Category: Dancing


Another week, another video in the can…

Now that I’ve finished the video for another one of my “The O-Bama Mixtape” songs (“I’m Gonna Make It”), I am now in full promo mode for the album, and I couldn’t be happier.  I’m still mixing, mastering, recording and pasting together songs… but I’ve always been a last-minute person, so even though I’m doing all of this stuff within a week’s time, the album is going to be HOT when it’s done!

Okay, so since I’m not signed to a label, I have to do my own advertising and hype.  One of the ways I’m doing this is by making promo videos each day this week to give my fans insights into the album as well as my life.  It’s advertising 101, basically: the more people know about you, the more likely they are to buy what you’re selling.  Plus, I like the idea that I can talk about myself and people actually want to listen!

Here is the first video I made this morning:

Also, I’ve discovered that more people go to my MySpace page than this site to check up on me.  I like WordPress, but they don’t allow you to post up html code as easily for certain things like MySpace does.  For example, my “The O-Bama Mixtape” was downloaded onto Datpiff.com, where people can actually hear the mixtape before they download it.  I’d love to post it here, but all I’d be able to do is post a link to the site vs. the actual box containing the music on my page.  And, as you may know, people are lazy – they’d rather go to a site where everything is incorporated on it instead of having to click links to leave the site, then come back again.

With that said, I’m still keeping this site open, but I’ll be doing a lot more stuff on MySpace now.  I have over 600 friends there right now, and that number is growing rapidly everyday (thanks, in part, to a Friend Blaster program I have where I can send up to 400 friends request out each day).

That’s all for now – buy the album, “The A.P.T. LP,” Sunday, August 24th!

-A.P.T.

E-mail: aptsongs@hotmil.com

MySpace: www.myspace.com/notoriousapt

I got a REAL studio microphone!!

To be fair, I’ve had one for quite a while.  Back in December 2007 when I was in eBay selling mode, I bought a complete recording studio off Craig’s List from some guy who was about to move, and couldn’t hold it in storage anymore.  He was trying to sell it for $1200, but I talked him into selling it for $900.  I sold most of the set on eBay for a total of $1300, but remembered to keep a few things that I could use later on.  One of them was the professional headphone set that allows me to hear beats as they really should sound, and the other one was a condenser mic.

The mic itself was studio-ready, but the plug at the end of it was too big to fit into my laptop’s input hole.  And, since I’m having to figure all this recording device stuff out myself, I didn’t know how to connect it to my laptop.  So, it went unused and I used my H2 Zoom mic, purchased for $200 at a music store, as my primary recording device.

Fast-forward to a couple of weeks ago.  After I released “The O-Bama Mixtape,” I started telling people I was going to record an official A.P.T. album to sell.  People started writing me, saying they were actually looking forward to purchasing the album… at which point, I said to myself: “I have GOT to make this thing sound good!!  I need to figure out how to work this studio mic!”

Luckily, one of my friends that I went to Hampton University with is also a musician.  His name is D.T., and he was recording stuff way before I thought about it.  So, I asked him how he managed to connect his mic to his laptop, and I finally figured out the big mystery: an interface!  If you’re like I was 2 weeks ago and have no idea what that is, an interface is a device that acts as a connector between a studio mic with a big plug at the end, and a laptop.  The interface can be used to plug the mic in, and there’s a USB cord that connect the interface to the laptop, thus allowing the sound from the microphone to come through.

I’m so mad that I didn’t find this out sooner!! It makes me want to go back and re-record my entire mixtape!!

But eh, that won’t be happening – I’ll consider it a relic of days gone by when I didn’t know about how all this fancy recording stuff worked.  However, I AM happy that I figured this out before I started recording my album.  I tried to start recording it yesterday with my H2 Zoom mic, but somehow… well… it’s just that, since I’m charging people for the album, I want them to get their money’s worth.  The H2 Zoom was okay to use for a FREE album, but for something like this, I need to sound more professional, and my words need to be able to be heard with no problem.  Plus, some of the beats I’m using sound BIG, and I need to be on par with them!

As for this week’s video, I’m going to do one more song off “The O-Bama Mixtape.”  I know which one I want to do, but there are others on there that I think would make for good videos, too.  I may do them in the future; right now, it’s between one of two songs – then again, I might do one of those “double” videos, where the artist injects a snippet from one song before going into the “real” video for the other one.  I dunno – we’ll see come Sunday!

That’s it for me – only 10 more days until “The A.P.T. LP” drops!

-A.P.T.

E-mail: aptsongs@hotmail.com
MySpace: www.myspace.com/notoriousapt

Join the facebook group, “Help APT Get a Record Deal… JOIN THIS GROUP + INVITE FRIENDS!” at: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=20572244931

Become a friend on my MySpace page at: www.myspace.com/notoriousapt!

Check out all my music videos on my YouTube page: www.youtube.com/aptistheman!

“The O-Bama Mixtape” is out NOW – FREE Download here: https://aptsongs.wordpress.com/merchandise-ringtones-and-more/

“The A.P.T. LP” – Available HERE on Sunday, August 24th!

