Category: Rap


Note: The “Go Hard Remix” video is now available for FREE Download!  Click HERE for more info!

This week’s video is for the song “Go Hard (Remix)” featuring DJ Khaled, T-Pain and Kanye West (produced by The Runners)!

This song appears on the following mixtape:

mixtape-cover-apt-presents-the-next-black-president-aka-back-on-my-grind

THE NEXT BLACK PRESIDENT (a.k.a. BACK ON MY GRIND)!

Featuring the hits: “Go Hard Remix” with DJ Khaled, Kanye West and T-Pain, plus “O-bama O-Bama MegaRemix” with Tyga, “#1” with Jay-Z, “Where My Money At” and more!!

Click HERE for mixtape and download info!!

INSIGHT INTO A SONG:

In putting together my latest mixtape, “The Next Black President (a.k.a. Back On My Grind),” I was looking for songs that I wanted to parody.

As I did more and more original songs for the mixtape, though, I started to realize that (a) I had a lot of good ORIGINAL material, and (b) if I wanted to have people start taking me seriously as an artist, it would be wise to release a mixtape that didn’t have any parodies on their so people could see that I had real skill.

Prior to this thought, though, I had downloaded the beat to this song called “Go Hard,” featuring DJ Khalid, T-Pain and Kanye West. I heard the song once back in August, but it wasn’t until about 2 weeks ago after I saw the music video for it that I really began to like the song.

I downloaded the original song, and thought to myself: “Man, I would LOVE to use this beat for a song on my mixtape!” I found the beat, and was going to try and make a parody – something obvious, like “Go Hard,” only talking about trying to get it up in the sack – but decided against it. (Plus, I kinda did that idea already with “Erectile Dysfunction,” and I don’t wanna make too many songs about that, lest the ladies think I really have a problem performing my “manly” duties!)

Instead, I decided it would be cool if I did a remix to it. I didn’t want to do two full verses, though, so I decided to keep T-Pain’s chorus and Kanye’s first verse, then have my verse come in second. A pretty ballsy move on my part – there’s always a danger as a new artist that people will hear the first verse of a song, then skip to the next one without ever hearing your verse.  Still, the verse I had sounded better as the second verse, so that’s where I put it!

As for my verse… well, even though I didn’t go the parody route, I still ended up talking about “going hard” in the sense of popping Viagra and Enzyte! I talk about going hard like a man in Vegas who pops the helpful little pills, only to end up taking too many and staying “hard” for more than 10 hours. It ends up being a metaphor for how “hard” I go on a track even when told to “stay down.” Even though the verse is funny, I had to make sure my delivery was just as HAAAAARD as T-Pain and Kanye’s verses.  If you ask me, I think I pulled it off!

Some Interesting Song Insights:

1. Back when I did “The KKKramer Song” (from The A.P.T. LP – get your copy today!), I mentioned how I don’t like to use the N-word in songs. Therefore, once I downloaded the original song and the instrumental, I went through the entire song and edited out all uses of the N-word by T-Pain, Kanye and DJ Khalid. Yes, I kept all the other curse words in there. No, I don’t know why it doesn’t bother me to hear those other words but not the N-word – at least the other ones don’t sound racist!

2. I was originally going to just use the Viagra metaphor in one line – i.e. “I’m fitn’a go hard/harder than an old man on Viagra” – but that seemed to be the very obvious route go to, and I couldn’t think of any metaphors beyond that. This is why I dragged the scenario out all the way until near the end of the verse. It’s similar in vein to the way Eminem would have done it.

3. The last line of my verse is spoken by Kanye – “F–k y’all n—ers, I’m outta here!” The reason I left that line in the song? When he says the word “here” it’s at the same time as T-Pain when he starts singing the chorus. I couldn’t edit the transition into the chorus without having part of Kanye’s “here” in the mix. Rather than try to fight it, I just said “Screw it – I’ll let him have the last line of my verse instead!”

INSIGHT INTO A VIDEO SHOOT:

I really, really, REALLY wasn’t planning on shooting a video for this today.

