Category: Hip-Hop


Ah yes, back to the old stomping grounds!

I haven’t blogged on this site since November of last year.  A lot has changed since then, but the one thing that’s been constant is this: I have not stopped making music!

I will be opening up a new site for my music soon – in the meantime, though, I figured it would be a good idea to post up some of the videos I’ve made between… well, between the last video I posted and the most recent one.  So, here goes!

Video #1: No Memories

Mini Song/Video Insight:

I found the beat online, and thought up a song about losing past loves.  As time goes on, sometimes the memories we have with a person we date fade, and I wanted to express that in song form.  I didn’t want to do an intricate video for it, so I just sat on my bed.  Actually, most of the videos I made after my big “One-Song-a-Week” video project were made kinda lazily.  I would record the songs and want to just post them up right away, so most of them were made with me sitting on my bed and pointing my MAC camera at myself.

Video #2: The Maia Campbell Song (Maia, We Love You!)

Mini Song/Video Insight:

Another video where I simply sat on my bed, mixed in with photos and video footage of Maia Campbell (former star of TV’s “In The House”)going off on some dude while sitting in the passenger seat of a car eating cheetos.  This incident occurred back in September, and once I saw the footage of her being all cracked out, I just HAD to make a song about her.  Hopefully it helped her get the help she needed!

Video #3: Kate Gosselin is a Bitch

Mini Song/Video Insight:

Kate Gosselin, former star of TLC show “Jon and Kate Plus 8,” divorced from her husband in June of last year.  At the time, Jon was being perceived as the “bad boy” in the relationship, i.e. the one at fault.  Yet, when I saw the show, I clearly remembered Kate Gosselin being the one who was belittling and demasculating her husband.  So, I wrote a song in defense of him about how much of a you-know-what Kate really is.

Amazingly, this video got a LOT of views when I first posted it up, yet many people thought I was crazy for suggesting that Kate was in the wrong.  Then, a funny thing happen: she became a contestant on ABC’s “Dancing With The Stars,” and, during the second show, they showed footage of her being argumentative with her dance instructor.  So, I decided to re-make the video with added scenes from the ABC footage.  And now, it’s getting more views again – thanks, Kate!

Video #4: Imma Let You Finish (feat. Kanye West)

Mini Song/Video Insight:

At the MTV Video Music awards in September 2009, Taylor Swift won a trophy for best female artist.  As she was making her acceptance speech, though, a drunk Kanye West got on stage and said his now infamous speech – “Yo, Taylor – I, I’m real happy for you, and Imma let you finish… but Beyonce had one of the greatest videos of all time.  Of ALL TIME!!”

As soon as I saw the clip online, I KNEW I had to make a song using some part of the rant.  The cleanest audio from the rant was the part where he said “Imma let you finish,” so that’s what I went with.  I decided to make a song where a hater is trying to get at me, but before he can finish I’m explaining to him why I’m already so great.

As for the video, I’m not even in it!  Within 24 hours of the incident, people were posting up pics of Kanye in other situations interrupting proceedings with funny sayings.  I found a bunch of these pics online, strung them together, and pasted the song under them.  38,000+ views later, it’s still a pretty popular video 🙂

Video #5: In The Corner (I Got Your Girl) (feat. Michael Jackson)

Mini Song/Video Insight:

After Michael Jackson died last year, I was planning on putting together a mixtape featuring samples from some of his less-sampled songs.  One of them was this one, “In The Corner (I Got Your Girl),” which re-loops the beat from his “Superfly Sister” song off the “Blood on the Dancefloor” album.  I kept having the chorus to the song ring over and over again, and thought this would be the perfect beat to use for it.

As for the video: I was walking home from one of my friend’s parties at their clothing store, and came upon a group of guys dancing on the sidewalk. I had my camera on me, so I took it out and taped them dancing for 10 minutes.  When I got home, I decided to use the footage as the video for this song.

Video #6: U Can’t Get Her Back (feat. Non Juan)

Mini Song/Video Insight:

In addition to making my own songs, I also have a website, http://www.NonJuan.com, where I make songs and videos for my character, Non Juan.  This is one of the songs/videos I made for that project, “U Can’t Get Her Back.”  The song is used as a note for guys about trying to get back with an ex-girlfriend – namely, that it shouldn’t be done.

All of the parts involving Non Juan were shot using a green-screen, with backgrounds added in later.  As for my parts of the video, I shot it around my new apartment, mostly in my bathroom and my bedroom (which are conveniently located next to each other).  The video also features my good friend Tamika, who acted as my ex-girlfriend in the video.  It’s funny, hilarious, and downright enjoyable to watch!

So, that’s it in terms of my recent videos.  Right now I’m working on some new songs for a new album; in the meantime, I have an album on iTunes right now – “Attack of the Obama Milli Remix Guy!” – which you can purchase on iTunes either as a whole album or by individual tracks, at the following address: http://www.tinyurl.com/obamamilliremix

Talk to y’all soon!

-A.P.T.

Greetings!

If you’re reading this, chances are you probably read my resume, and wanted to see some of the videos I’ve edited.  Most of the videos I edited had to do with the “One-Song-A-Week” project I filmed between May 2008-2009.  You are more than welcome to watch all 54 videos (click HERE for the complete list of videos)….

HOWEVER…

Since I’m assuming you’re as busy as I am, I’ve put together 2 video resumes and 2 recent videos (produced, directed and edited by me) for your to check out:

Video Editing Resume #1: The Best of the Best

This is a 3-minute summary of what I consider to be some of the best video edits I have personally produced and/or edited.