– – – –

Okay, so now that I’ve gotten THAT out the way… hi, how are you doin’?

As you can see from above, I’m in full advertisement mode right now.  I have an album coming out on Sunday, August 24, called “The A.P.T. LP,” and, since I’d like to make money off the album (only 5.99 for the download version, 7.99 for a CD), I figured it might be beneficial to tell people where they can see my songs and join my fan sites.

It’s still a bit weird to me that people actually want to buy an album from me.  I’m already getting messages from people telling me they can’t wait until August 24th to buy it, which is just fantastic!  Between YouTube, facebook, MySpace, and this site, plus the thousands of people who have downloaded songs and/or mixtapes from me, I figure that even if only 10% of those people decide to make an album purchase, I should, at the very, very least, be able to make back the money I’ve spent on this album.

Oh, what? You thought I was just going to put together a bunch of crappy beats and just spit whatever garbage first came to my mind? HA!

Oh man, you’d be SO wrong!  For starters, I’ve actually PAID for a few of my beats.  Yes, I think my beats are pretty good, but I want a full sound for my album, and there are a lot of talented unknown producers out there that, in my opinion, make better beats than some established beat-makers.  Because I leased the beats they were relatively inexpensive, but sound sooooooo good! 

On top of that, I’m considering getting an interface for my laptop so I can use my studio mic.  Up until now I’ve been using an H2 Zoom mic, which, in my opinion, is okay, but it’s not as studio-quality sounding as a studio mic.  Unfortunately, the jack for a “real” mic is bigger than the plug in my laptop, so an interface will allow me to connect the two.  Then again, if it cost too much I might not get it – after all, “Obama Obama” became a hit, and I recorded that on the mic I have now. Plus, the song wasn’t even mastered!

Which reminds me: the songs on this album WILL BE MASTERED.  My man Rhymestyle, who I did a podcast interview with (to be posted soon) agreed to master my songs for me.  I had no idea what difference that made until he sent me a copy of “Obama, Obama” mastered. Man, oh man, did that song sound even BETTER – it sounded like my voice was actually IN the song, instead of just pasted on top of it.  Also, a guy named Aaron Thompkins has agreed to do my album cover!  He’s the same guy that did my “Obama, Obama” mixtape.  His artwork is good, people, and I plan to use his cover to advertize for the album as well, because he definitely deserves to get some shine for his work!

Lastly, there’s the advertizing!  As a musician, there are two parts to selling an album: selling the album itself, and selling yourself to people so they’ll “know” you and want to buy your stuff.  To that end, I’ll be recording a few YouTube “commercials” for the album – footage of me recording, small snippets of songs, stuff like that.  I’ll also be doing some “get to know A.P.T.” video spots where I talk about my upbringing, my intro to music, and other things people might want to know about me.

All this, and I still have videos to do!  I have some pretty big ideas for some of the songs on the album… of course, if I’m getting the same amount of help that I am right now, I’ll probably have to shrink some of those ideas down… but some of the songs on this album are going to be so HUGELY popular, I might not even need a big-idea video to sell them.  You might be thinking, “yeah, A.P.T., EVERY ARTISTS says they have that one big hit that’s gonna be huge.”

Um… have you HEARD some of the stuff I’ve released so far?  Just among the freebies, “Obama, Obama” was HUGE, “The Nigger Song” was HUGE, “Kick Bush” is shaping up to be HUGE, and “The O-Bama Mixtape” has been downloaded 775 times as of this typing.  I have a LOT of confidence in some of the songs on here, and I’m going to take them to clubs around ATL, get them played, and watch them get more and more popular.

And if that sounds cocky… well, good!  You gotta be self-confident about yourself to make it in anything, especially the music biz!

Aight, that’s all you get from me for now – in the meantime, get “The O-Bama Mixtape” if you haven’t already, and get “The A.P.T. LP” when it comes out August 24th!

-A.P.T.

P.S. Incidentally, I mentioned “The A.P.T. LP”, coming out August 24th, about 5 times now. They say a person has to see something 4 or 5 times before they consider buying it.  Just doin’ my job, people!

Untapped Potential

This is one of those rare blogs on this site… that isn’t about me.  It’s about YOU.

Now that I’m 26, I’ve noticed a disturbing trend: people around my age start living in the world of “reality.”  It’s the world of 9-to-5 jobs that are unsatisfying, marriages that aren’t all that happy, and sad lives slowly wasting away as the dreams people once had become nothing more than unfulfilled fantasies that they no longer try to go after.

It’s all very, very depressing to me.

I was a theater major while at Hampton University, and all my fellow thespians had the same dream: to become famous and make it big in some aspect of the entertainment field (theater, movies, commercials, music, etc.).  That was back in 2000 when we were all freshman with idealized thoughts about how easy it would be for us to land parts on stage or in film.