I was actually going to shoot a video for “Hooptie,” the last song off “The A.P.T. LP” that needs a video. I even had the idea for how I want to shoot it.

Unfortunately, that idea meant having an actual car to shoot the video in. I don’t have a car, I didn’t have enough time to use my brother’s car (since I didn’t think of it until after we were about to hit the road back home from my Grandma’s Thanksgiving gathering), and I didn’t have enough money to rent a car. I start my new job today, though, so I should (hopefully) have enough money in soon to shoot the video for it within the next 2 weeks.

In the meantime, I knew I still needed a video, so I figured, “Hey, why not shoot one for one of the songs off the new mixtape?” And here we are!

The video shoot idea for this one was REAL simple. I wanted to do the video in a style similar to the original “Go Hard” video – not with the same camera shots, mind you, but with the idea of simplicity: just me in front of a camera, along with T-Pain and Kanye West…

Oh, wait – I don’t actually KNOW those guys well enough to call them down to my video shoots… Hmm…

So, I went with my second idea: I could portray them by wearing symbolic things indicating I was them. For the part of T-Pain, I wanted to get a top hat and dreads.

One problem: I’m broke!

So, after scrounging around my room, I found a long and narrow rectangular box that looked kind of like a top hat. However, the flaps on the side wouldn’t stay straight enough to give it a 100% top-hat look. After a quick deliberation with myself, I decided to add some paper eyes to the front flap, thus giving the appearance that I had eyes even though the flap covered up my actual eyes. Genius!

For Kanye’s part, I simply wore the Kanye “Stronger” glasses I got back at his concert in May. So far, I’ve worn these glasses in two other videos: “Shout Out 2 My Big Girls” and, most recently (like, last week recently), “Stop Cock-Blockin’.” I also wanted to keep his outfit simple, as he seems to be wearing more down-to-earth stuff in the “Go Hard” video. Thus, the shirt I’m wearing with the name of me and my bro’s ideal record label name, “Buckbo Entertainment.” (You may have first seen this shirt in video #12, “I’m Gonna Make It” – there’s a picture of me and my bro wearing it.)

As for my part, I figured that I, too, should dress down, as if I were just hangin’ out with the guys. I decided to wear the T-shirt I got back in 2004 when I attended the Jay-Z and R. Kelly “Best of Both Worlds” tour (back when they were still talking to each other and hadn’t yet broken up the tour) and some brown shorts (also worn in the “I’m Gonna Make It” video).

And of course, I had to put it in Black and White, just like the original video. All in all, it came out pretty well, and only took 13 minutes to shoot – in one take!

Some Interesting Video Insights:

1. The camera itself was kept stationary, similar to what I did in the “Obama Obama” video, only this time I didn’t cut the camera off. I filmed the entire video straight through in one shot so that the background would also look stationary the entire time (i.e. no small little off movements – yes, I notice those types of things).

2. The hardest part of the shoot was wearing the box on my head. Right above me was our chandelier, and I had to duck down so I wouldn’t hit it with the top of the box!

3. I didn’t just want to shoot the video in front of a boring old flat wall. Luckily, the wall I used is one that has 3 squares on it. Sometimes, even a simple addition to a background can make it less boring!

4. I didn’t know what to wear for the “T-Pain” part in terms of clothing, since most of his clothing in his videos seem pretty elaborate. I figured a vest would be a good contrast to “Kanye” and me, who were more dressed down.

5. While editing, it dawned on me to start the song with the first panel of the video.  Usually I have all my “Get A.P.T. Stuff” advertisements run BEFORE I actually start the song.  However, I wanted people to get into the song right away, as soon as they clicked on it.  So, the video runs the length of the song, nothing more, nothing less!

6. Estimated time for editing: About 20 minutes to add the effects, 39 minutes to transfer the video into Windows Media, another 2 hours to cut and splice everything together… so, about 4 hours total.  Also, I would have added more edit cuts and effects, but I ended up calling the cops on my roommates after I heard screams of “Stop It! You’re hurting me!” coming from the woman half of the couple.  I can’t wait to get my own place…

That’s all for now! Incidentally, “The Next Black President (a.k.a. Back on My Grind)” mixtape is available NOW for FREE download – consider it my Christmas gift to you!

