song, but I don’t like to do songs that everybody’s done, and most rappers make songs about their expensive cars with the 20-26 inch rims, leather interior, etc. That’s not my reality (yet), so I thought it would be funny if I rapped proudly about owning a Hooptie, i.e. a really messed up car!
For the beat, I sampled… hmm – on second thought, I’ll keep that to myself for now. Because of the way I mixed it together, you wouldn’t be able to tell it’s the song I sampled if I told you. All I know is, when I heard the beat, I knew that this song was the perfect one to use it for.
I wanted to make the song a sing-songy type of song – one where the verses sound like they could be sung just as easily as the chorus. I slowed down my rapping speed, and emphasized words at the ends of sentences so that they’d stretch out more when people said them.
I also wanted to infuse humor into the song by going on and on about owning this wreck of the car. The lyrics are basically me giving a description of the two hoopties I actually owned – in fact, listening to this song made me realize just how f—ked up those cars really were! But, seeing as I don’t have a car now, I was just happy I had something that could get me from Point A to Point B in a fast amount of time (as opposed to now, where I have to walk or catch buses and trains, which aren’t always reliable).
FYI: I intended to film a video for this back in November, but since I took so long to make a video for the song, it’s being included as a BONUS track on my new album, “The Great Black Hope,” out Wednesday, January 7, 2009 (i.e. MY birthday!)
Some Interesting Song Tidbits:
1. The original chorus for this song was, “I drive a Hooptie (what!), I drive a Hooptie, n!@@a!” However, even though it sounded crunk when sung, I’ve always had problems with other artist using the N-word in their songs. It sounded like the right word to place in there, but the last thing I want is to be performing a concert, and hearing white kids in the audience yelling the N-word lyrics back to me. So, when I re-recorded it for “The A.P.T. LP,” I changed it to “I drive a Hooptie, homey.”
2. The person saying “Yeah, man, that car is tiiiight!” is my cousin Sheldon, who came down to the south this summer to visit! It took quite a few takes for him to say the line on beat, so I had him record the same line over and over again about 9 times before he had it to where I could use it!
3. About 85% of the song lyrics are based on the two cars I had. Specifically: the having one headlight, the engine smoking, the locks not working, spending 3 minutes opening one of their doors, having a couple of windows either not roll down or roll up, my car shutting down when driving too fast, having different colored smoke coming out of the tailpipe, my trunk being so wet due to rain leaking in that it smelled like fish, my bumper’s having rust, my car cutting off after being in reverse…
4. …and the line about “some joker hit and run the front side of my car” – I had just finished up the song, and thought, “Hmm, it still needs a few more lines.” I went out to make a quick run and, sure enough, there was a dent in the front part of the door where someone from across the street had backed out their driveway and hit my car. This happened less than 24 hours after I had gotten my second “hooptie!”
5. My favorite line in the song is the very last line in the second verse, but I had to edit it for video purposes so my cousin could actually watch it. You’ll have to listen through the song to see why!
INSIGHT INTO A VIDEO SHOOT:
The reason I waited so long to shoot a video for “Hooptie” is because I wanted to get my cousin Sheldon in the video. I figured it would be cool to get him in one of my videos, especially since he had a line in the song. The plan was to catch a bus up to Philadelphia and spend Christmas with him and my other cousin, Samantha, and, in the process, film a video.
But of course, just because you plan something doesn’t always mean it’s going to happen.
In this case, Mother Nature changed my plans: at 5:31 AM I got a call from Samantha telling me it had rained the night before, and that the roads were iced over. Furthermore, one of the major highways had been closed off by the city, and there had already been a report of one Greyhound bus accident – the same bus line I would have caught to go up for my visit.
Seeing as I didn’t want to die, I had to cancel my plans to go up north – and, more importantly, to film my video up there.
As luck would have it, though, my brother had asked our Mom to get him a Wii for him and his fiancée to play. Upon getting the system, the first game he bought was Mario Kart Wii, a racing game featuring Nintendo characters. He opened the game the night before Christmas Eve for all of us to play at his apartment, and it was fun as heck!