Video Editing Resume #2: A Summary of My “One-Song-A-Week” Challenge

For one full year, I posted up a new music video (music courtesy of me) each Sunday.  The last song/video of the project – “I’m the Realest” – was a collage of all the videos I made during the year. And here it is:

Video Editing Resume #3: A Public Service Announcement (Full)

This is an example of a fake “Public Service Announcement” I made up after Kris Allen won American Idol against favorite Adam Lambert.  It’s pretty funny, but check out the editing skills on it!

Video Editing Resume #4: A Full Music Video Parody

Lastly, here is one of the more recent music videos I edited – it’s a parody of Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind” called “Oprah State of Mind” featuring Non Juan (of http://www.NonJuan.com fame) and Tamika Keyz!

If you’re interested in working with me for the purposes of video directing, editing, or creative consulting, e-mail me at APTsongs@hotmail.com.  Thank you for taking the time to look at some of my work!

Oh yeah – for those of you who didn’t get a copy of my resume, and just happen to stumble upon this page, my resume is down below (sans my phone number).  Enjoy!

-Aaron P. Taylor

Objective:

Seeking to work on a Video Editor position within a production company or television station, where I am allowed to use my creativity to help tell a story, while learning and growing in the industry.

Qualification Summary:

  • Extensive previous experience with videography of dance, comedy or music videos.
  • Strong ability to operate S-VHS and digital/HD video equipment.
  • Extremely proficient with non-linear and computerized video editing systems.
  • Wide knowledge of iMovie and Mac operating system as well as Windows Video Media.
  • Evening and weekend availability.
  • Strong ability to work independently and professionally in a timely and efficient manner.
  • Proven high abilities to be an efficient, multi-tasked, dependable & reliable worker.
  • Excellent writing and oral skills, observant, keen on details, goal oriented.

Education:

  • Hampton University, Hampton, VA – Bachelor of Fine and Performing Arts, May 2005

Work Experience:

Responsibilities have included:

  • Creating, writing, producing, editing, sound mixing, mastering, publishing and promoting various music videos, skits, video blogs, music reviews, and advertisements for both myself and for http://NonJuan.com
  • Started a “One-Music-Video-a-Week” project (May 2008 – May 2009) where I recorded, edited and posted a new video each Sunday for one full year. Project resulted in one of my videos getting recognized worldwide, including on radio stations, for a year
  • Editing Red Carpet footage for 307 Productions
  • Assembling the final video production sequence from other companies, consisting of shots taken from the raw camera footage, contacting directly producers and graphic artists to assemble video content for web distribution, providing non-linear video editing, image manipulation and color correction of all assigned productions.
  • Synchronizing and storing them into files on computer, digitally cutting the files in order to determine the sequence of a film and determining what parts are usable, creating a ‘rough cut’ of the programme/film and determining the exact cutting for the next and final stages and re-ordering and tweaking the content in order to ensure the logical sequencing and smooth running of the video.

References: Available upon request

This video is for the song “No Memories,” produced by Vybe Beatz.

FREE Download: http://www.4shared.com/file/129802637/e3bd06c9/APT_Song_-_No_Memories.html

INSIGHT INTO A SONG:

First off, I want to give some good news: I am BACK in song-writing mode!  This means I will also be posting up some more videos.  However, since this site was specifically dedicated to showcasing my “One-Song-A-Week” project from May 2008-May 2009, I will soon be opening up another site to post up my newer videos.  Until that happens, though, I’ll be posting them here, but I will keep you informed about the changes!

As for this song, there aren’t too many deep insights about the song.  I was lying around bored on my futon/bed this past Wednesday, and a chorus melody suddenly popped into my head that said: “No memories, no memories/Of me and you, I ain’t got no memories…”

I liked the chorus enough to check my beat archive and see if I had a beat to match it. Turns out, I had downloaded a beat by Vybe Beatz a couple of months back that went perfectly with the chorus.  From there, started thinking of some words to go with the melody, and the whole song was written in about 20 minutes!

The song is not about anyone in particular – I really just wanted to do a narrative type of song, and it ended up coming out that way.  Since the chorus talks about having “No Memories” of me and a girl being together, the words to the song correlate with that thought.  The first first deals with all the things I can’t remember about the girl, while the second verse talks about one final memory I have of said girl that ends up fading away near the end of the verse.

It’s a pretty cool song.  It’s not one of my funnier songs, but the concept is interesting enough to warrant some listens!

INSIGHT INTO A VIDEO SHOOT

For this round of videos, I’m only interested in one thing: selling my “Bubbles is my Homeboy” T-shirts.

To that end, most of the videos will be pretty consistent in terms of what I’m doing in them: sitting on the bed mouthing the words to the song while wearing the same shirt.  Hopefully, this will allow people to match up their image of me with that shirt on, and, if they like me and the shirt enough, they’ll want to buy it!

With that said, I did switch my shirt up for the chorus, opting to wear one of my blue surfer shirts.  It was really more of a stylistic choice, nothing too thought out.

That’s all for the now!  Enjoy the video, and you can download the song at the following link: http://www.4shared.com/file/129802637/e3bd06c9/APT_Song_-_No_Memories.html

-A.P.T.

Twitter.com/APTsongs
MySpace.com/NotoriousAPT

As you all may know by now, Jay-Z’s highly anticipated album, “Blueprint 3,” leaked on August 31.  I got a copy of it, and decided to do a video review for it (the first one ANYWHERE in the world).

So, what did I think of the album?  Is it an album worth picking up at the store, or is Jay-Z starting to get too old to do this anymore? Find out by watching the video below!

-A.P.T.