Fast-forward 8 years later, and many of those same people are not doing anything involving entertainment.  Instead of becoming that great actress, they’ve settled for being a teacher (and, as I always say, those that don’t know, teach!).  Instead of traveling the world, they’ve become young parents who use raising their children as an excuse to not pursue their own dreams.  Instead of being a touring musician, they’ve put all their musical instruments into the attic, and replaced them with a tie, a briefcase, and 8 hours-a-day of pure torture.

If only these people hadn’t given up so fast!  Many of my peers had such potential when I saw them in plays, or doing dance routines or music sessions, that it just sucks to see that they’ve fallen into the trap that so many people fall into: the “That dream I had can’t possibly come true” trap that is detrimental to their own beings.

People don’t realize how much God will help them out if they only keep going at it.  They don’t like to wait for results; they figure, if they can’t achieve their dream within the first few tries, they might as well throw in the towel and forget what they really wanted to do in exchange for a “secure” job.  Have you SEEN the job market today?  Companies are downsizing employees left and right – you’d have a better shot at so-called “security” by taking your talent and marketing it the right way than to sit at your job praying you don’t get fired!

But hey, if you don’t believe you can do it, just look at me.  A few months ago I was a guy who wanted to get his music out there.  A few years ago, I was running around Philly and Richmond, taking my demo to radio stations and asking them to play just ONE of my songs on the air, even if only for a quick second or during one of their 2 AM “nobody’s up listening to us” shows. 

Now, I’ve got an international hit playing on radio.  INTERNATIONAL.  I have a song that’s playing on BBC radio in the U.K., and nightclubs in Germany.  My classmates back at Hampton University would have never thought that was even possible.  I never knew if it would happen either, but I always had the dream of getting at least ONE of my songs on at least ONE radio station – which goes to prove my other point: if you follow your dream, you never know how big that dream will get realized. 

But you’ll never even get a small taste of success if you listen to everybody who says you can’t do it, or decide to doubt yourself and follow what everyone else is doing simply because it seems “normal.”  Normal isn’t always a good thing; in fact, oftentimes it’s BORING, non-challenging, and will keep you in a rut.  So, if you have a talent, and you think you could make a living doing that talent, STOP WASTING TIME NOT BELIEVING IN YOURSELF AND GO DO IT.

This message has been brought to you, in part, by “The A.P.T. LP” – Coming Sunday, August 24.  Yes, I’m advertising here, because I have an ALBUM coming out that people want to actually BUY.  See what dreaming big can do for you?

-A.P.T.

E-mail: aptsongs@hotmail.com

MySpace: www.myspace.com/notoriousapt

Another week, another video in the can.

So far, the response to “Kick Bush” is pretty much what I expected – in the first 24 hours, the video’s already been viewed 649 times.  All of my parody songs tend to do pretty good. If I had the money to afford the publishing rights to sell those songs, I’d probably make a CD with half parodies and half real songs a la “Weird Al.”

Luckily, my “real” songs are pretty popular, too.  I made it a point to do as many song on my “The O-Bama Mixtape” where I wasn’t doing a parody so that people would get used to hearing me rap in my regular voice, with original topics, and the response to those songs has been quite phenomenal as well. 

Of course, all of these things – videos, mixtapes, websites – are basically lead-ups to the main event: my official album, which is now officially known as…

 “The A.P.T. LP!”

I was originally going to use another name, but I didn’t want to tell people for fear the idea would get stolen.  When I started talking about it on some of my youtube videos, I would always say, “the official A.P.T. album will be out Sunday, August 24!”  I kept calling it “The A.P.T. Album” so much that it started to sound like a good idea for me to use my name in the album’s title.  That way, when people are driving in the car with their friends asking, “man, this guy is good!  What CD is this??”, they can say, “It’s the A.P.T. LP, by A.P.T.!”

Smart, right?  I figure if it worked for Marshall Mathers (see: “The Slim Shady LP,” “The Marshal Mathers LP,” and “The Eminem Show”), it should work for me, too.

In creating this project, I want to make an album that is both classic and timeless.  A lot of rappers today don’t know how to make a timeless LP – and I’m not just talking about so-called “bubblegum” rappers either.  A lot of well-respected rappers (see: The Game, Eminem) have songs on their albums that keep them from being timeless.  This doesn’t mean their LPs aren’t good, it just means they throw stuff into them that aren’t relatable to people 8 to 10 years after they are first recorded.

For example: On Eminem’s song, “The Real Slim Shady,” he insulted N*Sync (no longer a group); in “I’m Back,” he gives props to Puff Daddy (now called Diddy) about dating Jennifer Lopez (now married to Mark Anthony).  Meanwhile, The Game spent 3/4 of his entire first album giving props to G-Unit (no longer part of the group), shouting out Aftermath (no longer works with them) and giving props over and over again to Dr. Dre (no longer works with him). 

Creating a classic LP means creating a work that can be heard years down the line and still seem relevant.  This is why people like Notorious BIG and Michael Jackson are still having their songs bumped by DJs at parties for the current generation of kids – the majority of their songs had timeless elements in them.

