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



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!


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!