Follow me on Twitter! Twitter.com/APTsongs

Today’s music video is for the song “I Got Some Haters (Remix)” with King Kut and me, A.P.T.!

Available on King Kut’s new album, “The Last Man Standing.” For download info, go to King Kut’s page at http://www.kingkutonfire.wordpress.com

INSIGHT INTO A SONG:

First off: Hi! It’s ME again, A.P.T.!

Yes, I’ve been gone for a while, and with good reason: I wasn’t making any videos!  After I finished my 52-week project in May, I ended up making two more videos – one for a contest I entered for Jimmy Fallon’s “Late Night” show, and one for a song where I dissed Tyga – and then took a much-needed break.  It’s not easy making 56 videos in a row for release each week, so I figured it would be a while before I even THOUGHT about making another video.

Meanwhile, one of my fans, King Kut, had started his own “One-Song-a-Week” project earlier this year.  His goal was to make 50 videos by September.  I became aware of this back in March, and was impressed enough with his beats and one song in particular – “Rock and Roll” – that I asked him if I could jump on the remix for it AND make some video clips for a remix video.  He agreed, the song was made, the video was made, and it ended up being my video #50 and his video #28.

Since then, I’ve been keeping up with his weekly videos.  There were a few times where he’s release a song without a fancy video – songs that were not officially part of his project – and one of them was a song called “I Got Some Haters.”  I heard the song, and as soon as I heard the chorus and the beat, I started doing what Jay-Z calls the “rain man”: I started mumbling off words that could go with the song.

Not knowing if I’d actually have a full 16 bars to spit on the track, I logged into my hotmail account and begin typing.  The words came to me effortlessly, and in no time at all I had a full 16-bars written. After I sent them to myself, I wrote King Kut and told him that I liked the song, and that I wanted to do a remix to it.  He sent me a copy of the track with a blank space in the third verse area for me to “do my thing,” and the rest is history!

As for the song itself, the chorus is simplistic but catchy – the perfect formula for a memorable chorus.  The song is basically an attack on people out there that might be hating on what it is me and King Kut are trying to do.  Hopefully the song will catch on!

Some Interesting Song Insights:

1. When I asked King Kut to send me a copy of the song, he decided to remix his verses.  While the remixed words were okay, they deviated from the original concept of the song.  Therefore, I ended up using his original verses, then cutting and pasting the blank verse part he had sent onto the end of the original version.

2. I hate hearing songs when everyone on the track is rapping at the same pace/tone/etc.  The purpose of having a guest artist on a track is to bring a different element to the song that’s not already on there.  Since King Kut is rapping at a slow pace in his verses, I felt it necessary to be faster and/or more high energy, especially since I was the 3rd part of the song.

3. At the part of the song where King Kut is introducing me, I added in the effect of the crowd cheering.  Gotta love the MAC sound FX department!

INSIGHT INTO A VIDEO SHOOT:

Like I said before, I’ve been watching King Kut’s videos each week and keeping up with his progress.  His videos are pretty enjoyable, and I was looking forward to seeing him get to his 50th video.

Then, bad luck struck: his PC, much like my laptop had after video 39, started acting up and quitting on him when he tried to edit his videos.  He placed a notice up on his site one day that said he would no longer be able to make videos due to technical issues (along with some other things).

I’ve always been a big believer in finishing something you start.  So, I sent him an email encouraging him to try and do so, along with a few suggestions about how he could overcome some of the computer problems by doing simpler videos.  He thanked me for the advice, but still didn’t think his computer would be able to handle it.

Sunday approached, and I was sitting at home thinking about his project.  He had stalled out at 44 videos… but to me, everything looks better in fives.  Like, even if he couldn’t finish the project, it would be better for him to be able to say “I did 45 videos” instead of just 44 (don’t ask me why, though – it just sounds better).

Then, it dawned on me: I could help him edit together a video for our “I Got Some Haters” collaboration!

I wrote him and asked him if he could possibly send me a single-footage shot of him mouthing the words to his song.  Lo and behold: he was originally going to do the original version of the song as a video, and had already shot some footage which he sent to me.  Prior to that, though, I had already thought out a simplistic enough idea for the video: intertwine shots of me and him mouthing the song with pictures of people mean-muggin’ (i.e. “hating” on us) and pics of slogans denouncing their hater ways.

Once I had everything together, the last part I had to do was my performance.  I thought it would be cool if I had half of my face showing towards the ends of the screen so that I could flip-flop them later – turned out pretty good, actually!  (Incidentally, I also shaved my face for this video – you’re welcome, King Kut!)  I also did a few takes of me directly in the middle of the screen (I filmed my part using my built-in MAC computer camera).

The last part was doing the post-edits.  I had to add in the parts advertising King Kut’s new album, “The Last Man Standing.”  I also added some nice effects to some of the shots so they wouldn’t get too boring.

Note: he usually posted up his videos every Monday; however, I forgot how long these things can take to edit, so I didn’t get the video to him until around 2 or 3 A.M. EST.  Sorry about that!

Some Interesting Video Shoot Tidbits:

1. I shot my part of the video in my room, sitting on my futon.  I had to clear out my background so it just looked like I’m sitting in front of a clear space.

2. This video didn’t take long to edit per se, but I had other stuff I was trying to do in the midst of editing this video.  I just found out I have 30 days to move out of the place I’m currently staying in, so I spent a good portion of the day looking up new places to live!

That’s all for now! Once again, you can get this song off King Kut’s newest album, “The Last Man Standing” (FREE Download) over at http://www.kingkutonfire.wordpress.com!

-A.P.T.