Only 23 more videos to go – see ya next week!

-A.P.T.

E-Mail: aptsongs@hotmail.com

MySpace: www.myspace.com/NotoriousAPT

Soundclick: www.soundclick.com/APT

obama-shirt-long

Above: The “I Voted For O-Bama! O-Bama!” T-shirt!  Available in all sizes!
Short-sleeve, sweatshirts, mugs, hats, and iron-on press design also available – click
HERE for info!

This week’s music video is for the song, “Stop Cockblockin’!!” from “The A.P.T. LP,” produced by ME!!

INSIGHT INTO A SONG:

This is one of my all-time favorite original songs that I’ve written – yet, like many of my songs, it actually started off as a parody!

Let’s travel back in time to spring of 2007, when an artist named Huey had a humongous hit song called “Pop, Lock, and Drop It.” The song was playing just about everywhere, from the clubs to the radio – yet, because I had neither a car or went out clubbing too much (nor did I watch too much TV at the time), I had NO idea of the song’s existence.

I think I was at home one day when I finally saw the video for it on B.E.T., and found the song to be annoying but infectious. Sure enough, I found myself singing its chorus – the title of the song said over and over again – on a daily basis.

And when that happens, it’s only a matter of time before I start thinking of my own words to put in place of the original words.

Sure enough, I soon changed “Pop, Lock and Drop It” to “Cockblockin’? Stop it!” I thought it was pretty funny, and I envisioned a parody of the original song where I’d be telling a girl’s friend to stop blocking any action from taking place.

One problem with parodies, though, is that, if you can’t remake the original beat to a song, you can’t legally sell it. However, for some odd reason, copyright law allows you to do a parody of a song without having to pay the original person royalties, so long as you are able to remake the beat and have it sound slightly different from its song of origin. This is why I could make “Obama Obama” and sell it – I wrote the words and remade the beat.

With Huey’s song, though, I didn’t really want to go through the hassle of having to remake a beat. Sure, it sounded simple enough to remake, but I thought, “Why do that when I could just make an original song instead?”

I didn’t really plan on making a beat for the song, but I was fooling around on Fruity Loops one day, and ended up making a bouncy-type dirty south beat that I thought would go perfect with the song. Of course, at the time, all I had was the chorus – “Stop Cockblockin’! Stop Cockblockin’! Stop actin’ like a punk and stop cockblockin’!” – so I knew I’d have to fill the verses in with words of some kind.

Luckily – or unluckily, depending on how you look at it – coming up with words wasn’t that hard. I just thought back to all those times I went to the club where I’d be trying to talk to a girl, and her girlfriends would come up and ruin the flow of the conversation… or, if we were dancing, they would completely interrupt our good time and take her friend way from me.

For example: in college, I was at a party, and I walked up to this girl, and we started dancing. She looked back at me (it’s the look girls always do to see if the guy they are dancing with is attractive enough for them to continue on with) and kept on dancing. We were having a good time…

…and then, out of no where, her girlfriend runs up to her, yells “NOOOOOO!” like it was a bad drama movie, and pulled her girlfriend away from me!!!

So… yeah. Needless to say, the song wasn’t that hard to write 🙂

Some Interesting Song Tidbits:

1. For the chorus, I always envisioned having Lil’ Jon for the vocals. Of course, I’m not famous enough yet to be in the same circle as Lil’ Jon, so I’m basically doing the best Lil’ Jon-sounding voice I possibly can. If anyone knows how I can get in touch with Lil’ Jon, PLEASE let me know – I’d still love him to be on the chorus!

2. The person doing the woman’s part in the song is my friend Michele, a.k.a. Ms. Theory. She has been a great help in many of my song projects, including “Crank Dat (Yeah!)” and as the voice of the girl breaking our date in the “Back to the Future” video.

3. The last line of the second verse is said similar in style to the last line in Huey’s “Pop, Lock, and Drop It.” The last line in that song went, “…. pop, lock and drop it,” and mine goes “So you can tell your friend that if she’s cockblockin’, stop it.” I believe I actually had this line of the song first before I went back and wrote the rest of the verses!

