This week’s video is for the song, “Rock and Roll,” produced by & featuring King Kut.
INSIGHT INTO A SONG:
I’ve probably mentioned the “Obama Milli” song in the majority of my “One-Song-a-Week” song descriptions more than any other song this year, and for good reason. That song has pretty much been the catalyst for the majority of the stuff I was able to experience this year, from getting interviews to being able to move to Cali, and everything else in-between.
The way I came about doing this week’s song, “Rock and Roll,” stems back from a fan I got as a result of him first being exposed to “Obama Milli.” After the song went national, I started getting request from underground artist to do collaborations with them. Most of them were probably trying to feed off the exposure I was getting in the hopes that they, too, would get seen, but I was hesitant to collaborate with just anybody. Unless they either (a) sent me a beat that was bangin’ with their parts already recorded, or (b) I went to someone’s MySpace page and found a song I wanted to do a remix to, I didn’t want to do a collabo. After all, since I haven’t met these people, if they ended up being rapist or drug dealers, MY name would end up being associated with them if they did something stupid and got arrested, and, since I’m still a relatively unknown media presence I didn’t want to have people looking at me funny once I got more exposure.
In November, about 2 weeks before I released my “The Next Black President (a.k.a. Back on My Grind)” mixtape, I received an email from a rapper/producer named King Kut. He said he was a fan of “Obama Milli” (of course) as well as the title track from the mixtape, and that he wanted me to do a collabo with him for one of his upcoming mixtapes. He also sent me the addresses to his web pages to check his stuff out.
I checked out his pages. His beats were bangin’, and the songs he had up, while not lyrically the best, had some outstanding choruses. However, at the time I still getting requests from lots of people who wanted to do collabos, so to me it was just another person wanting to add their name to my quasi-fame. Once all the “Obama Milli” stuff died down, I figured he, like many others, would forget I existed and it wouldn’t matter.
Fast-forward to January ’09: In the course of preparing songs for my “The Great Black Hope” album, I was looking to do at least ONE collaboration for the LP. I looked back in my E-mail stack and saw King Kut’s message. Then I remembered that I had forgotten to write back to him, so I did, and told him I’d be curious as to what song ideas he had in mind, or what beats he may have wanted to send me (since I was in beat-looking mode.) I didn’t think I’d actually hear back from him, but lo and behold: he sent me 2 beats (one the next day, and one a few days later for my birthday), both of which were pretty good! As for the collaboration, by that time I had already done a collabo with another group, and couldn’t think of a song prior to the release date of my album for us to do together, so I told him that if I decided to do another album/mixtape this year I’d see how I could get him on a song…
Fast-forward to April ’09…
Since I’ve moved to Cali, I’ve been working on a top-secret online entertainment project with a guy named Rob, who found out about me via my “Obama Milli” song (see? I TOLD you it was the catalyst for all this stuff!). Part of the project has a musical component to it, and I had been trying to make my own beats for the songs I’m making on that project. However, with all the other stuff I have to do for the project (writing scripts, drawing comings, writing songs, etc.), having to make all the beats myself was becoming time-consuming.
I decided to see if there were beats in my catalogue that I hadn’t used yet that I could use for the project. I also started looking at any beats made by other people that would sound great for some of the songs. In the process of doing so, I remembered the beats King Kut had sent me back in January that I hadn’t used yet. Since I liked them, I wrote King Kut and asked him if he had any other beats he could possibly send me. Without hesitation, he wrote me back and said he could send me some beats!
As part of his message, he included his websites at the end. I noticed the sites he had were similar to the ones I had: he had a YouTube site for videos, as well as a WordPress.com site for… well, I had no idea, but I had to check them out. First one I checked out was his YouTube page. Apparently he had been doing this project for a while, ’cause the first video I saw was video #25!
The name of the video was “Rock and Roll” (I know you were wondering when I’d actually get to talking about the song), and, as soon as it came on, it sounded like a hit. Once I heard the chorus, it was a rap – that song was just TOO catchy! How do I know? I was going around my apartment singing the chorus to that dang song the rest of the day!
After I saw his other videos (and yes, if you’re reading this I sat at your WordPress site and watched ALL your videos), I kept going back to “Rock and Roll.” Everytime I heard it I’d start freestyling off some lyrics ’cause the beat just made it so easy! I didn’t know if he’d be up for it, but I HAD to see if he’d be interested in doing a remix to the song. I wrote him, told him I was interested in doing one. Not only was he interested, he sent me a beat the same day with his first and third verse on it, and a section with no lyrics that gave me 16 bars of room to “do my thang!”