A few weeks back, I did a video blog where I talked about TuneCore.com.  For those wanting to actually make money off your music, TuneCore is a site whereby you can load up your music and have it sent out to the major music hubs, like Amazon, Rhapsody, Napster, LaLa, and iTunes.

In my video blog, I mentioned that I decided to test out the program by sending one of my songs, “Obama Milli,” to their site.  Yada yada yada, the experiment worked, and for the last two months I have been getting actual royalties from TuneCore that they collected from the various site my song was placed on.

What I didn’t notice until today, however, was that I don’t just get paid when someone buys my songs… but also when my song gets streamed.  In other words, anytime someone goes to Rhapsody and plays my song, I get paid a whopping ONE cent (okay, it’s actually $.009).

Now, you may not think that getting a penny for a song is a big deal.  However, when I looked at the statement sheet, I noticed that, for the month of April, I made  $7.54 off the song being streamed 783 times on Rhapsody.  That means that, just by having people PLAY the song, I made money.

Now again, you may not think that $7.54 is a whole lot of money.  But think about it: I made that off of just ONE song.  I don’t have any other songs on any of these other sites at the moment, but imagine if I had 10 total songs streaming over at Rhapsody.  Even at a conservative number of – oh, let’s say, 500 streams per song – the total amount I’d make each month would be $45.  This may not seem like a huge deal, but considering that most albums sell at 7.00 a pop, and knowing that not all people like purchasing full albums these days, getting paid for 10 steaming songs sounds pretty kick-ass to me!

And again, that’s not even getting into how much money would be made if the whole album sells!  Because I’d be getting $7.00 from each album, I wouldn’t even have to sell that many albums to be “comfortable.”  Let’s assume my album goes to the 5 sites mentioned above, and each site only sells 5 albums a month.  At $7.00 profit (yes, PROFIT) per album from each site, that would be $35 per site x 5 sites, which equals $175 per month.

And that’s if I only have ONE album up.

As of right now, I have two albums I can legally sell, each with 11 or more songs, plus a third album I’m finishing up as part of my newest project (to be launched within the next two weeks).  So, let’s do the math one more time, shall we?:

$35 per site x 5 Sites = $175 per month per album

$175 per month per album x 3 albums = $525 per month total (Not including the money I’d make off streaming, of course :])

Wow… sorry, but now that I’m realizing the money to be made, I’m pondering why I didn’t sign up with TuneCore LAST year when the “Obama Milli” song first came out!!!

Anyway, since I’m still getting traffic off the song, I figure now is the time to place all my albums up for sale on TuneCore.  However, I don’t want to present the public with the records as the currently are.  It’s not that they are bad records, but the items I used to record them with last year are nowhere near as sophisicated as the items I’m using now (better computer, professional mic, etc.).

To that end, I am going to re-record the bulk of my tracks that I recorded last year, and place them up on TuneCore.  The first album up will be the one I’m currently working on – since we’re launching the site soon it will be the album that gets the most publicity.  Once I’ve finished recording the last few songs for that (which will be done this week), I will go back and focus on re-recording “The A.P.T. LP,” then “The Great Black Hope.”

It usually takes 6 weeks for the songs to appear on all the sites; I figure if I re-record the last two by the middle of July, they should be posted up on the sites by September.  By then, our site should be seeing an increase in traffic, which will also prove helpful to my musical endeavorus – especially when people start trying to Google me and figure out who the heck I am!

-A.P.T.

Twitter.com/APTsongs

Well, I did it.

Last year, on Sunday, May 25, 2008, I was living in Atlanta, pondering where my life was going.  I had moved to Georgia in the hopes of expanding my musical fan base – okay, of GETTING a musical fan base – and, a year-and-a-half later, I found myself not making any progress, working at a restaurant with good friends (and food) that was nevertheless NOT something I wanted to do.

And so, after another afternoon of work, I went straight home. I could have gone and hung out somewhere, but I had other things on my mind…

About a week or two prior, I had been surfing online and came across a guy named Jonothan Coultran.  He was an ex-engineer turned touring musician who had created a fan base for his quirky rock songs by posting up a song each week for a whole year. His fifth song, a guitar remake of Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “Baby Got Back” had helped him in reaching a wider audience, with radio stations playing the song all over the country for a decent amount of weeks.

I read about this, and thought to myself, “That’s not a bad idea. I could do that. I could do that!”

The question, though, was how I would post my songs. I could start a website, I thought, but how would people even know where to find/download the songs? I already had a MySpace account, but there were already millions of people putting music on those that were getting NO WHERE.

Then, I hit upon an idea: what if, instead of just posting up a song, I posted up a video for the songs as well? That way, people would have a visual element of me to go along with my vocal element, and I could, in time, grow a fan base of people to download/buy my music?

GENIUS!

So, on that fateful Sunday, I headed back home and got to work. I opened up this website, and posted my first video – a song called “Erectile Dysfunction,” a parody of Snoop Dogg’s “Sensual Seduction” that I had posted a video for back in December of 2007. When I started the site, it was about 10 minutes before midnight, the start of Monday. In those 10 minutes, I started to think about what starting this site, and this project in general, would mean:

* Was I REALLY about to commit to a year’s worth of videos?
* Would I even be able to come up with a minimum of 52 different concepts?
* What if I got too busy, or moved, or someone died – would I still post up a video on that week’s Sunday, or would I give myself some leeway and say, “eh, I’ll make it up next week?”
* And – most importantly – would it work? Would doing these videos REALLY help give me the exposure I wanted?