4. I was originally going to make this song 3 verses, with verse 3 being a chant of some kind. But the song was already approaching 4 minutes. In the world of music, it’s important to know when you should add more to a song, and when you should go ahead and finish it up, and I think this one was fine having only 2 verses.

INSIGHT INTO A VIDEO SHOOT:

Man, oh man. I’ve wanted to shoot a video for this song for the longest time, and I’ve had DOZENS of ideas for what I wanted to do.

First, I wanted to film it with me walking out of a club, screaming, then walking down the street filming myself mouthing the words to the song. Only problem: I don’t have an MP3 player, and trying to carry a laptop while carrying a camera AND mouthing song words was NOT going to be possible.

Second, I wanted to film it as though I had just gotten home from the club, frustrated that I didn’t get any, and I was going to sit down at my laptop and blog an angry post about it. But that seemed too… boring.

Third, I was going to try and either get one of my friends or my brother to be in it, and I’d act like I was telling them the story of what happened at the club the night before. Only problem: let’s just say, coordinating times with people for when I want them to do stuff is always a problem, and at this point I’d just rather do everything myself since I know I can rely on me to do the takes how I want AND do it at the time I’d like it done.

Finally, I settled on an idea – I would film it in our downstairs bathroom, and act like I was at still at the club but phoning my friend to tell him that I was about to take a girl home.

Then, before I started filming, I remembered that the second verse of the song has me talking to the girl as if I wasn’t trying to take her home. How could I say the verse in the video if I was still at the club, and hadn’t actually taken her home yet?

Then it dawned on me: I could act like I already took her home, and that the lines I said to her at the club made her comfortable enough to go home with me. Genius!!

After much setting up of camera angles, I was able to post my camera on a box sitting on a towel bar to film myself doing the song in the bathroom. After I filmed there, I went to the kitchen to film the “wilin’ out” version of me (i.e. the crazy version of me doing the song, as opposed to the more subdued version in the bathroom).

As for my clothes in the video, they consist of blue jeans, a U.S.A. jacket I bought from some store in Hampton, VA that no longer exists…

…and my very own self-made “I Voted For O-Bama! O-Bama!” t-shirt!

Part of the reason I held off on making the video was because I wanted to have this T-shirt to wear in it so I could start selling it. I wanted to do a test run of it first, though, to see if the shirt would actually sell. So, I went to Wal-Mart and bought a long-sleeve shirt ($5), 2 short-sleeve shirts ($8), and some iron-on paper.

Once I got home, I came up with a nice-looking design (which is COPYRIGHT-protected – I WILL sue if I find out copies were made) and test-ironed it onto the short-sleeve shirts…

…and the designs didn’t stick too well. “Aw crap,” I thought to myself, “so much for THAT idea!”

2 days later, though, I wanted to give it one more try. So, I got out the long-sleeve shirt this time, and ironed the design on the shirt. Lo and behold, it worked this time! (Well, most of the way, anyway).

So now, I have “I Voted For O-Bama! O-Bama!” T-shrits available for sale in the merchandise section! (NOTE: If you buy the shirt, it will NOT be an iron-on, but a professional printing of the shirt. The iron-on was just for testing purposes so people would know what the shirt they are buying would look like).

Lastly, since I was going to be selling Obama-related stuff, I thought it would be funny to do a re-enactment of the club scene using political figures. For this reason, I put together stick puppets using familiar politcal figures’ faces.  The part of me in the story retelling is played by “Obama,” while the girl being hit on is played by “Michele” and the cock-blockin’ girlfriend is – who else – “Hillary!” (I’m sure Bill Clinton would agree with Hillary being a cock-blocker!)

All in all, this was a fun video to make for a song I absolutely love!

Some Insights Into the Video Shoot:

1. I shot most of this thing at 1 AM in the morning on Wednesday, while the rest of my housemates were asleep!

2. The bathroom used in the video is the downstairs half-bathroom. There is also a bathroom upstairs, but it has a tub in it. I was originally going to act like the bathroom was in the club, and I don’t believe many clubs have bathrooms with tubs in it!

