This week’s music video is for the song “The Great Black Hope,” off the album of the same name!

AVAILABLE ON A.P.T.’S “THE GREAT BLACK HOPE” ALBUM! Click HERE for more info!

INSIGHT INTO A SONG:

I’m a big fan of Stephen Colbert’s Comedy Central show, “The Colbert Report.”  It’s a political satire show that’s basically a mocking of Bill O’ Reiley’s “The O’Reiley Factor.”

It’s opening theme song is a nice rock and roll riff that simply jams.  I’m always looking for tunes to sample that aren’t being used by everybody else, and I wanted to take his show’s theme song and see if I could make it into a rap tune.  I couldn’t find the tune downloadable anywhere, so I used my Mom’s sound recorder on her computer to record the theme from the online site, and transferred it to my laptop’s Fruitly Loops program.

This was about a year and a half ago.  I had the beat, the first, and even came up with the chorus and title – “The Great Black Hope”… but beyond that, I didn’t have the rest of the song written at, nor did I know what direction I wanted the song to go in.  So, as I do with all songs that I can’t seem to figure out, I put it on the back-burner and didn’t write anything to it for a while.  I’d listen to the beat occasionally trying to get ideas, but couldn’t come up with anything…

Fast-forward to November 2008: After I released the “The Next Black President” mixtape, I started thinking up songs for my next album.  I knew that, with Barack Obama winning the election, this would be a perfect time to release an album titled “The Great Black Hope.”  I already had the beat, chorus, and first verse for it, but I still didn’t know how to finish it up.  I literally went weeks trying to think up lyrics for a second verse, and nothing I wrote seemed to come out right.

Finally, as my self-imposed deadline for the album’s release date was coming, I had to buckle down and come up with something.  So I started thinking and thinking, and I figured that with the given song title, it would be good of me to explain WHY I consider myself “The Great Black Hope.”  So, I decided to mention a lil’ bit about having been through the struggle of trying to make it in the music biz, as well as having enough status to be a model of success and hope for those that haven’t made it as far.  Granted, I’m not uber famous by any means, but I HAVE gotten enough attention to where I am able to actively make progress towards my goals (verses just talking about them and getting no where due to lack of momentum).

Once I figured that part out, writing the second verse of the song was easy.  Once the song was done, I went back and added some rise sounds to the beat, plus – since I wanted the song to have a hype feel to it – I added in cheering audience sounds (which I got off a sound FX CD).  Once everything was completed, I took a listen to the song, and knew: THIS was definitely a GREAT album-opening song!

Some Interesting Song Tidbits:

1. There’s a part of the song where a door bell rings.  I didn’t have the sound effect, so, since I was visiting my Mom at the time, I had her stand outside and ring the bell while I held up a microphone next to where the door bell sound comes out.

2. The cheering sound only lasted so long, so I had to re-loop it over and over to fit the whole song.

3. My favorite line: “A rap sensai, you can call me Splinter.”  Seems like an old-school reference, don’t it? Dang, I’m gettin’ old!

INSIGHT INTO A MUSIC VIDEO:

I had the video idea for this one last week, but didn’t have time to film it.  It’s very simple: Since there is cheering being heard throughout the song, I thought it fitting to make the video similar to those “Karaoke” games available for PS3, X-Box 360 and Nintendo Wii.

Shooting for the video was pretty easy – I hung one of my more decorative blankets where my curtain “should” be, and mimed the song at 2 different angles (though I only ended up using one of them for the majority of the video).  I was originally going to also use myself as the person playing/singing along to the game… but quite honestly, I didn’t want to shoot yet another video where I’m playing more than one person.

Luckily, I happened to have access to a puppet (can’t reveal WHY yet), and decided to use it as the character singing along to the game. I had to film it at an angle where my arm and body couldn’t be seen.

The longest part of the editing process was typing in the scrolling lyrics.  I had to make sure they lined up with the wording of the song.  I actually had to revert back to my good ol’ PC to add the words in, and I also added in the watercolor effect for the parts where I’m singing so I’d look more video gamey.  Once I transferred it to my MAC, I also added in some high-color green effects, along with some other effects to give my look some variation.  Add in the music track with the puppet footage, and voila – another hot video by me, A.P.T.!

Some Interesting Video Shoot Tidbits

1. I did the shots of me singing close-up to give the impression that I was in front of a stage curtain.  In actuality, I filmed it in my room 🙂

2. Mouthing a puppet is hard work!  I had to have it sing along to the song, which is almost 4 minutes worth of mouthing words.  About 2.5 minutes in, my hand started getting tired, and I had to re-adjust it so I could finish.  Luckily, I could just leave those parts out.

3. The thing sitting up in the puppet’s lap is my studio mic.  In retrospect, a person wouldn’t use a studio mic when playing a video game… but who cares?!?

4. Estimated editing time: about 5 hours.  Not too bad, considering I also filmed it today!

That’s all for now – only 9 more music videos left to go!  See ya next week!

-A.P.T.

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