Category: aaron p. taylor


On Monday, Rihanna released a remix to her unfinished album track, “Birthday Cake,” featuring none other than her ex-boyfriend and abuser, Chris Brown.

Having heard about this collaboration, I couldn’t help but think of another female recording artist who also used to get beat up by her male collaborator. So, I decided to put together a little video imagining what that studio session might have been like…

I put it up on YouTube. 24 hours later, it was already at 1800 views. Then it got placed on www.WorldStarHipHop.com where, as of right now, it’s at 90,000 views and counting.

A good majority of people found the video to be hilarious (and how could they not – I basically just re-dubbed the scene in “What’s Love Got to Do With It” where Tina Turner gets slapped around in the studio by Ike). However, there have been a large amount of people that thought the video was not funny (my brother being one of those people, lol).

Specifically, they said it was “dark,” “disturbing,” and “wrong.” They also thought it was something that shouldn’t be joked about. To all those people, I say…

WELL, DUH!

Of COURSE this video is dark, disturbing and wrong – but that’s the POINT of the video!

Look, people: it’s been 3 years since Rihanna got beat up by Chris Brown. Since that time many people in the public eye have been able to forgive Chris for what he did and listen to his music again, and that’s fine. I know God teaches forgiveness, and the man shouldn’t have to be chastised for the event everywhere he goes.

BUT…

What I’ve had a problem with is OTHER people treating the incident as a less-than-serious event.  The majority of people who have made comments about not liking my video have been Chris Brown fans. These are the same fans who, in the last couple of weeks, have placed comments on CB sites saying things like “Chris Brown is so fine, he can beat my ass up anytime!” or “Beat me up, Chris, I love you!”

To me, these types of comments aren’t funny. Even LESS funny is that the victim of his abuse, Rihanna, has also started treating that incident as a “non-event.”  She could’ve dang near died at his hands in the car that night – but, lo and behold, 3 years later and there she is in pics with him again, hugging up lookin’ all cozy, while flipping off the camera in photos as if to say, “Yeah, I know y’all don’t think I should be around him, but F–K YOU!”

What she fails to see, perhaps as the result of being too love-struck to care, is that abuse is based on a pattern of events. Once those patterned events start happening again (i.e. small arguments, then small fights, then big fights, etc.), it won’t be hard for an incident such as the one in the above video come to fruition.

Anyway… that’s why I made the video: it’s more or less a humorous (or “not-so-humorous” depending on your view) warning to her about what COULD happen if she keeps acting like Chris won’t try to hurt her again. He may not, but why take the risk?

– A.P.T.

P.S. Oh yeah – someone on my YouTube page made the comment that “domestic violence isn’t funny.” They’re right, it’s not. But situational irony is. This is more or less playing out like the Ike & Tina story, which everyone knows about. The fact that Rihanna knows that story yet doesn’t feel the need to learn from it is pretty funny (and sad) to me. Blame it on my years of watching “South Park,” LoL.

 

Today’s music/video insight is for the song “Words With Friends,” produced by ME!

FREE Download – Click HERE

INSIGHT INTO A SONG:

During the week when I’m not working on a project, I’m usually playing “Words With Friends” on Facebook.  I play it so much that I figured it would be worth me making a song about.

Writing the song itself fun; making the beat for it, though, was a chore. I wanted to use sound effects from the game to make the beat, but couldn’t find them available for download anywhere online. So, I had to go through the daunting task of playing the game against myself and recording the sounds as they came up.

The main sound in the song – which you first hear when the song opens up – was the last one I tried to get. I heard the sound once while playing, then couldn’t seem to get it to pop back up when I wanted to record it. I didn’t figure out until late in the process that I could get the sound by simply starting a game then resigning. Go figure.

Anyway… so, aside from the base drum and clap sound, every other sound – from the tapping to the bubbling up tile regeneration sound – are from the game.  Once I got the beat, it was just a matter of figuring out what I wanted to talk about specifically in reference to how I play the game.

I’ve gotten into the habit now of taking more time when editing my songs. I’ll write a complete song, then sit on it for a minute and see if I can go back and take out things that were just okay to make room for something better. With that said, I re-wrote parts of this song quite a few times just to make sure I had a song that was funny and getting my point across (about just how much I like/play this game).