After thinking about it for 5 minutes, I said to myself: “Y’know what? Let’s do it! I don’t know if I’ll be able to post a video up each week, but I’m certainly up to the challenge.”

And with that, I posted my first video, with 5 minutes left to spare. From then on, it was all systems go…

—-

As I lie here on my futon in my bedroom, from my apartment in sunny California, I think back to the day I started this journey. And it still amazes me all that happened…

By now, those of you who have followed my story know what happened, but for those of you stopping here for the first time, I’ll summarize:


Above: The video for song #5, A.P.T.’s Lil’ Wayne “A Milli” Parody, “Obama Obama” (re-dubbed “Obama Milli Remix by the public).

I created a parody of Lil’ Wayne’s infectious “A Milli” song, “O-bama Milli Remix.” The song was turned into a summary of all things Obama, with the background words “A Milli” replaced with “Obama”‘s instead. I thought of it while walking around at work one day waiting for customers to come in, and I burst out laughing.

I wasn’t even going to make it into a song because I couldn’t find the beat without the words “A Milli” being said in the background, but I used my Fruity Loops music program to remake the beat. Then, using my H2 Zoom talk radio mic, I recorded myself saying “Obama” 12 times, then cut and paste it through the rest of the song. Then, after spending 2 days writing the song and figuring out how to flow on it like Lil’ Wayne, I recorded my verses and did a final mix-down. That Saturday, I recorded the video, and posted it on YouTube that Sunday.

When I posted the video, I placed it on my Facebook wall, as well as the walls of some of my friends, most of whom went to college with me and were familiar with my parodying of songs since I used to do it for my phone message machine Freshman year. (And Sophomore year, and junior year…) I also sent it to a few of them via e-mail. From then on, I didn’t think too much about it…

…until I noticed that it was getting quite a few views on YouTube. In the first 2 days it received about 100 views, which was impressive to me at the time. I figured the video would die down after a few days like my other ones had.

Boy, was I wrong.

Over 10,000,000 video views  (thanks, in large part, to the number of re-postings of the song on other people’s YouTube & MySpace accounts), and countless world-wide radio plays later, it amazes me how I wasn’t able to see this coming. Part of it was probably because people told me I couldn’t sell the type of songs I do – namely, funny songs and parodies – to the public. I think they thought that was reserved for white people like Weird Al or something.

Regardless of what I thought at the time, though, the song WAS very successful. No, I didn’t get a lot of money from it since I didn’t know how to get it to iTunes, Amazon, or any of those other sites until recently (though, amazingly, I AM making money from it now, despite the song being 11 months old). And yes, there were people out there who tried to take my song and claim it as their own (Industry rule #4080: industry people are SHA-DY!!).

The reason I wasn’t too mad about any of it, though, was because the song helped me do what it was I wanted the project to do: (a) shine a light on my writing skills, (b) get a song of mine on the radio, and (b) give me enough exposure to help get me to “the next step,” whatever it may be.

Don’t get it twisted, though. There are still times when I look back and think: “Man… if only I had done this, or done that, I could have really capitalized off the song, gone touring, and other stuff.” I think everyone who’s had what I called “unexpected success” has that feeling, especially when they finally learn about the ways in which they COULD have done something better. At the same time, though, had I not gone about doing this whole project the way I did it, I may not have even been here in Cali right now.

Who knows what would have happened if I actually HAD gotten the fame and accolades that normally come with having a hit song? I might have gone on tour for a bit, but I could have ended up being a “One-Hit-Wonder”. I mean, I still COULD end up being that; however, I would have started doing shows and forgotten about doing a video each week, meaning I wouldn’t have had the motivation to train my brain each week to come up with video scenarios, practice my directing skills, and other things needed to really function out here in California. By NOT getting those accolades, I basically had no choice but to put myself through film school for a year, teaching myself each week how to edit, light a “set,” use certain computer programs… it’s really all in how you look at it!

Now that the project is complete, what are my final thoughts? What have I learned from doing all these videos?

1. TRULY, EXCUSES ARE LIKE @$$HOLES: THEY ALL STINK.

What I mean by the above statement is this: Back in the day, when I’d hear someone give me an excuse for anything, I’d take it at face value. Now, though, I realize that, if someone truly WANTS to do something, they’ll figure out a way to do it, no matter what.

I managed to make a video and post it up EVERY SINGLE SUNDAY for 52-weeks in a row. If I was sick, I’d put up a video. If I had to go out of town, I’d put up a video. If I moved – and I moved TWICE in the last year – I’d put up a video. If my computer crashed, slowed down, or – in one freak incident – the cord stopped working, I’d managed to get it fixed by Sunday… IN TIME TO POST UP A VIDEO.

So now, when people give me an excuse, or try to flake out on me, or say, “gee, I know I said I’d do this, but I just can’t”… to me, it’s B.S. Of course, I don’t TELL them that, but I’m definitely thinking to myself: “this excuse wouldn’t even be spoken if they WANTED to do it!”

2. STICKING TO A COMMITMENT CAN BE TOUGH AT TIMES… BUT IT’S WORTH IT.

I cannot begin to think of all the times I wanted to quit doing this project.

Sure, it was fun – especially once I had a hit video that everyone and their Mom wanted to here – but not every week was a walk in the park. There were times when I couldn’t think of a video concept until the last minute, or people who agreed to help with a video would pull out at the last minute. Not to mention the times I had to work on Sunday and stayed up all night Saturday editing a video, or spent 9 hours editing a video because my slow-as-molasses PC couldn’t handle the large amount of memory my videos was asking it to handle.