The next morning, while waiting for my brother to wake up (I spent the night at his apartment), I started playing the game again to see how many new racing courses and/or characters and/or rides I could unlock. Somewhere, in the middle of playing the game, I thought: “OMG – I could make a video for ‘Hooptie’ by filming myself playing ‘Mario Kart Wii!’” It made perfect sense – it was a racing game involving cars (okay, karts – still, same thing!) and “Hooptie” was a car song, so they could go together!
I started filming the TV screen while playing the game, and decided that I didn’t just want to see a video with me winning all these racing matches. Since the song was funny, I wanted the video to be funny as well – so, I decided to play the game as badly as possible, crashing into things, getting hit by stuff, falling off of cliffs – to match the song’s mantra of owing a crappy car. After all, if I’m doing so badly on the races, my car must not be that good, right?
And, since I filmed it during Christmas week – and because my bro had Christmas decorations all over his apartment – I decided to film it like I got the game for Christmas, opened it up, played it, got frustrated, and gave up by the end.
All in all, it’s an okay video – I still wish I had been able to film the version with my cousin… but when you’re on a deadline, sometimes you gotta go with whatever options are available!
Some Interesting Video Shoot Tidbits:
1. Shooting this video was pretty easy, but the longest take was me filming myself playing all these races with different characters. I wanted the camera angle to be the same for all the races, so I kept the camera on continuously. The take ended up being 29 minutes long!
2. The TV used is actually my brother’s roommate’s TV.
3. For the first driving take, I was actually playing the game with the Wii wheel. For the other two takes – the ones where I’m either going frantic or off-the-wall with the wheel – I wasn’t actually playing the game.
4. My brother came in the room while I was filming one of my races. He asked me if he could get a DVD out of the machine, and I said, “Sure, I’m trying to play bad anyway.” While he was getting it out, I started yelling at him for getting in the way, then had to remind him that I was doing that so I could, hopefully, get it on video (thus adding to the whole “I’m playing this game VERY badly” shtick)!
5. In order to get the shot for the TV, I placed my brother’s ironing board in front of the chair I was sitting in, placed a DVD case on the ironing board, then placed the camera on top of that. Same thing for the shot of me next to the Christmas tree. Like I always say, I ALWAYS find a way to get the shot I want.
6. At the end of the video, I say “Aw, screw this game – where’s that ‘Bust My G.A.T.’ game?!?” Those who have regularly viewed my vidoes each week will recall that video 16 – “Bust My G.A.T.” – was a game I played on Wii in an EBGames store. Actually, now that I think about it, the game was actually called “How to Be a Rapper: The Action/Adventure Game.” But saying the song title was still a better choice!
7. Video discrepency alert! For the part of the video where I race as Mario, I’m playing the 100 cc Race Cup. However, on the “Better Luck Next Time” screen, it says I “lost” while playing the 150 cc Race Cup. This is because, after playing badly as Mario on the 100 cc Cup, I went back and played an actual Grand Prix race so I could get the ending screen – only I accidentally played it on 150 cc! If I had a Wii I’d go back and re-film it… but I don’t, so I can’t. Dang it!
8. Estimated time for editing: Let’s see: I spent about 2 hours this morning before getting ready for work… then I decided that I was tired of being treated rudely at my job, said “Screw them” and stayed home… then I worked on it for a few more hours while watching “Sister Act II: Back in the Habit” and a special on E! about Saturday Night Live.. meanwhile, my computer was extra un-cooperative today, slowing up and/or stopping altogether at times… so, what should have been about a 3 or 4 hour edit time (the amount of time it usually takes when I don’t have any mouthed words to link up with music) took about 9 hours.
The funny part? I could have gone to work today to make money, and instead, I stayed home and edited this video while making NO money. I didn’t want to risk working on this thing bpast a time where an internet place would be open for me to post it up. I don’t know if that’s craziness or dedication… either way, when I get to California, I am DEFINITELY going to puruse a job as a video editor (a good job to have while I’m working towards not having a job, and one I seem to enjoy doing!)
That’s all for now – only 19 more videos to go! See ya next Sunday!