Some Interesting Song Tidbits:

1. I wrote this song at the very end of the week. How can you tell? The last line of the song has a mention to Don Cornelius’ passing. I won’t spoil it for you by telling you what the line is…

INSIGHT INTO A VIDEO:

I didn’t have much time to really create the video I wanted to create, especially since I had shot another video that week (for my “Rack City” parody, “Black President”) and didn’t really want to edit together another video involving a plot.

That’s why the majority of this video is just me standing in my room rapping the song, with the occasional shot here and there of different things happening. As I have discovered time and time again, though, even the most simplistic of videos take a while to edit. Between the 1-shot take of me rapping the song and the various pics used, I still put in a good 5 or 6 hours completing this video. Eh, go figure.

Anyway… that’s all for this week’s video. Check it out and enjoy!

-A.P.T.

Today’s music insight is for my new video “Black President,” a parody of Tyga’s “Rack City.”

DOWNLOAD NOW: iTunes or Soundcloud

INSIGHT INTO A SONG:

In 2008… geez, how many times have I told this story on this site?? Look, just click on the “Obama Milli Remix” link at the top of the page for the full story.

Anyway, the “Obama Milli Remix” song was a huge success. Back then, I knew there’d be an election coming up in 4 years, which would mean Obama would be running for re-election.  I didn’t know if I’d be making any more Obama-related parodies… okay, let’s be real: I knew I’d make some more – heck, I made a decent amount of money off the sales from the first song I did – but I didn’t want to make songs that would feel forced.

Fast-forward to January 2012. New year, new songs out that are banging. Right now one of the more popular rap songs out is Tyga’s “Rack City,” a song with an infectious-yet-simple beat and a chorus that is instantly singable.  I’ve had some beef with Tyga for a while now – mostly ’cause he took the remade “A Milli” beat I made with my voice singing “O-bama O-bama” on it and made his own Obama song without my permission OR recognition – but just ’cause I don’t like him personally doesn’t mean I can’t admit when he makes a good song.

So, while I didn’t want the parody I made to be with one of his songs… well, it’s in the top 10 on Billboard and it’s catchy, so I did it anyway!

Plus, the song just came to me so easily. I was walkin’ around singing the “Rack City” part of the chorus, and just started singing “Black President, Black – Black President.” It fit so well, and I knew at that point I had a song.

It’s a short song – only 2 minutes and 37 seconds long – so I didn’t have to write too much. With the previous song I had to think up 3 verses worth of material dealing with him running for office; this one was easier because all I had to do was pull from various things he’s gone through as President, in only 2 verses. The rhyme pattern on this one was also much, MUCH simpler than the one for “A Milli” was; with the latter I had to practice non-stop to get it, whereas this one has more of a straight flow to it.

Despite the easiness of writing the song, recording it was a biznich.  I’m much more particular these days about how my songs sound when I record them, so I’m always critiquing my recordings for little mistakes here and there. I didn’t want to double-up my voice on the verses or make it sound like there were any pauses in recording, which meant I had to do the main recording line of the song in one take. The main problem ended up being with my microphone – specifically, it’s so powerful that it can pick up little noises, including the humming sound coming from my laptop motor.  It took me forever to figure out how to create a sound barrier that would significantly lessen the sound coming from it. (Note: I still need to buy a longer reach for my microphone and build a full-on soundproof box to place it in for when I record.)

Once I finally got it right, I turned up the automatic tuning on my voice (to make it sound somewhat auto-tuned) and voila! Song complete!

Some Interesting Song Tidbits:

1. A few lines in the song got changed last minute. For example, I had the line: “Two kids, heck no he ain’t celibate” to match the line in Tyga’s song: “F–kin’ all night, n!@@a we ain’t celibate.” It got changed to me rapping about how Michelle Obama could “Knock your lights out, you don’t wanna take a hit (Pow!)”. I changed it mostly ’cause the first line I had written sounded awkward.  I also did a major retooling of the last 4 lines of verse two – originally I had the lines: “Oh, man, what do I do? Killed Osama and we still not cool…” etc. However, I’m a stickler with trying to rhyme as many of the words with words that were in the original song, and “do” and “cool” don’t rhyme with “racks” and “bad”.