3. Many of the ideas or things used in this video are throwbacks to other videos I’ve done. The bathroom-as-location idea? Also used in “Shout Out 2 My Big Girls” (video #2) and “It’s Over” (video #8). The Kanye West glasses? Also used in video #2. Me talking on the phone? Also used in “Back to the Future” (video #6). I guess this is what happens after you’ve filmed 28 videos!

4. The design for the “I Voted For O-bama! O-Bama!” shirt was ironed on. However, since I still haven’t quite figured out how to get the design to stick 100%, some of the lettering had to be touched up using permanent marker. Again, for the actual shirts being sold, it’s being made professionally, but I didn’t want to spend excessive money on ONE shirt if it ended up not selling. Let’s hope it does!!

5. I was going to use popsicle sticks for the backing of the puppets, but I had no idea where to buy them without having to buy actual popsicles – and, given how cold the weather has been, I was definitely NOT going to do that! So, I found a cardboard box instead and cut out thin rectangles to glue their faces to.  Genius!

6. Estimated time for video editing: I can’t remember.  I was editing the video while doing other stuff throughout the course of the day.  Now that I’ve moved to D.C. I’ve actually picked up a social life, so I’m usually editing something then getting interupted to go hang out.  If I had to guess, though, I’d say about 4 or 5 hours.

That’s all for now! Incidentally, I only have ONE more video to shoot for the songs off my album – still have no idea what the video will look like, but here’s hoping I think of something soon!

-A.P.T.

E-Mail: aptsongs@hotmail.com

MySpace: www.myspace.com/NotoriousAPT

Soundclick: www.soundclick.com/APT

This week’s music video is for the song, “You’re Outta Luck,” appearing on my upcoming NEW album (out January 7th, 2009)!

INSIGHT INTO A SONG:

A lot of times when I write songs, I write them with the intent of making them the opposite of what is currently out on radio.

For “You’re Outta Luck,“ I knew I wanted to write a song where a guy – me – was hitting on a girl, but I didn’t want to make it the traditional rap guy/girl song where the guy is always bragging about what he can buy the girl, where he can take the girl, and how extravagant her lifestyle will now be as a result of dating him.

Instead, I wanted to write a song closer to my reality, only make it funny. I wrote this song last year, and at the time, there were a lot of things I didn’t have, and therefore couldn’t realistically use to pick up a girl. No expensive car, no meals at the most expensive place in town, and definitely no huge shopping sprees.

I decided to write about things I thought would be funny for a guy to try and use when picking up a girl: picking her up on his bicycle, obtaining flowers for her in a very inappropriate place, and taking her for a dinner out at a fast food place.

I can’t remember if I had the beat for this song first or the words itself. What I do remember is, I made the beat as simplistic as possible, and the words just seemed to match up with the beat. It’s mostly drums, mixed in with some cool synth sounds and a chorus that includes a high-rise beat. As for the words to the chorus… well, you’ll just have to hear it for yourself!

Incidentally, this is one of the first songs I recorded with my H2 ZOOM microphone. I think I had just gotten it a couple of weeks beforehand, and, in the course of testing out its recording abilities on my laptop, I recorded this song.

Some Interesting Song Tidbits:

1. I recorded the song using my “low-tone, sexy voice.” I always recorded songs in a regular tone, but that was only because, up to that point, none of the mics I used were powerful enough to pick up my voice when I talked low. With this mic, I wanted to see if it could actually pick it up – and it did! Plus, I figured it would be a good way to pay homage to LL Cool J, who is notorious for doing these types of songs.

2. The original second part of the chorus started out with me saying, “But I’m broke as f–k.” However, since I didn’t cuss in the rest of the song, I decided to change it to “But I’m broke as what?” If there’s one thing I learned from the “Obama Obama” song, it’s that you NEVER know when a song will be good enough to be played on radio, and, since I’m not yet signed, I didn’t want anything to deter radio programmers from playing it, especially if they didn’t feel like editing the song themselves!

3. My favorite line in the song… actually, my favorite stanza is the first 4 lines of the second verse, where I talk about taking the girl out to dinner. It’s hilarious, to say the least!