As for me, I may not be the world’s best rapper (yet – I’m always working towards it, though!), I DO know how to make songs with good concepts, catchy hooks, and, most importantly, timeless elements.  Outside of my parodies and political songs, the majority of my tunes steer clear of using elements that would quickly make the song become dated.  A few examples:

  • I don’t use figureheads’ names.  If I want to mention something wrong the government has done, I might say something like “the government messed up again” vs. “George Bush messed up again.”  Why? ‘Cause when George is no longer around, the effect of using that reference wanes.
  • I don’t shout out my record label.  Yes, me and my brother have a name for a record label, but I don’t feel the need to mention it in song because no one will know what it is should we decide to do something else and drop the label name.  Think back to all those records screaming out “No Limit” back in the day – Master P has a whole new label name now, which makes that reference irrelevant!
  • Rarely do I product place.  Why mention an iPhone in a song when it might not even be around 5 or 6 years from now?  Why mention the latest car when it will be out of date as soon as the next model hits the stores??

So what do I talk about instead?  Experiences that have been around since the beginning of time: trying to make it, the trapping that occur once you do make it, poverty, struggle, partying, sex, women, dating issues, stupidity of government… the list is endless, but they all have one thing in common: they will always be round, and each generation deals with the same issues, albeit in different ways.

Most of the songs on the album will be this way (except for “The Nigger Song” – hopefully the word “nigger” will become irrelevant one day!), and it’s going to be BANGIN’!!  I’m using some of my own beats, but I’ve also bought a few beats that I really, REALLY like, and are meant to blasts out people’s speakers!!  I got party joints (as only A.P.T. can do them – take a listen to “Shout Out 2 My Big Girl” to see what I’m talking about), as well as the usual introspective tracks, lyrical tracks…

Aww, listen to me trying to hype up my album!  I never thought I’d be doing that!  It’s really hard for me to describe just how good the album is without delving into every track, which I’ll do once it’s released.  So, for now, just know that the album is HOT, and you won’t be disappointed!

Plus, I also plan to (a) have a page where people can listen to snippets of all the songs before they decide to purchase, and (b) make videos for most of, if not all, the tracks on the album.  I figure that should help sales a bit – nothing like knowing how what you’re going to buy sounds before you make the purchase!

That’s all for right now – stay tuned for more info as it develops!

-A.P.T.

E-mail: aptsongs@hotmail.com

MySpace: www.myspace.com/notoriousapt

Help a brotha get his music career started – SEND A DONATION! Click HERE for more info!

This week’s song/music video is for “Kick Bush” (Lupe Fiasco “Kick Push” Re-make)

INSIGHT INTO A SONG:

I wrote this song two years ago, around the time Chicago-based rapper Lupe Fiasco dropped his first single, the oh-so infectious skateboarder’s anthem, “Kick Push.” Whenever I hear a song I really like, it becomes inevitible that I’ll start freestyling something to the beat and/or re-creating the song to my own version.

For this one, replacing “Push” with “Bush” was a no-brainer. Having the word “Kick” in front of it was also approriate, as most people are so angry with President Bush’s performance in the White House that the feeling of shoving a boot in his arse is universal.

To write the song, I decided to focus on his two major screw-ups while in office. The first verse mentions the tragedy that struck the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001, and Bush’s botching of the situationg – not only by delaying his reaction to initially hearing about the incident, but also somehow managing to get us into a war with Iraq, despite the fact that it was people from Afganistan who attacked us.

The second verse talks about Bush’s mishandling of the Hurricane Katrina situation. Louisiana and Mississippi were both struck by this high-category storm in 2005, and the goverment’s response to it… well, let’s just say, they were able to get food to Iraqis halfway across the world faster than a state less than 3 hours away by plane. And while people were waiting to be saved in Louisiana, what was our President doing? Going to plays, judging mundane farm contest, and basically doing everything BUT touching down on the ground in those two states and connecting with the people.

Moron.

Anyway, my friend Michele was living down in New Orleans in 2006, and I went down there to (a) visit her, and (b) see the destruction first-hand. It had been about 11 months since the storm hit, and parts of the city looked like it had been hit the day before I went! That, combined with my viewing of Spike Lee’s Hurricane Katrina documentary on HBO, made me think up this song.

Some Interesting Song Tidbits:

1. This is what I consider a “re-make,” not a “parody.” Parodies are meant to be funny, and this one is not all that humorous. However, it does follow the cadance and flow used by Lupe Fiasco in “Kick Push,” so if the song should be funny to those familiar with the original song.

2. The voice of “Bush” in the song is me. I have to say this, because for some reason people think “A.P.T.” is a group, and when I do voices it only makes people think this more. I have NO help at the moment, people!

INSIGHT INTO THE VIDEO SHOOT:

So, the song was written and recorded two years ago. Why release it now?

I put it on “The O-Bama Mixtape” because I always thought it was a good song, and that people would enjoy listening to it (especially true hip-hop heads who LOVE Lupe Fiasco). At the same time, any songs with a major public figure have what I call “limited shelf life.” They are only relevant for as long as that public figure is, which means once that person goes away, so goes the popularity of the song.