2. The lines in the song about Obama visiting Roscoe’s chicken and waffles was a last-minute addition. I already knew I wanted to mention the Al Green thing where he sang some verses at Apollo theater, and was trying to fit it in in the place where the Roscoe’s part now is.  It ended up working better the other way around.

INSIGHT INTO A VIDEO SHOOT

Once I finished writing the song, I began envisioning how I wanted to shoot the video. My first thoughts always go to green screen; however, at the moment I don’t have it set up and didn’t feel like waiting. Plus, I noticed that most of my videos have a bunch of stand still shots in them where the camera isn’t moving – in part, because I don’t often have someone else who can hold the camera for me.

So, I placed up a Facebook status saying I would pay someone $25 to follow me around with a camera. Lo and behold, my friend Sasha – who’s shot videos for and with me before (see: “Big Moochin’ Fella,” “Teach Me How to Snuggie”) – hit me up and said she was down to shoot!

We only went two places, but were able to get a lot of good shots. The first was Fox Hills mall; we shot in two parking lots, and in front of a J.C. Penny’s wall. The second was Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles – not the one Obama actually went to, but a new one that just opened near my apartment (I’m all for saving gas money and not going too far to shoot stuff if possible). I wanted a shot of me eating the chicken and waffles, so we went there and actually ordered some food just so I could get it filmed.

Once I got the filmed shots I needed, i went home and downloaded various Obama news and/or event clips off YouTube to add to my video. A couple of days later, and the video was done – and came out hilarious!

Some Interesting Video Shoot Tidbits:

1. The one thing I forgot to research prior to going to Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles was what President Obama ordered when he went there. Sasha suggested I get the “Succulent Breast and Waffle” (that’s what it says on the menu, lol); I was leaning towards getting some dark meat. I decided to get the #9, i.e. 3 wings and a waffle. When I got home, I researched it and discovered that the President had ordered the EXACT SAME THING when he was there!! What are the odds?!?

2. I like dancing in my videos because… well, I won’t be able to dance like I do now forever, so it’s nice to have it documented 🙂

3. The girl walking in front of me that I try to “dance” with is Sasha. Her cameo was an improved idea by me while I was in the midst of my dance sequence. She’s also the fist responsible for punching me in the face.

4. At the end of the video, you see me on camera with a Hampton University T-shirt. This is my alma mater. More importantly, though, during the last campaign I had hoped they would hit me up and ask me to perform “Obama Milli Remix,”  but I hadn’t worn anything in the video that indicated I went to the school! So, for this year, whenever I do an Obama-related song, I’ll have the HU paraphernalia on somewhere in it. Hopefully they’ll reach out to me this time!

And that’s it! Watch the video, download the song, and share it with your friends today!

– A.P.T.

When I started this project, I didn’t know what direction the songs were going to go in.  I try to keep my songs upbeat and vibrant, but since this series is called “Rapping My Life,” there’s always a chance I’ll end up making a song about a serious event going on in my life.

And so it is with this week. There was SO much stuff that went on with me this week that I could’ve made a song about. I decided on a topic early in the week and recorded it, then shot the video for it Thursday morning. I was all set to go with the song – an upbeat jam about… well, more on that later – and was starting to edit the video…

But then… I had gotten a call from my best friend about 2 days prior, telling me his Mom was in the hospital and it wasn’t looking good.  I checked my Facebook on Thursday, and sure enough, his Mom had passed away.

Once I found out the news… I still wanted to put out the other song I had recorded, but now it just didn’t feel right. I felt like I needed to say something to my friend about this occurrence, and I do that best in song form.

So, I wrote this song instead, “Angel Wings,” in the hopes of bringing him some comfort. It’s a FREE download, which you can get HERE.

Check out the video below:

-A.P.T.

Today’s video insight is for the song “Christmas in Paris,” a parody of Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “Ni@@as in Paris!”