INSIGHT INTO A VIDEO SHOOT:

Okay, so, once again, my plan was to shoot a video for one of the two songs off “The A.P.T. LP” that haven’t been shot yet. And once again, real life interfered with those plans.

I was going to shoot a video for _____ this week. However, I’m trying to start selling merchandise outside of just music on the site, and one of the things I wanted to do was wear a T-shirt in the video that I’d have available for sale. I bought the materials, and was going to do a test-run of the shirt by doing an iron press-on version.

To make a long story short: I ironed the design on the shirt, and most of it didn’t stick on. Bummer.

I thought of another video I could do instead, but my brother asked me to accompany him to a gig he was DJ-ing. And I don’t miss any opportunity to go out of town, especially when it means I might be able to get some stock footage to use for later videos!

Luckily, when this type of thing happens, I have music videos stored up that I filmed prior to starting this site. So, that’s what you get this week!

I don’t know why, but I had recorded the “You’re Outta Luck” song before my college’s Homecoming weekend, and had made a copy to put on disc so I could listen to it while driving. I borrowed my Mom’s car that weekend, and on the way back, I decided to film myself singing to the song.

I didn’t want to just put up a boring ol’ footage shot video of me driving and singing. So, I added some funky-looking effects to it, and voila – instantly cooler-looking video!

Call it vanity, but looking back, I’m glad I did it – it means I don’t have to film anything this weekend, and I still have a video to put up!

Some Interesting Video Insights:

1. I filmed it last October while driving back from Homecoming. The highway I was on was I-64 West.

2. I actually shot two versions of this video because, at the time, I was using an online program to make all my videos and didn’t know which one would better sync up with the vocals once I posted the song with the video and overdubbed it. Yes, it was a crappy program.

3. Shooting time for the video only took about 20 minutes. However, adding the effects to this thing took a LOT longer than the actual shoot!

That’s all for now – I’m out of archived videos, so you’ll see something new next week!

-A.P.T.

E-mail: aptsongs@hotmail.com
MySpace: www.myspace.com/NotoriousAPT
Soundclick: www.soundclick.com/APT


Above: Video #26, “What Do I Do” – the official half-way point of my “One-Song-a-Week” Experiment!

This week’s music video is for the song, “What Do I Do,” from “The A.P.T. EP” – i.e. my very FIRST album!!

INSIGHT INTO A SONG:

Before I get into the song itself, let me give you some background on “The A.P.T. EP.” In short: it was a disc I made in college as a result of interest I had built in my music from some of the students around campus.

Much like I did with the “Obama Obama” song, I was known around campus for taking current songs, and changing them up for my voice message greeting. I did this over the span of 4 years, and people knew I was the guy to go to for parodies.

When I hit my senior year, I wanted to put out a whole CD of parody songs, along with a few of my own original songs as well. I bought myself a drum kit and a Pocketstudio, and, over the span of a few months, put together “The A.P.T. EP (This is ONLY a Demo)” I added the “demo” tag because I knew that, since I was sampling other people’s beats (and, in some cases, blatantly re-using them), I had to let people know it was strictly for demo purposes (just in case a big-wig record company guy ever came across it and said, “Hey… this guy used somebody else’s beats!”)

Anyway, I gave a few copies to my friends, as well as some people who didn’t know me too well but liked my music. This was 4 years ago, when I was still in college.

Since then, I’ve made other musical disc (see: “Check the Resume,” “The O-Bama Mixtape,” and “The A.P.T. LP”), and, in the hustle and bustle of life, I managed to misplace all the copies of “The A.P.T. EP” I had made all those years ago.

Then, I went back to my Mom’s house 2 weeks ago to help her pack up the house for her move. In the process of going through my things, I managed to come across two copies of “The A.P.T. EP,” still in good condition!

I was ecstatic! I went to run an errand in my Mom’s car (still don’t have one of my own yet) just so I could have an excuse to listen to the first disc I made so long ago.