In this case, the song calls for the President to be impeached and/or kicked out of office. However, since it’s an election year, Bush WILL, in fact, be out of office come January 20, 2009. Therefore, any songs I have where I talk about him have to be released prior to November, when our next President will be elected into the White House.

“The O-Bama Mixtape” was released 2 weeks ago. And guess what one of the more popular songs on the mixtape was? You guessed it – “Kick Bush!” The song has already been posted on numerous websites, and someone even attempted to make a re-remake of my song and post it on YouTube… but he hasn’t gotten many views for his because, quite frankly, it sucks. You can’t just MAKE a re-make or parody people; work and research has to go into it so it catches on!!

Since the song has already shown its popularity, I figured, “hey, why not make a music video for it?!”

Amazingly, I had the idea for this video for two weeks now. I’m basically stealing the idea from “Mr. Rodgers’ Neighborhood,” only it’s “Mr. Taylor’s Neighborhood.” I’m reading a book I just bought called “Kick Bush: Based on a True (But Sad) Story,” and – because it’s mostly a picture book – the majority of the video tells the story of the song via digital images. Very ingenious, and non-time consuming film-wise – it only took me about 35-40 minutes to film my part of it.

The longest parts of putting the video together was (a) finding the pictures to use, and (b) editing. I was on google and Yahoo for God know’s how long, looking for public domain pictures to use in the video. As for editing… let’s just say, having a PC program sucks monkey balls. I had to publish this friggin’ video FOUR times because there would be a glitch here or there that would pop up in the video after it was done publishing. Also, because I decided to put transitions from shot-to-shot in here, it bumped up the publishing time from 10 minutes to 28 minutes.

Yes, I sat around for TWO hours waiting for this thing to be published right, so people had beter enjoy it!!

Some Interesting Video Tidbits:

1. I did NOT film this in my apartment! My shower is broken at the moment, and maintenence has yet to fix it, so I have to use another apartment to shower in. This is the place I chose to film this video because my place was messy, and I wanted another place for people to look at besides my place all the time!!

2. I got the floor rocking chair from Target. Yes, it really DOES rock,, and is very comfortable!

3. The opening shot of the video is the front of my apartment complex.

4. I made the “book-cover” myself using a piece of paper and a red-and-green crayon. The book is actually a journal I used to write in from ages 15 to 18.

5. I filmed myself doing the song twice. The first time I filmed it, the back of the book was showing, but the paper only went to the half-way point of the back end. Since I wanted to give the illusion that this was a REAL book, I had to film it over and over again until I finally had the book at an angle to where the back wasn’t showing.

6. Estimated editing time: a LONG time. The editing was done by 1 PM, but the publishing took until 5 to get right. I need a MAC and a hired editor – this stuff is time-consuming!

That’s all for now – enjoy the video, and I’ll see you next Sunday!

-A.P.T.

E-mail: aptsongs@hotmail.com
MySpace: www.myspace.com/notoriousapt

So, should I be weary of people trying to offer me their services for free?

That’s the question I keep running into these days.  Since June, I’ve exposed my music to more and more people, and I’ve actually grown a fan-base of people that really, REALLY like my stuff.  Some of these fans have offered their services to me for free for various things – making my mixtape/album cover, starting fan sites, mixing my songs – and I couldn’t be more grateful for people wanting to help me out.

At the same time… there’s always this part of me that says you really can’t get something for free in this world, and that someone is always going to want SOMETHING in return, no matter how big or small. 

Part of this may be my upbringing.  My aunt wrote me recently and asked what these people would be getting out of helping me.  As kids, we’re usually taught that “you can’t get something for nothing,” and that people are always looking out for their best interest.  In short, we learn not to be trusting of people or their motives.

And, to be honest, I don’t know if the people trying to help me want a little bit of exposure for themselves by attaching themselves to my name, or if they really do just want to help a young musician with little money get his feet off the ground.  I know I’ve helped plenty of people in my past, and at times I did so without wanting nothing more in return than a “thank you.”  So, for me, it’s not completely out of my state of thinking to believe that a person really DOES just want to help me for helping’s sake.

At the same time… there’s still that part of me that’s like, “this offer is TOO good to be true – they have to want SOMETHING.” It’s akin to ordering a pizza, and telling the delivery man that, unfortunately, you only have enough to pay for the food and can’t give them a tip.  They might SAY, “oh, hey, it’s no problem, I’m just happy I got your pizza here while it was still warm,” yet you still think they’re thinking, “man, what a bum!  How DARE he not give me a little something for my time and effort!”

So.. we’ll see.  I figure if I’m getting monetary donations from people not wanting anything in return, it IS possible to get non-monetary help from people as well.

As for this week’s video – I don’t want to give too much away, except to say it’ll be one of the more popular cuts off my “The O-Bama Mixtape.”  How do I know it’s popular?  Because I haven’t even made a video for it, and it’s already been posted on other sites and/or remade (not as good as MY version, though)!  It will be a pretty easy shoot, as I’m mostly using pictures with filmed footage of me mixed in.