But, even when going through all those tough times, there was always a part of me that said, “You’ve made the commitment, and you’ve got to make it work.” And, regardless of how much agony I was going through to make some of those videos, I was always happy at the end simply because I was able to post the video and follow through on the commitment I had made.

3. WORKING BY ONE’S SELF CAN BE PROGRESSIVE… BUT THINGS MOVE QUICKER IF OTHERS ARE INVOLVED.

As much as I liked making videos by myself, I learned that having others to help you out can certainly take the load off.

Now that I’m in Cali, I’m making new videos for another site I’m working on. Because I don’t have to do everything, I’m more relaxed and able to focus on the parts I’m good at. The camera work, business aspects and negotiation parts are handled by others, while the creative aspect is handled by me.

I used to think that I could get famous on my own, or make a lot of money by doing it all by myself. And I still believe that. I just believe that it would take LONGER, and working with others is a better way to get money FASTER.

4. WHEN I DO FINALLY GET RICH, I AIN’T TELLIN’ NOOOOO-BODY.

I didn’t get rich off the “Obama Milli Remix” song. What I DID get, though, was people contacting me that I hadn’t heard from in YEARS.

Some of the messages I got was to congratulate me on my success, and to them I’m grateful. However, some people sent those “hey, when u make it big, don’t forget about me” messages that really piss me off. I’m like, “I’m sorry, but aren’t y’all the same people who wouldn’t return my Facebook/MySpace/Hotmail messages BEFORE the song came out??”

With that said, I’ve learned that the vultures are out, and it’s probably best to keep the number of any large amounts of money I make to myself. Heck, I’ll probably end up dressing worse than I do now and driving a bummy-looking car just to throw off the gold-diggers!

And, most importantly…

5. THE EASIEST WAY TO SUCCESS IS TO “LET GO AND LET GOD.”

I grew up in a family that was (and still is) heavily involved in church. Like any kid, I absolutely HATED going to church (and I still do – it’s the whole “public displaying of praying” I hate. Like, why do I have to put on a show for others to prove I have a relationship with God?).

However, I’ve always believed that God would take care of me, no matter what I was going through, and that He would be the one to lead me towards the successes I needed to have. What’s funny to me is, most people who go to church worry from day-to-day about how, if, or when they’ll be able to achieve their goals, or if they are even possible. Me, I don’t go to church (momentarily – still looking for a church in CA), yet probably live more by faith than any church-goer I know.

Think about this: I’ve been trying to figure out how to afford to move to California for-EVER. Who else but GOD could have allowed my song to get as big as it did, have the video/song go worldwide, have it get noticed by people out in Cali who just HAPPEN to be doing projects of their own, and make things happen so that I end up in Cali so I can further expand upon my success??

Bottom line: if you don’t have faith in GOD and faith in yourself, you’ll never be successful. God wants his people to be successful, but if a person isn’t willing to let go of their worries and be mindful that God is doing his half (so long as you’re doing yours), there’s no reason for him to help you.

—-

And that’s it! The project is done. So, what’s up next? I can’t say too much just yet, but all will be revealed soon….

In conclusion, though, I am so grateful for all the experiences I had in the past year, and I’m glad I have a time-capsule of videos documenting various periods in that year. And to all those that helped out with my videos and songs in anyway, your friendships and extended hands were, and still are, truly appreciated!

-A.P.T.

Twitter.com/APTsongs


Above: The long version of “I’m The Realest” featuring an intro and outro skit!


Above: The short version of “I’m the Realest” with the song and montage part only. (For people with short attention spans.)

This week’s video is for the song “I’m the Realest” feat. Jay-Z (beat produced by King Kut, Jay-Z vocals added in by me!).

AVAILABLE EXCLUSIVELY ON A.P.T.’s “WELCOME TO CALI: THE MIXTAPE!” Click HERE for download link!

INSIGHT INTO A SONG:

When making the “Welcome 2 Cali” mixtape, I knew I wanted whatever the last song on the album was to also be the song I used for the last video of my “One-Song-a-Week” project.

I had a stack of beats that I had gotten from King Kut (who I collaborated with for video 50, “Rock and Roll (Remix)“), and there was a particular beat that stood out to me – it was bouncy, had a frenzied chorus, and sounded like it would make for a good song. Actually, when I heard the beat I had an idea for TWO songs I could make, but didn’t know which one I wanted to go with.

My original idea was to make both of these songs using the same beat. One of them – which I haven’t made yet and will therefore not mention the title of – was a goofy-sounding song while the other one was “I’m The Realest.” The idea takes off from the part of Jay-Z’s “Dirt Off Your Shoulder” song where he says: “I’m the realest that run it, I just happen to rap…” I thought that part of the song would lend itself to me writing about how I was able to stay true to myself while making music, despite the fact that (a) I’m not seen as a “typical” rapper, and (b) that I do a whole bunch of other stuff well (acting, producing, drawing, etc.) and that rap is something that I just “happen” to also be good at.

So, I was going to go ahead and record the song… but first, I had to take the beat King Kut sent me and mix it in with the lines from the Jay-Z song that I wanted for the chorus. However, I didn’t know how to take the vocals and change the pace/tone of them on my MAC’s Garageband program. Plus, the acapella vocals for the song could only be gotten one way – Limewire – and, since it’s not installed on my MAC (no WAY I’m even taking a chance at a virus getting on this computer), I had to use my PC to actually download it.