Man… it’s weird to hear the first set of songs I made. I made it in 2004, so some of the references on the songs are outdated, and the songs I parodied aren’t relevant any more. As for how I sound on it, I think I was still going through my “trying to sound like Eminem” stage, as a lot of the songs and concepts I used were similar in style to what he would have done at the time.

Nevertheless, it’s still a pretty good listen, and, even in my recording infancy, there were some songs I made on there that stood out.

One of the songs is the one I chose to make a video for this week, “What Do I Do?” It’s a song where I talk about my realization that (a) girls have finally started to show interest in me, and (b) that it took so long for them to notice me that I had no idea what moves I needed to make to keep her interest.

Even though I wrote this song 4 years ago, I remember exactly how it came about. I was sitting in our school’s cafeteria one day, eating alone (which, for the record, was on PURPOSE – I like spending time alone because it allows me to think of creative things to do… like, for instance, build this website!). As I was eating, I saw this cute-looking girl sit about 4 seats to the left of me.

I’m quite an observant fellow, and I noticed that, as she was eating, she kept looking over at me. It was one of those looks that said, “I wish this guy would talk to me – he looks kind of cute!” (Note: that’s not me being vein, it’s me being observant.)

Little did she know, though, that my interaction with girls prior to her sitting down had not always gone the way I wanted them to go. There have been many times in my life where I’d try and go after a girl, only to be shot down with a “No,” or would end up in a situation where I thought a girl liked me, only to be fooled later when, after being the “friend” that was always there for her, she’d end up liking another guy instead.

Even when I finally was able to figure out if a girl was interested in me, I still didn’t know what moves I had to make to keep her interested. Of course, I know now that if a girl IS interested in you, you don’t really have to DO too much (other than respect her and spend time with her). But for the place I was at in my life at the time, I couldn’t think of anything interesting to say or think of a way to start up a conversation…

So, even though I thought she was cute and single… I did NOT make a move. I just continued to eat, staring straight ahead until she finally got up from the table, in a frustrated, “why didn’t he talk to me” type of way, and left.

After she was gone, I immediately took out my pencil and my writing journal, and started penning the words to the song. I basically wrote out what I would have liked to say to the girl about WHY I didn’t try to holler at her.

At the same time I wrote this song, though, I was still in recording mode for “The A.P.T. EP,” and knew that I wanted a sing-songy type of song, similar in vein to the song Emimen recorded for his daughter Hailey (from “The Eminem Show” – I can’t remember the song name now!). I just so happen to have downloaded a beat from soundclick.com that was perfect for this type of song – I could “harmonize” on the first two verses, then come in at the end with a rap verse that summarized the song.

Even to this day, this is one of my favorite songs that I’ve recorded. It’s an honest portrayal of where I was a that time in my life, but I’m sure the song’s sentiment is one that shy guys deal with all the time when it comes to handling the opposite sex!

Some Interesting Song Tidbits:

1. When I download other people’s beats these days, I make a note to save the beat with the name of the producer – that way, if they take the beat down, I can still contact them and ask them for beat use. 4 years ago, that wasn‘t the case – I did not produce this record, but have no idea who did. And – seeing as it was 4 years ago – I don’t even know if that person is still on the soundclick website. However, to make sure I don’t get sued, I can’t sell the song – thus, this song, along with the rest of “The A.P.T. EP,” is a FREE download!

2. I recorded this track using a 4-track recording Pocketstudio 5, which, at the time, I thought was the best machine I could by to record songs, at an “affordable” price (I think the machine costs me $250 or more). Nowadays I use a computer program called Samplitude, which can definitely record more than 4 tracks. Still, it was a pretty cool machine, and the fact that I could double up my vocals for my songs blew my mind!

3. The second verse of the song is a musical retelling of the events that happened in the cafeteria that day that inspired the song. And, like the song says, I really did go out of my way to ignore her, but only because I didn’t know what I would say to her, and therefore found it pointless to say ANYTHING to her. For all I know, we could be getting hitched today had I made a move!

INSIGHT INTO A VIDEO SHOOT:

I knew I wanted to shoot a video for this song… EVENTUALLY. Just not this week.

