Today’s insight is for a song/video I made called “The Condom Wrap” (ha ha, get it? See, it’s a rap, and putting a condom on is called “wrapping it up.” I’m so funny).

INSIGHTS INTO A SONG

I’ve always wanted to enter a rap video/song contest of some kind, but didn’t know how to find out about them.  In fact, I didn’t even know about the one I made this song for, but sometimes I have a way of finding things I wasn’t expecting…

Basically, what had happen was…

I had heard Ludacris’ “What’s Your Fantasy” song while at work one day, and wanted to see the video.  So, I went on YouTube and typed “Ludacris” and “Fantasy” into the search engine. Lo and behold, one of the video choices that popped up was an advertisement for a contest being held by Trojan (the condom company) and hosted by Ludacris.

Intrigued that Ludacris would be helping out for a condom video contest, I clicked on the link.  In a nutshell: the contest called for any contestant to spit out 16 bars about Trojan Magnum condoms (a.k.a. the condoms with the oh-so-shiny gold wrapper) either using any 4 of the beats they provided or acapella.  Once all the entries were in (deadline for it is April 13), the judges would decide who had the best rap, and the winner will receive $5000!

Now me, I’m not one to turn down an opportunity to win that kind of money, especially if all it required is me rapping 16 bars about the type of condoms I already use.  Still, I didn’t know if I’d be able to come up with something that sounded slick or clever – I peeped out some of the entries they already had on the site, and a few of them were quite good (and many of them were really, really bad). I downloaded the beats provided, listened to them for a bit, then went off to watch TV before going to bed.

The next morning – like, right as I was about to head out and catch the bus to go to work – my brain suddenly started spitting out verses and words for me to use on one of the beats.  This type of thing happens to me quite often, where I’ll be in the middle of something and suddenly I’ll think of the right words for a song or beat I had in my head, and it’s quite annoying ’cause it means I have to stop whatever it is I’m doing and write the ideas down right then and there.

So, I had a choice to make: do I risk being late for work to write down my idea, or do I say “ah, screw it, the idea will be there later?” As history has taught me, it’s usually best for me to write it down A.S.A.P., so that’s what I did – I wrote the whole thing out in about 10 minutes, then headed off to work. (And no, I was not late.)

As for the song itself, it’s not even really a song. It’s 16 bars of me talking about Magnum condoms. But it’s pretty funny, has some good wordplay in it, and should win me the $5000 ’cause my competition SUX!!

Some Interesting Song Tibits

1. Per contest rules, the song had to be about condoms, but it couldn’t be vulgar, contain any bad language or be too explicit.  Having these kinds of rules actually makes it EASIER for me, ’cause it means that instead of saying something directly, I have to imply it. And in rap, that’s ALWAYS a fun thing to do.

2. The hardest part of writing this 16 bars was the parts between bar 9 and bar 12.  I wanted to set it up similar to the way Eminem sets up some of his lines, where he will have this looooong sentence that doesn’t seem to make sense until the punchline is revealed at the very end.  In this case, I talk about being a conductor at an award show, and if you listen to the sentence itself, which runs on for 3 lines, it doesn’t seem to relate to condoms at all… but then you get to the end and it’s like “Ahhhh, I get it – that’s funny!”

INSIGHTS INTO A VIDEO

First off: most of the people who entered this contest must not have a studio or recording equipment.  A good portion of them recorded themselves playing the beat out loud, then rapping into the camera.  The result? BAD AUDIO. Half the people can’t be heard, and another 3/4 of them just sound like they’re rapping inside a tin can!

When I decided to do MY video, I wanted the audio to sound good. So, I recorded the track using my Garageband program first. Then, when I recorded the video, I played the song so I’d know where to lip sync for LATER, when I would import the video into my Final Cut program and mix it all together.

Anyway… so, the video itself was made during the time I was in the process of moving, so I didn’t have time to put together anything as fancy as I would have liked.  Still, seeing as most of the videos in the contest thus far haven’t been that creative, I wanted to do a lil’ SOMETHING to make mine stand out.

So, I did what I will, from this point forward, call the “Obama Milli Remix” video archetype: I costumed myself out in 3 different ways, kept the camera still for 14 minutes, and recorded my vocals as three characters.  That way, when I edited the video, I would look like 3 different people all rapping in the same spot.

And the characters? Well, there’s “Tupac” me that’s all thugged out; Wildn’ Out me with the wild hair whose face you can barely see; and “Suave” me, with the nice suit on.

Then, of course, there was the prop of the video: the Trojan condoms! Since the contest is about them, I figured it would be a good idea to showcase them at various points in the video.  I had a Trojan Magnum box that I hadn’t thrown out for some reason (no, I’m not a hoarder!!) and a few condoms left, so I switched between them during the video.

All in all, this was a very fun project to work on, and the last music video I recorded in my old apartment 😦

Some Interesting Video Tidbits

1. I did 3 takes for each character. I also played back the song a heckavalotta times – the song is 1 minute 4 seconds long (per the contest rules, the videos/songs would only be judged on the first minute; the remaining 4 seconds is the fade out time) so that’s a LOT of replays back!

2. Because the contest rules said we couldn’t show any logos in the video, the Wildn’ out character’s sweatshirt – which was an American Eagle branded item – had to be turned inside-out.

3. I didn’t want to show too many close-ups of the condom box because it had been slightly bent, and had those wrinkly white lines in it on parts of the front.

4. And yes, those are MY condoms.  If I didn’t use them, there would have been no way I would have gone to the store and just bought them for a video project – condoms aren’t necessarily an expensive item, but if they’re not the kind u can use, spending money on them is not worth it.  Especially at places like CVS or Wal-greens where they charge almost $17 for a 12 pack – like, are you friggin’ KIDDING me?!? I can go to Food 4 Less and get the same box for $7, why the heck are you people charging me extra for some dang condoms?! —– Oops, sorry. I went on a rant there, didn’t I?

Welp, that’s all for now – oh yeah: voting begins on April 15. I don’t know if YouTube people or friends/family can vote, but if so, please vote for my video!! Thanks!

-A.P.T.

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