Since I had my PC up and running, I decided to use the Magix Studio 14 program I have on it to mix in the vocals. Despite my PC being slow at times, my music program actually runs quite well on it, and Magix Studio 14 allows me to bend, cut, and position beats and vocals any way I’d like to. I loaded in the acapella Jay-Z vocals and picked out the part I wanted to use. Now all I had to do was load in the beat…

I looked on my external hard drive for the file that said “Beat #1.” I noticed there were actually TWO beats with that same title – one saved in .wma format, and the other saved in WAV format. Not knowing which one was the one I actually needed, I figured I’d listen to both to see which one was the one I had been looking for. I imported in the first “Beat #1…”

And it was the wrong one.

In fact, it was one of the beats I had actually NOT had an idea for a song for. The beat itself was good, but it was repetitive, and there was no change-up in tone or pace throughout the song, not even during the chorus parts.

And yet…

Because of this beat characteristic, it actually made it the PERFECT beat to use for the song! The way I saw it, the fact that Jay-Z’s voice would be on the chorus meant that people would be paying more attention to him that whether or not there was a music change-up in the background. Most importantly, it meant that the other beat I was going to use could now be use for ONE song, and this beat that I didn’t have a song for at all could be used. Genius!

Once I got the vocals in pace with the beat of the song (it doesn’t sound like it would take that long, but it was probably a good 30 minutes before I got it sounding right and having it go at the right pace), I re-exported it as a WAV file, then sent it back on over to my MAC, where I laid down the vocals.

As for the song itself, I wanted it to sound like a culmination of the year-long experience I went through, from when I first had the idea for the project, to the unexpected success and attention I got as a result of “Obama Milli Remix,” to being able to actively pursue my dreams even moreso as a result. In between all that, I wanted to use a flow that wasn’t just a standard pattern. Admittedly, I have been listening to a lot of Eminem recently, and I always liked how he flows in relation to the beat – over it, under it, inside it, etc., you name it, Em’ does it. Thus, you’ll here voice change-ups, sing-songy parts, and some verbal wordplay, as well as a few funny lines here and there.

And of course, I couldn’t end the song without thanking everybody who helped get me to this point. I now understand why musicians are always saying, “Without you, the fans, I wouldn’t be here.” ‘Cause really, if people hadn’t passed my song around, I wouldn’t have gotten the attention I got, and I would probably still be in Atlanta working at a restaurant NOT making progress (as fast) and NOT being happy – at least not as happy as I am living in Cali 🙂

Some Interesting Song Tidbits:

1. One of my favorite lines is, “Picture A.P.T. sittin’ in an APT in Atlanta.” One, it’s a play on my initials, which are also an abbreviation for “apartment;” and two, I did a great job of making the syllables rhyme in this sentence!

2. It really IS a challenge to try and rap off-beat without making it sound like you’re rapping off-beat and have it flow well. The last part of the first verse where I say, “You… MUST have fallen off the wrong side of the bed/bumped your head/ can’t com-pre-hend ’cause you’re brain dead, oh!” took quite a few takes. When I write it I can hear it in my head, but if I don’t record it right away, having to re-dice it up so it sounds the way I heard it to myself can be challenging!

3. I mention how I didn’t think my songs would get farther than my “poor excuse for a laptop.” Truthfully, when I started out making music on it it wasn’t so bad… but as I added more and more memory to the machine and it got harder and harder to edit my videos, THAT’s when it became a “poor excuse for a laptop,” LoL!

4. The last 2 lines of the song were really hard to come up with. I knew I wanted to end on a joke, and once I figured out WHAT I wanted to say, I had to figure out HOW to put it into rhyme form. I figured it out eventually, but those last two lines took up about 2 hours of my time!

INSIGHT INTO A VIDEO SHOOT

This is not only the last video in the “One-Song-a-Week” project, but also the last video in the “Video Wars” trilogy I started 3 weeks ago.

To that end, when I first started it I already had the end in mind – namely, to have a montage of all the videos I had made over the course of the last year. How I was going to present them, though, was the hard part to figure out…

My original idea was to film myself in front of my green screen, and add in the montage as a background later. In fact, I actually DID film myself in front of the green screen doing this song last week while filming video 52 episode 2, “Welcome 2 Cali.” As I mentioned in the video insight for that video, though, keying out the green without having little green fuzzies everywhere took 3 hours, and that was only when using 3 minutes of footage. I couldn’t imagine how nightmarish it was going to be trying to key out the green screen of 3 separate takes, given the fact that, since my camera isn’t a digital one, the fuzzy count would be ridiculous!

My next idea was to place this thing WAY into the future, and have it be a situation where an older version of me is being filmed for a television show, and I’m reminiscing about all the videos I made “back in the day.” I was actually going to do this one – put some flour in my beard and dress up like an old man – but there were two problems: one, I was already an old man in video 10, “Retirement Home,” except I was a bitter old rapper in that one. Unfortunately my old man voice impression doesn’t really change, and I didn’t want people seeing this video, then going back and seeing THAT video and pondering if it was the same character, and why one was mad and the other wasn’t. (Yes, I really think about these types of continuities when making videos.) The second reason is that, since I’ve used my apartment in so many videos, trying to make people believe it was suddenly some other place (i.e. an old folk’s home, a mansion, etc.) would be hard to do.

Then, on Friday, as I was setting up for the “old man” scenario – after all, I had to film SOMETHING – I stopped and reflected on all the videos I had done this past year… and for some reason the “Kick Bush” video came to mind. In that video, I acted like I was the host of a kid’s show called “Mr. Taylor’s Neighborhood,” a take on Mr. Rodgers Neighborhood. At the end of that video, I tell the “kids” to tune in next time… only problem was, I never actually MADE a second video for them to tune in to!