That’s all for now – see ya later!

-A.P.T.

E-mail: aptsongs@hotmail.com
MySpace: www.myspace.com/notoriousapt

Attention Colleges, Universities and More (especially in Atlanta):

Demand A.P.T. to perform in your city at your venue! Go to: www.eventful.com/apt and request a performance by ME – the more invites I get, the better chance you have of seeing me perform in your town!

DOWNLOAD “THE O-BAMA MIXTAPE” – Click HERE for the link!

Hey! If you like the mixtape… help a brotha get his music career started – SEND A DONATION! Click HERE for more info!

Today’s paperstyle is called “She Didn’t Want Me,” which uses Rick Ross’ “Here I Am” beat.

DOWNLOAD THIS PAPERSTYLE: A.P.T. Paperstyle #3 – She Didn’t Want Me

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Okay, so clearly, my “One-Song-a-Week” mantra is out the window! However, it’s already the brand name for this site, so I won’t change it.  Plus, I’m still only making one “official” video for a new song each Sunday, and I don’t think the fans will mind too much that I’m putting up more than one song on my site.  Hopefully it won’t affect how many views those new videos get!

With that said, I get bored in my apartment very easily, and am usually spending a good majority of my day freestyling off things in my head.  This happens a lot, and at times it happens when I’m near my laptop.  Some of these freestyles make for good album songs, while some are better used for short songs that you’d find on a mixtape. 

I wrote this song about an hour before I was supposed to go to a networking event with my friend last night.  I literally thought of the idea, started jotting down words, hooked up my mic, found the beat, recorded it, second-layer recorded it, mixed it, and finished the song in less than an hour! 

Because it was so fast, it felt like I recorded it like a “freestyle,” only I had written the idea on paper.  Therefore, I have officially created a term I am calling “paperstyle.”  Here is the official definition:

PAPERSTYLE (Pa-per-sti-ul): A freestyle verse that is immediately thought of and expressed via writing then recorded immediately.  First coined by A.P.T. on 8-05-2008.

Some of you may ask, “how does a paperstyle differ from other songs that are written down and recorded?”  The answer: most songs have a marinating period – the artist will write the song over a period of time, or with other collaborators, sit on it, come back to see if it needs editing, then record it, re-record it, and then mix and master the heck out of it until it sounds “right.”

With a paperstyle, the process is much, much quicker: the artist thinks of the song, writes it down immediately, records it, and puts the whole thing together in a very short time period (in the case of this song, the whole thing took less than an hour).  Much like recording a real freestyle, the mixing and mastering of it does not have to be perfect, but the quality of it should be equal to that of a freestyle or better, especially since it was written down!

This paperstyle, “She Didn’t Want Me,” tells a lil’ story about me trying to hit on this hot girl twice: once before I got famous, and after I got famous.  I’ll let the song tell the story for me!

Enjoy!  I’ll probably be doing these “paperstyles” on a regular basis, and might even throw in a few freestyles, too!

-A.P.T.

E-mail: aptsongs@hotmail.com
MySpace: www.myspace.com/notoriousapt

Another week, another video in the can!

It’s cool to do music videos, but it’s even cooler to have videos that go with songs on your album.  “The O-Bama Mixtape” was downloaded 411 times last week – not bad, considering I’m extremely new to most people – and I figure the best way to promote the album is to do videos for a few of the songs. I’ve already got next week’s video half-way done – it’s going to be a visual for one of the more popular songs off the mixtape – and I may do one more video before I start doing videos for the official album, dropping Sunday, August 24th.

Speaking of my album: aside from all the fun aspects of music – making songs, videos, etc. – one has to remember that it is called a music “business” for a reason.  People who are in the mode of creating often forget that there is a whole business side to this thing that includes publishing, royatly credits, becoming a member of ASCAP or BMI, legal things, copyrighting, and other important things that need to be handled prior to releasing music.

And there’s a LOT that a person needs to know.  For example, I finally found a legit website yesterday where I could sell ringtones and make a profit of $.50 per ringtone sold.  I thought all I would have to do was sign up, send in my songs and watch the money come in.  WRONG!

Instead, the website sent me a Licensing Agreement, a W-9 form for tax purposes, an overview of their program… clearly, this was more than I expected to have to do to sell a simple ringtone!

Then there’s figuring out how to sell your stuff, and at what price.  I already have a website I can use that will automatically send people the MP3 for the album as soon as they purchase it, and I’m also considering using CDbaby.com for people wanting a physical CD.  Because of this, though, I have to make sure that I (a) own all the instrumentals and elements of those instrumentals (i.e. no sampling) and (b) have the album done early enough to where I can send them the info and music prior to the release date (though I may just wait an extra week to see how well the non-physical album sells).

So, there’s a LOT of stuff I have to do to get ready for the album aside from just recording (the majority of which is done already).  I’m also pondering how many released songs vs. unreleased songs I should put on the album.  On the one hand, I don’t necessarily want people paying for songs they may have already downloaded for free; on the other hand, there are a few songs prior to “Obama, Obama” that didn’t get downloaded nearly as much (1385+ for “Obama Obama” vs. 20 for “It’s Over”). 

