This week’s video is for the song “Can’t Leave Rap Alone,” featuring Jay-Z on the hook.
AVAILABLE EXCLUSIVELY ON “THE O-BAMA MIXTAPE”! Click HERE for download info!
New A.P.T. EP, “The Great Black Hope,” available Wednesday, January 7th (a.k.a. MY Birthday!)
INSIGHT INTO A SONG:
My New Year’s goal for 2008 was simple: to get at least ONE song on radio.
Now that it’s 2009, its easy to see that I was able to make that happen with “O-bama O-bama.” However, back in March, I was simply doing what I needed to do to reach my goal: listening to beats from www.soundclick.com, finding the ones I liked (on pages that said the beats could be downloaded and used freely for promotional use only) and making songs that I found amusing.
One of the beats was for the song used in today’s video, “Can’t Leave Rap Alone,” made by One Dollar Beats. I don’t know why he calls himself that – the beat is infectious, and smartly uses the “Can’t leave rap alone, the game needs me” line from Jay-Z’s “H to tha Izzo” song.
Because of the chorus, I wanted to write lyrics that would prove to people how serious I was about doing this rap thing. So, I wrote up as many funny lines I could think of, then put them into rap form.
At the time I wrote the song, I didn’t have much of an audience, so using cuss words here and there in some of my songs was no big deal to me. This is one of those songs where some of the lines I used HAD to use cuss words to make them understandable. My favorite line in the song is, “But I’m constipated, plus I cut my d*ck off/so I don’t give a $#!+, and I don’t give a f*ck.” Without the cuss words, though, that line wouldn’t make sense!
Of course, now that I have an audience, including family members, I try to watch what I say in songs. Still, I figured that if people heard I had a song with Jay-Z on the chorus they’d pay more attention. Not that it’s really needed now since more people know who I am; regardless, though, this is, lyrically, one of my favorite songs I’ve written.
Some Interesting Song Tidbits:
1. This song is time-stamped by the fact that I mention Elliot Spitzer, the NY governor who was outed from office after his affair with a high-end prostitute was turned into a national saga in early 2008. Thus, the line in the song… ah, you’ll have to hear it for yourself!
2. Also, at the beginning of the first and second verse, and the end of the third verse, I start all of those lines off the same way. I don’t want to give away how I start those lines off… but the way I start off the first verse is the way I’ve had the line in my head for over 3 years, and was happy to be able to add other examples as puns in the song!
3. The original beat actually went a bit slower. However, once I loaded it into my Fruity Loops program, I was able to take it up a few keys on the FL Piano, thus making the song faster and at a slightly higher tune. I already had to talk slow in the song, but talking the song at the original pace was straining, and made the song sound boring!
INSIGHT INTO A VIDEO SHOOT:
As you may know, I have an NEW EP coming out on January 7th called “The Great Black Hope.” And I’ve recorded most of the songs for the album as well.
So, why did I decide to do a video off “The O-bama Mixtape,” which was released over 5 months ago?!?
Easy: I checked my MySpace mailbox one day, and I got a message from a fan named Sherod asking me if I ever planned on making a music video for one of his favorite songs of mine, “Can’t Leave Rap Alone.”
I wrote him back, saying that I had actually had an idea for a video for tha song, but due to the fact that I had been making videos for songs off “The Next Black President” mixtape and was going into video productions for “The Great Black Hope,” I hadn’t gotten around to making it. I told him I’d probably end up making a video for it once I’d made a few videos for my new songs…
…and I really did NOT plan on making a video for it until much, much later…
…but the more I thought about it, the more I realized I actually had an idea for how the video for it could be shot – so, why not shoot it now?
In retrospect, I’m glad I did – the video actually turned out to be one of the more inventive shoots I’ve done lately. Peep the insights…
So, the idea for it was simple: I’d film myself attempting to record a song, get frustrated and say “Aww, screw it, I quit!” Then, I’d go to sleep, and have a dream where a phantom version of myself would tell me that I couldn’t escape my destiny of becoming a rapper. From there, I’d film myself running away from whatever is chasing me, only to be caught by it in the end. Then, I’d tell myself not to give up, and, upon awaking from my dream, finally have a song idea to record.
Pretty cool, huh?
And, as it so happens, I was staying over at my friend Brooke’s apartment, whose building had everything I’d need for an awesome dream sequence shoot. Long hallway outside her door? Check! Dark room to film spooky-looking guy? Check (the building had saunas on the very top floor)!
Most importantly, since Brooke was there (after all, it WAS her place), she agreed to be my assistant director! I finally had someone to follow me around and film while I did stuff, instead of having to hold the camera while running (thus looking like I was chasing myself)!
We filmed the hallway chase scene first, where I ran along the 8th floor’s hallway while Brooke chased me with the camera. Next, we filmed me in the sauna (minus actually turning it on) with a flashlight rapping the song. Because I wanted the film footage to look slowed down while having my lips be in pace with the song, I had to double-up the speed of the song and rap it really fast, which proved to be challenging (though it came out looking great in the end)!
Once I filmed those scenes at Brooke’s apartment, which was on Friday, I had to wait until Saturday night to finish filming the parts where I was in the real world. I’m moving to California next week, but because our previous landlord cut off our electricity, my Mom took me back to Richmond to stay with her for a few days. While here, I filmed the opening (where I’m at the table trying to think of a song) and the parts where I’m trying to sleep but can’t.
And, of course, I couldn’t forget to let people know I had a NEW collection of songs coming out. I put an ad in there with the cover of the EP, but I wanted to give people a taste of what to expect. So, I decided at the last minute to make the song I ended up thinking of be one of the songs off “The Great Black Hope!” If you watch until the end, you’ll get a 20-second sneek peak at one of the songs from the EP called “Hands UP!”
Overall, a very ambitious video, but one that I’m very proud to have made. Thanks for the suggestion, Sherod!
Some Interesting Video Shoot Tidbits:
1. Argh! I hate video discrepancies! Okay – when the video first opens you’ll see a side view of me at the table with the laptop. Look carefully at the left part of the table behind the laptop – there’s nothing there, right? Yet, in the footage where I’m looking directly at the laptop, you’ll see a big box of Raisin Bran!! I shot the footage with the Raisin Bran first, and must have moved the box before filming at the wide shot angle. Darn it!
2. At the end, I credit my brother for wardrobe. This is because, in thinking back on the video, all the shirts and pants I wore were either (a) things he bought me or (b) things he used to wear. I had no idea I couldn’t pick out my own clothes!
3. The reason the dream sequence is in black and white is because, according to dream experts, people dream in black-and-white. The only other dream-type video I’ve done was for video #4, “Smile 4 Dad,” and the dream sequence for that was filmed in black-and-white as well.
4. The girl near the very end of the video is Brooke, who was gracious enough to lend her time to helping me direct my video, and came up with some pretty good ideas about a future video of mine… but I’ll talk about that more once it’s released!
5. Estimated time for editing: about 6 hours. Plus, as I’m typing this, it’s taking a LONG time to load up on YouTube due to the large size of the file – an enormous 98 MB of memory (the biggest since video #4, “Smile 4 Dad,” which clocked in at 90 MB). My average videos are in the 30 to 40 MB range, so you KNOW it’s going to take a while. I just hope it loads up before the day is over…
That’s all for now – only 18 videos left to go! See ya next Sunday!