In thinking about it, I figured it would be a decent enough idea to do a second episode of the show, only this time with the “newly improved” set from my California residence.  It would allow me to tell the “kids” in simple vernacular about how I got from D.C. to Cali (since I explain in the “Star Wars” intro how I made it from Atlanta to D.C.), while at the same time making it easier for me to segue into the montage clip I had for the actual song.

Filming the “Mr. Taylor’s Neighborhood” portions of the video was really easy. I filmed myself walking from the sidewalk outside my apartment up to my door, and used that as the opening for the show. Then, I filmed myself walking in while on my phone threatening someone to send the money they promised to me for doing the program, lest I kick their… well, you know. Then, I talk to the kids about how me, Mr. Taylor, made a song that got big enough for someone in Cali to find me and help me move there. From there, I mention that I still completed my “One-Song-a-Week” project, and to prove it… well, that’s when I go into the montage!

Putting together clips from all my videos was easy, but time-consuming. I figured out the play time of “I’m the Realest” and calculated that I could fit clips of all my videos into the montage if I cut them down to 3 to 5 second shorts. Because their were 53 videos to go through, it took me quite a few hours; luckily, I knew which clips I wanted to use from most of the videos. Unfortunately, in order to do so I had to open up my PC one last time (since most of my older videos up until 40 were done in .wmv format, which wouldn’t transfer onto my MAC) and use the movie converter program I had on there to cut down each clip to the small amount of seconds I wanted to use.

Once I did that, I was going to just put them all in order on my Windows Movie Media program in numerical order, paste on the song, then publish it, load it back onto my MAC and use a converter to change it over to an .mov file. But, I knew that I wanted to have the transitional “roll of film” effects that my iMovie had on its program. So, I took all of the 53 mini-clips that I had, converted them into .mov, then imported them into iMovie, pasted them in order, added the song, and BAM – montage complete! Again, very simple process, but it took almost 6 to 7 hours out of my life!

So, after the opening, the intro, and the montage, I had to figure out a way to end the video. But I had already thought about that during the week, and I knew exactly how I wanted to end it. Since this is the last video in the project, people have been asking me, “What are you going to do after you’re done with it?” I already know what I’m doing since I’ve been working on it since I moved here, but since I can’t reveal everything about it just yet, I decided to end this video by having me begin to tell them, then getting cut off by the credits of the show. I’m sure people will be writing me asking me, “seriously, though – WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO??” Sorry, peeps, can’t say anything just yet!

All in all, I think this video – and, more importantly, this song – was a great way for me to end the project on a high note!

Some Interesting Video Shoot Tidbits:

1. When filming the part of the video where I say that people stole my song, I “say” that I don’t want to mention any names, and I wasn’t going to. However, while editing in the text for some of the other clips, I thought it would be funny if I “mentioned” the name by scrolling it at the bottom of the screen. That way, I could “say” the name without “saying” the name.

2. As you will see in the video, I mention the videos in reference to the weeks they were made instead of the number order. This is because (a) I didn’t want people to question why there were 54 videos instead of 52 (there were 2 weeks when I did 2 videos in those weeks); and (2) so people will know that I actually did a video each week.

3. Also, I was originally going to mention the weeks and names of each video using the “writing on tape” effect, but it looked monotonous to me. So, AFTER I gave all the clips that effect, I went back and put in different effects so the audience wouldn’t get bored looking at the same lettering effect over and over.

4. The shirt I’m wearing in the video has the logo on it from EMQTv.com, which is the web site I blog for when I’m not doing music stuff.

5. Editing time for this video: I couldn’t even tell you. I was just so eager to get it done – I started editing it on Thursday, then filmed the parts of me doing the “Mr. Taylor’s Neighborhood” on Friday… let’s just say, I wanted to do it right, so it took a LONG time!

And that’s it! I did it! 54 videos in 52 weeks, baby! Will there be more videos from me in the future? The answer to that is “yes,” but definitely NOT on a weekly basis, but as for right now… I think I deserve a little vacation!

-A.P.T.

E-mail: aptsongs@hotmail.com
MySpace: www.MySpace.com/NotoriousAPT
Twitter: Twitter.com/APTsongs

This is a video I made talking about www.TuneCore.com.  It’s the best site to use for musicians looking to sell their music.

Why?

In short: TuneCore does what you probably can’t do on your own – it sends your music to other sites like Rhapsody, Napster, iTunes, Amazon, etc.  You pay a small one-year membership fee, and that’s it – any sales you make from your songs on those other sites go directly to you.

Yeah, I know, it sounds like I have stock invested in the site, right? Well, guess what? I posted my “Obama Milli Remix” song on their site in April, and today I got a royalty check from them for $42.26!  Considering that (a) the song has been out for almost a YEAR, and (b) that I didn’t even advertise that the song was for sale on these sites, that’s pretty damn good.

Check out the video, and start posting your songs on Tunecore today!

-A.P.T.

Greetings!

This video is NOT a music video.  It’s a video review I did last Thursday for Eminem’s newest LP, “Relapse.”  The album leaked 2 weeks early, and I got the brilliant idea of doing a video review for it thinking it would be a fun thing to do.  And it was.

What I did NOT expect, though, was that my 8-minute and 14-second video would have over 3800 + views in less than a week’s time!

I don’t quite know WHY this non-music video of mine has been so successful (nor do I know how to capitolize off it), but it’s nice to be having a video that’s moving at an even faster pace than “Obama Milli Remix” was… even though none of my music is involved in it 😦

Oh well – take success anyway you can get it, I guess!  In the meantime, enjoy the video, and look out for my FINAL music video airing on Sunday, May 17th!

-A.P.T.