At the same time, I also have songs I released such as “The N!@@er Song” (107+ downloads) and “Back to the Future” (50+ downloads) that people don’t seem to mind paying for were it to be on an album.  Also, I wish I hadn’t advertised the price of the CD already to be 5.99 – I should sell it for 6.99 because I forgot that PayPal takes out fees for this stuff, which means I’ll probably end up with $4 per album instead of $5. 

Oh well – I’ll still make more off it than most signed artist do.  I just hope I can sell as much as they do so I can finally afford to tour, and head out on the road!

Okay, that’s all from me now – if you read the above, you know I got stuff to do!

-A.P.T.

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This week’s song/music video is for the song “I Just Want the Paper” featuring chorus vocals by The Notorious B.I.G. (Produced by ME!)

INSIGHT INTO A SONG:

Strap yourself in, get a good cup of coffee, a light snack, and a comfy place to sit – THIS one’s gonna be a looooong one…

The journey for this song starts back in 2005.  I graduated from college in May, and had been living at my uncle’s house in Lansdale, PA for 6 months.  During that time, my financial situation had gone from bad, to much worse, to the point where I could no longer afford to make payments on my Honda Civic, and had to change over to an older car donated to me by a family friend.  For reasons too long to type right now, I moved back down to Richmond in November of that year to live with my mom.

Then, believe it or not, things got even WORSE.  My car broke down, and the only job I could manage to find was as a window cleaner, which, due to my fear of heights (combined with the fact that it was wintertime, and I got VERY cold having to deal with water in 40-degree weather) lasted barely a week.

By January of 2006, I was feeling beaten down.  Here I was, a college graduate from a well-respected historically Black college, and I was back at home with no idea how to get myself out of my rut.  And I was depressed – not in a “oh my God, my life is so horrible I want to kill myself” type of way, but more in a “I should be doing more with my life than I am because I know I’m smart enough” type of way.

When I wasn’t searching around town for a job – eventually, I ended up working at a dinner theatre company in Richmond on weekends for $30 a day plus tips – I would be on my Mom’s computer making beats on the bootleg Fruity Loops program I’d bought off eBay.  I had been working on a beat where I placed Aaliyah’s vocals on top just to see what it would sound like.  The instrumental was upbeat, but it seemed too fast-paced for the Aaliyah sample I had chosen.

Eventually I ended up placing her vocals on another song (which has yet to be released, but will be once I become famous and can afford the cost for using said vocals), but had no idea what I would use the beat for.

Then, a wonderful thing happened: I started to make some money.  And not just from my job…

While at home one Sunday in January, I was looking in The Richmond Times-Dispatch’s auction section, and happen to come across an ad for a yard sale where the lady was selling everything in her house for $5 or less.  I hadn’t started getting paid at my job yet, and all I had on me was $12.  I borrowed my mom’s car and headed over to the sale, buying as much as I could with the money I had (which, given how low the prices were for these items, was actually a lot).

Once I returned home, I put all of the items up on eBay.  Lo and behold, the majority of the items sold for 3 times what I paid for them!

I proceeded to do the same thing each weekend for the next 8 months: I’d get up either Friday, Saturday, or Sunday morning (or sometimes all three), go to yard sales around town, buy stuff I thought would sell well on eBay, then go home and place them up for auction online.  Eventually, I ended up making enough money to buy a car for $500 and move down to Atlanta, along with the first two month’s rent to boot!

Anyway… around my second month of doing this, I became less and less depressed, and I realized why: even though I still didn’t have a car, and still lived in my Mom’s house, I was happier simply because I had some money in my pocket.  It may sound dumb, but just knowing that I was able to not have to rely so heavily on my mom to help me financially, and that I could contribute to the groceries and gas bills made me feel like I was on the right path towards being on my own.

BTW: Anyone who says having money won’t make them happy is LYING to themselves. I had next to no money, and I was definitely NOT happy about it.

It was also around this time that the 8th anniversary of the death of one of the most beloved rappers of all time would be coming up soon – namely, Christopher Wallace, better known as “The Notorious BIG.”  He died in March 1997, and I always had a dream of wanting to do a song with him.  So I figured, what better time than then to do a song with his vocals somewhere in the song?

I started tinkering around with some acapella Biggie vocals I found online, but couldn’t figure out which one I wanted to use.  Then, I got the acapella from his song “Dead Wrong” – most of the song is actually quite inapproriate, but I’ve always loved the song – and I found a part of the song I could use for the chorus:

“I don’t wanna rape ya/I just want the papa’/the visa, capicia?/I’m out like – the vapors!”

I was going to use the verse as originally said, but it dawned on me that talking about rape in a chorus might not catch on too well.  So, I decided to just have him say “I just want the papa'” twice in the beginning of the sentence.  Still sounded pretty catchy!