This is one of those songs where the lyrics don’t really matter. Yes, I know all those so-called “real MCs” will probably hate on me for saying that… but get the f–k over yourself. Not every song need have meaning, and it’s not ALWAYS about what’s BEING said in the song, but HOW it’s being said. This is the type of song whereby you have to go with the feel of the beat. Since it’s a dance/snap type of song, if the lyrics don’t flow with the beat in a certain way, the dance vibe of the song gets ruined.
King Kut’s part of the song was already chanty in sound, so I didn’t want to copy his flow because then it becomes monotonous to the listener, and would make me sound like I was trying to copy him. So, instead, I decided to use a few different flows in my part: the fast flow, the chant flow, the choppy flow… all mixed together in a nice verse that still makes the song danceable and will make people wanna get buck at the same time!
This is, with out a doubt, a SMASH hit. I don’t know how I’m gonna do it yet, but I want this song to blow up ’cause it’s just THAT hot!
Some Interesting Song Tidbits:
1. The first part of my verse starts with the word “Don’t” because, at the cut-off point for my verse there was a very small, yet distinguishable “D” sound that didn’t quite get cut out.
2. My favorite verse is when I say: “Got a girl with me, I’m hard as a ROCK/She ready to ROLL…” I wanted to incorperate that into the song somewhere just ’cause it sounded clever!
3. My voice may sound a wee bit distorted. I used the “Electric Rock Sound” effect on my voice to give it more of a rock sound edge. Hopefully people won’t take that as me having a crappy mic!
INSIGHT INTO A VIDEO SHOOT
This was actually a very time-saving video for me to make. Since King Kut already had a video for the original version of “Rock and Roll,” I asked him to send me the video as is, and I would incoperate my footage into it.
Upon first reuqest, though, I think he thought I wanted him to send me the just the footage sans song, so he sent me two clips: a clip from the original video where he’s in orange lighting, and a brand new footage set with him wearing a red shirt and red Kanye-style glasses that wasn’t in the first video. I was trying to make the video editing process easier on myself, though, since I had other videos (not involving musie) that I had to shoot.
Even though I finally got the original video footage, I liked the new one with him in red enough to incorperate it into the new video as well. As for my footage, I wanted to keep it in line with his footage, meaning I didn’t want to do something over-extravagant that would make people be able to tell the difference between his shots and mine (except for the fact that, since I shot my footage using my MAC camera, it’s in widescreen mode). I did a shot of me doing the song in my Hampton Alum T-shirt on the side of my kitchen that had a refridgerator, sink, oven, etc.; and the second shot was taken in front of my window with the cool-loooking brown shades (I’ve used that window in about 5 videos now, and it never gets old to me).
Once my shots were complete, I had to transport all the footage over from the MAC to the PC. Since King Kut’s footage was saved as a WMV file, I couldn’t load them up onto my MAC (and the converter costs money which I don’t feel the need to spend yet). Meaning that, yes, I had to take the ol’ slow-acting laptop out of retirement for another video edit. I started editing this bad boy at 6, and finished at 9 – not too long, but it would have been edited in about an hour on the MAC so… yeah, may have to get that converter soon after all!
After loading the footage onto the PC, I added some effects to my footage (since he already had effects on his), as well as to the new footage of King Kut. You’ll have to see the video to see the effects themselves, but all in all the video came out fantastic!
Some Interesting Video Tidbits:
1. I actually shot a whole segment on my Kodak camera with me wearing the Hampton Alum shirt. Then, I went to get a haircut the next day prior to me shooting the second footage. I didn’t want to be inconsistent, so I didn’t use it.
2. There is actually a dance I made up that goes with this song! There are a few shots of it in the video, but I actually had a longer segment where the dance goes on longer so people can get a feel of it. I may have to release another video showing off how to do the “Rock and Roll” dance!
3. In case you can’t read it too well, the shirt I’m wearing says “I used to have a six-pack.” Underneath is an empty plastic can-holder of what used to be a “six-pack.” Get it?!?
4. Editing time for this video: 3 to 4 hours, most of which was me waiting for pauses when my PC was trying to load the footage. I’m SO glad I have a MAC!
That’s all for now – only 2 more videos left to go! See ya next Sunday!