Download from any of the following:

iTunes – click HERE
Amazon – click HERE
Soundclick – click HERE
Zippyshare – click HERE

INSIGHT INTO A SONG:

When I first heard Jay-Z and Kanye’s “Watch the Throne” album, the 3rd track, “N!@@as in Paris,” was the one that caught my attention. Apparently, everyone else felt the same way: since the album’s release, the song has hit number 8 on Billboard (and rising); almost everyone and their grandma has released their own remix of it on YouTube; and, when I went to their concert this past Sunday, the duo performed it SEVEN TIMES (and NINE times last night according to my friend), and the crowd never seemed to tire from hearing it.

Very few songs come along where just about EVERYONE who hears it likes it, and where it’s so infectious it can be played hundreds of times and keep you hyped up each time.  This is one of those songs. And when these types of songs come along… well, I know that means it’s my job to make a parody of it!!

Aside from that, I wanted to release a song specifically meant for the holidays.  I haven’t released a Christmas song before, but they’re always good to have available for sale in November/December since those types of tunes are being bought.

So, I decided to make my parody version of “Paris” about something Christmas-related.  I went with the angle of me being a Santa Claus that’s explaining to bad kids why they’re not getting gifts from me this year.  It’s almost like an anti-Christmas song in the sense that Ol’ St. Nick isn’t being his jolly self, but rather a person tired of bad kids asking him to look past their misdeeds all year just so they can get a gift.

Writing the song was surprisingly easy – I think it only took about 20 minutes or so.  Once I found the beat(s) on YouTube, I downloaded them and began recording.

As part of the write-up for the song, I wanted to use my regular voice, as well as a kid’s voice for the parts where I have a kid begging Santa for gifts.  The only real kid voice I have is the one that sounds similar to the voice I use for my puppet character, Non Juan, so I decided to go full out and use him in the song… which would then also give me an excuse to use him in the video.  Smart thinkin’, right?

Some Interesting Song Tidbits:

1. The original version of “Paris” has 2 beats – one used for most of the song, and one used for the breakdown. I couldn’t seem to find a version of the beat produced by one person that had both beats that sounded good, so I split it up. The main song beat was produced by YouTube user juan777ish; the latter beat was produced by YouTube user GeneralsBeats.

2. The line “No gifts for your muffin…” is a secret shout-out to one of my cousins who calls me that all that time. Still makes sense for use in the song, though…

3. The “Ho Ho Ho Ho” at the end is an ad-lib.  After Non Juan’s scream, I wasn’t going to have any more vocals, but just said it to see how it sounded. I liked it, so I kept it.

INSIGHT INTO A VIDEO SHOOT

I had so many ambitious ideas for this video, to the point that it almost stalled me from making it.

At first, I wanted to get actual kids to use in the video instead of Non Juan (my bro thought it might make the vid turn out better).  Of course, that means having to schedule kids, get the parent’s permission for dates and times, hoping they can do a take right, making them listen to the part of the song you want them to lip sync and hoping they get it… quite the hassle.

Then, I was thinking I wanted to film it outside in front of a decorated house… but that would mean having to ask the person who lived there if I could use the front of their yard, and possibly having to pay them. Plus, I’d have to get someone to film me since I don’t have a camera stand…

At some point, I had to stop and think back to when I was making videos in Atlanta. No help, no budget, nothing but a camera, a silly idea, and time on my hands.  Best of all, it was SIMPLE. I didn’t have to consult with anybody about what would be a good idea, I just went by my instincts.

So, that’s what I did this time around: kept it simple.  I’d just decorated the apartment with a Christmas tree and some stockings, and had access to a chair that looked like something Santa would sit in.  In lieu of an official camera light kit, I used my roommate’s highly-lit 3-pronged lamp (which uses the same bulbs as most camera light kits anyway) and placed it in front of me.  Then, I set up a table chair across from where I’d be sitting and used it to prop up my Flip Ultra HD camera.

Yeah, like I said, back to basics, people!

As for the Santa costume… turns out, renting a Santa costume cost about $70 that I didn’t want to spend.  However, going to Target and getting a Santa hat ($4), some fake cotton snow to use for a beard ($3.59) and a green shirt with Santa’s face on it that says “Don’t Stop Believin'” ($9) was MUCH more cost-effective (yet still more than I spend on most of my videos).