So, I was going to just use that, but I wanted the chorus to switch up a lil’ bit in the second half.  I found another song of his called “Everyday Struggle” where he says the line, “sittin’ back, countin’ double-digit thousand stacks,” and thought that would go perfect with the song!

Lastly, I figured I should add my own part to the chorus.  I decided I would take Biggie’s words literally when he said he “just” wanted paper, meaning all other things associated with it – “the cars, the clothes” – wouldn’t matter nearly as much as just having some money in my wallet.

From then on, the song just kind of developed by itself.  It took me a couple of months to get all the words down for the song, working on it bit by bit until it finally sounded right.  Why did it take so long?  Read on…

Some Interesting Song Tidbits:

1. This is one of the songs I made where about 75-80% was freestyled.  For some reason, I was able to think of the verses for the song in chunks, at different times, and memorize them.  The entire first verse was recorded off memory, and portions of the second and third verse were also mostly freestlyes that stuck in my brain.

2. The fourth line of the song uses a sample of Destiny’s Child’s “Soldier,” the part where they say “gotta carry big things, if you know what I mean…”  The “big” thing they are referring to is their man’s member endowment, and I thought it would be hilarious for me to put in the song.  (And, in case you’re wondering ladies… well, keep wondering!)

3. The line, “now my future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades” came to me when I was watching a VH-1 special of the top 100 1-Hit Wonders, and one of the songs mentioned was “The Future’s So Bright (I Gotta Wear Shades).  Ya never know where influence will hit ya!

4. Starting at the 3rd line of the second verse and ending at the 5th line, the flow used was copied from Nelly’s big hit “Grillz.”

5. My favorite lines in the song – “I’m tired of sitting there all day, simply just lay/ing around, with no chick to hold me down/ you can’t invite chicks – over your Mom’s house!” – was taken from a freestyle I did on a Mobb Deep beat prior to the recording of this song.  I figured, “hey, since no one will hear that freestyle, I might as well use that line!”

6. The line, “I’m fixin’ /to get with Vixens…” was written for a specific person.  At the time, this girl on MySpace whose screen-name was “Vixen” had been writing me in response to many of the blogs I’d been typing on my page.  She lived in Richmond, and we had gone out once or twice.  I was considering performing this song at an open mic night, and I asked her if she would like to see me perform.  She said yes, and, at the time, I thought it would be cool if I inserted that line into the song so that when I said it at the show she’d be impressed.  She ended up not showing up, though… I still performed the song that night, and liked the line so much that I kept it in the song.

7. The line used at the end of the first and third verses – “Damn, it feels good to live life like me” – was taken from a Tony Yayo song!  As under-appreciated as his album, “Thoughts of a Predicate Felon,” was, I was bumpin’ that CD HARD when it first came out, and he said this line in one of his songs.  The way he said it sounded so good, I was like, “Dang! I have GOT to say that in one of my songs!”

8. The beat was produced by me using my Fruity Loops program.  Aside from the Biggie and Destiny’s Child vocals, there are no samples in the beat.  Hire me, people!!

INSIGHT INTO A VIDEO SHOOT:

I shot the video in April of this year.  I had just gotten my hair cut after having grown it out for six months, and suddenly wanted to make a music video for one of my songs.

I hadn’t really gotten into the whole video-making mode yet, so I didn’t know all the video editing programs I had.  I had another one I was using, but it wouldn’t allow me to just load up a video and show it straight through – the program liked to dice up the footage instead and play it out of order.  For this reason, I decided to just shoot the video as a one-shot deal.

But I didn’t just want it to look like some boring ol’ video of me staring into the camera saying my song.  So, I figured if I moved around a lot and jiggled the camera, people would either get dizzy or think it was a cool effect – either way, they definitely would not be bored watching it!

Some Interesting Video Tidbits:

1. Prior to making this video, I had gone back to Richmond to… well, actually, I had driven up to DC to see a portrait of Stephen Colbert (of “The Colbert Report” fame) and drove through Richmond in the process.  I picked up some boxes of papers and magazines I had left in Richmond when I moved down to ATL. One of those magazines just happened to be a XXL Hip-Hop magazine with The Notorious B.I.G. on the cover.  When it came time to make this video, I wanted a visual representation of him on camera, and it just so happened that I now had the perfect way of doing that: by showingthe magazine pic during the chorus!!

2. This video was shot in my apartment.  I think I may have been sitting around and just suddenly decided to do a video, because my place is quite junky.  A slower-deciding version of me might have wanted to clean up first, but oh well!

3. I actually had this video posted on YouTube back in April.  However, I took it down yesterday and re-posted it because I had included a download link in the video for the song that stopped working 7 days after I posted it.  Of course, back in April, no one was trying to download any of my songs, so all the links to them went dead.  Clearly, it’s a different story now 🙂

4. Estimated editing time: less than an hour.  I think I need to do more one-shot videos!

That’s all for now – enjoy the song, available exclusively on “The O-Bama Mixtape” (for now).  See ya next Sunday!

-A.P.T.

E-mail: aptsongs@hotmail.com
MySpace: www.myspace.com/notoriousapt