I put the costume on, sat in the chair, and filmed the video.  I did a few shots by myself (one with sunglasses on) and a few with Non Juan in my lap as the kid. Then, I moved the placement of the Christmas tree, stood in front of the wall next to it, and did some more shots of me performing the song and/or dancing to it.  Really, really simple shoot, about 5 or 6 takes in all.

Some Interesting Video Shoot Tidbits:

1. To keep the fake snow beard on,  I used scotch tape and tucked the top part of the beard into the hat.  Midway through the shots of me standing up and performing, the left side of my beard fell out of the hat, so I had to stop, re-tape and re-tuck, then go back to filming.

2. I have 2 Non Juan puppets; the one I used for this shoot has a hole in his back where my hand can go. However, I didn’t want that hole showing when I was spanking him; I had to hold him at an awkward angle so as not to show it.

3. The various footage of Santa Claus flying in his sleigh was found at www.iSpotSanta.com, a hilariously great website where people post up “footage” of Santa flying over different places.

4. The moving effects for the video at the part where the beat breaks down was found by accident. I wanted to use the earthquake effect to make things shake (thus making that part of the song and the beat seem powerful), but it wasn’t quite giving off the full effect I wanted.  I saw something in the editing bay that said “Quick Flash/Spin,” and when I tried it, I instantly KNEW it had to be used!

5. The “Mom” used in this video is my roommate, Danielle.  Ironically, the “infant” crying near the end of the video is her son (and my Godson).  He was making a fuss about something one day; with this song in mind, I ran to my room, grabbed my camera, and was able to film him just as his crying spell was ending.  (Oh, and then I comforted him. Yeah, had to add that in so I wouldn’t look like I cared more about filming than soothing a crying child :P)

6. Editing time for this video was… I can’t even count. It was longer than I thought it would take, especially given that I only used 5 or 6 takes. A lot of video editing is figuring out where to place things, how certain parts of the video should look, and it’s making these decisions that takes the longest. Actual editing was probably about 5 or 6 hours, but it felt a LOT longer.

And that’s it! Be sure to download the song, share the video with your friends, request it at radio… you know the dilly!

-A.P.T. (Prince of Parody)

My NEW album, “Organized Chaos,” drops on July 19, 2011!

When figuring out what songs I want to make for an album, one of the main things I do is figure out what song titles will draw people to want to get the album.  It’s a practice very few rap artists do today, and one of the many reasons why their albums don’t sell that well.

Look at an artist like Eminem.  All of his albums have one thing in common: they have a slew of song titles on them that intrigue people when they first see them.  Need a list? “I Just Don’t Give a F**k”; “W.T.P.”; “My Dad’s Gone Crazy;” “My 1st Single;” “Rainman;” “Bagpipes from Bagdad”… I could go on and on.

People are very stingy with their money these days, and only want to spend it on albums they feel will be of some entertainment value to them.  An album with interesting song titles is one way to to this.  It makes a person’s brain do two things:  (1) Go “Huh? What the heck is with this title??” and (2) Ponder what kind of things the artist could be talking about in the song.

For me, even if it’s an artist I don’t normally listen to, I may give their song a spin if the title of it sounds odd enough.  For this reason, I’ve made sure to pack my new album, “Organized Chaos,” with titles that are sure to, at the very least, make people want to download it.

A few examples of song titles on the album include: “I Used to be a Nice Guy, Now I’m an A$$hole;” “There’s a Hooker in My Bedroom;” “Pick Up Your Face;” and “Your Mama Is So Ugly.”

Wanna know what these songs are about? Only one way to find out – by GETTING MY ALBUM ON JULY 19!!!

-A.P.T.

Be on the look out for my NEW album, “Organized Chaos,” available July 19, 2011!

So check it out: I made a video of myself rapping Busta Rhymes’ part from “Look at Me Now” to prove to people that it’s not all that hard to do.  Check out the video below:

-A.P.T.

Greetings! First, here is the official album cover for my upcoming album, out July 19, 2011…


Pretty friggin’ sweet, ain’t it? Shout outs to the “No U Ain’t” crew – I took this pic during a photo shoot I helped them out with, and thought it would be the PERFECT photo to use for the cover of this album!

Other interesting tidbits for this album:

1. The majority of the beats on this album were made by uber-talented beat-maker from ATL, K.K.O.F. – he’s sent me a bunch of beats over the years, and I was somehow able to finally come up with a gang of songs for them. Any remaining production will be done by me – yes, I DO make beats, people!

2. There will only be 10 to 12 songs on here (plus possibly some skits).  I’d do more, but realistically I don’t feel like writing more songs than that. Plus, usually after 12 songs I start getting bored with an artists’ album, no matter how much I like them. (Exceptions include Eminem, Britney Spears, and Lil Wayne – the mixtape Weezy version.)

3. Most of the songs right now only have titles and concepts.  The only two finished songs at the moment are “Your Mama Is So Ugly” and “Ooh, I’m a Model.”  I’m also debating about whether or not to put my “No Love” parody, “No Glove” on here.

4. The album will be an eclectic mix of funny songs, serious songs, motivational songs, and songs that will get you movin’ on the dance floor – sometimes all at once!

5. If and when I do videos for this album, I want them to be SPECTACULAR. I plan on spending a gang of money on at least ONE of my songs (like around $1000) because I’ve always wanted to have a professionally-done music video.  Not that I haven’t gotten them to that level in the past, but I want other people to star in it, someone else to edit it… the WORKS. And the rest of them I’ll film myself 🙂

That’s pretty much it for now. I’ve still got a lot of writing and recording to do, and my creativity seems to be coming in spurts at odd times (I just finished writing a song for the album… at 2:30 A.M.), but everything should be complete by the release date, if not before.  Stay tuned!

-A.P.T.

Greetings, fans!

Okay, so after much thought, I’ve decided to release an album of new, ORIGINAL material, set to drop on July 19, 2011! Here are a few details I can share now:

1. The title of the album will be…

“ORGANIZED CHAOS”

The reason for the title? I like different styles of music, as well as different types of beats and sounds. I can do songs to almost all types of beats, yet they all come off as sounding like my own sound.

Another reason for the title is that I plan to show a wide array of flows on the album, as well as touch on different subjects ranging from serious to funny stuff.  Ultimately, it will be an eclectic album that is a fun listen, and one who’s differing styles will come together to create a piece of work that is seemingly unorganized in sound yet cohesively put together – thus, “Organized Chaos.”

Wow. Reading that back, it sounded kinda nerdy.  Eh, oh well!

2. MUSIC PRODUCTION

I have a bunch of beats lying around that I’ve been meaning to use for quite some time now.  Some of these are from friends and/or fans of mine who sent me beats, while others are beats I created a long time ago that I’m just now getting song ideas for.  All of the beats are bangin’ and, for the most part, are meant to give off a party-type vibe.

3. I’ve pushed out this release date farther that most albums I’ve put out – almost 3 months in advance – so that I can do better advertising for it.

In the past, I’ve had to rely solely on YouTube videos and the Internet to promo my stuff.  Now that I will be having regular transportation – I’m getting a car next month – I will be able to do the one area of promo I haven’t been able to do: PERFORM! Yes, now people will be able to hear/see me LIVE, and I can start building a better buzz for myself!

4. Lastly, this album will be available as both a FREE download and a purchasable album.

Why do both? I really just want people to hear my music.  If they want to pay for it, that’s great, but I figure the more people hear it, the more they’ll request it, and the more paying performance gigs I can get.  Plus, most musicians these days don’t really make money off their music (I mean, I do, but that’s beside the point); the majority is made off (a) touring, and (b) pimping out your song for use in movies and T.V..

Therefore, it’s better for me to offer my music for free NOW, so that if any of the songs catch on I can get paid mega bucks for its use later.

That’s all the details I’ve got now.  So far I’ve only recorded one song for the album – “Your Mama Is So Ugly” – but I’ve written plenty of songs and will have the next 3 months to record them.

New A.P.T. album, “Organized Chaos,” drops July 19, 2011! Be sure to get your copy!

-A.P.T.

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.