I still have two more video shoots to go for songs off “The A.P.T. LP,” and the plan was to actually shoot a video for “Hooptie” this week.

However, I DO have a life outside of making these music videos, and sometimes things have to be rearranged.

I wanted to use other people in the last two videos I have for the album because I feel they are two of the stand-out songs that will be huge “hits,” and I didn’t want to have to stifle my visions for those videos simply because time schedules by either me or the people I want in the videos were out of wack.

At the same time, though, I knew I needed a video for this week, and I already had an idea for “What Do I Do” that was simplistic, easy to shoot, and would get my point across for the song.

The video shoot itself came about by accident. I had gone to a job interview that day, and had used my brother’s car. After the interview was over, I had one simple mission: drive the car back to where my brother works so he could drive me home during his lunch break.

One problem: I got lost! I haven’t been in D.C. that long, and most places I go involve me catching the bus/train. So, even though I had been to his office a few times, it was usually with map-blasted directions, which I didn’t think to print out this particular time.

Yada yada yada, I end up getting to his office an hour later than expected. Because of this lateness, I had to sit around in the cafeteria for 2 hours while he finished up his work day. After I ate some Chinese food, read a book, and called up another place for a job interview, I got bored.

So, I walked over to the lobby of the building, where there was a desk and a chair, propped up next to a wall that had a background with wallpaper containing green leafs in its design. Being bored, I started thinking: “hmm, it would be nice if I could shoot a music video of some kind here…”

And, of course, I had my laptop and camera with me (like I always do – well, most of the time). I didn’t know how much time I had to record something, but I figured I had at least a good 30 minutes before my brother would be done with his work.

The shoot itself was very, VERY simple. The idea was to simply record myself staring into the camera pensively while the song played, not mouthing a single word until the rap part of the song comes on. This was to give viewers the idea that the song itself was actually being thought by me rather than sung by me. The look I have on my face is one of distant disbelief: for the first 2 verses I don’t blink AT ALL, and when I finally start mouthing the words of the song, it’s still like I’m in a state of “why does this keep happening every time I meet a girl.”

I shot it with the green leaf backdrop because… well, it was better than using a non-decorative wall, that’s why!

Once the video was shot, I packed up my stuff, right around the same time my brother came out of his office and was ready to go!

Some Interesting Video Tidbits:

1. After a few pre-production shots, I shot the video itself in ONE take.

2. My original goal was to try and not blink for the ENTIRE video. However, the location of the lobby where I shot this thing had a vent over it, and was blowing into my eyes the whole time. Eventually, I HAD to blink.

3. This isn’t the first video I’ve made where I use ONE shot for the whole video. However, it IS the first video I’ve made where I didn’t use any cut-away shots combined with fast camera movement. (My video for “A.P.T. (What’s My Name)” came close, but there’s a cut with the censor bar in it midway through the video.) Again, I really wanted the emotions to read off my face, and felt that using extra cuts would take away from that.

4. After the 1st minute and a half of holding that camera, my arm started to hurt. That’s why camera looks shaky at times – its not even that heavy, but it takes a LOT of effort to hold something so awkward for such a “long” time!

5. After I shot the video, my brother got mad that I used his work place as a site to make videos. He was all like, “what if someone had come out and seen you?’ and blah, blah, blah. He cares very much about what people think about him – which is all good – but sometimes, I’m just like, “I could give a flying crap about that, I have a goal to accomplish.” Besides, I wasn’t even making noise in the lobby!

6. Estimated time for editing the video: well, the editing itself only took about 30 minutes. It was the publishing that took the longest. Since there’s only one section of the video where I mouth the words to the song, I kept having to republish the darn video because, once it was done, I’d find that the mouthing of words didn’t match up to where they were being said in the song. Estimated publishing time: about an hour and a half!!!

That’s all for now! By the way: This video represents the half-way mark of my little “One-Song-a-Week” experiment. Remember the goal, people: one music video every Sunday for ONE year – only 26 more videos to go!

-A.P.T.

E-mail: aptsongs@hotmail.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/NotoriousAPT
Soundclick: http://www.soundclick.com/APT


Above: A.P.T. will be interviewed/co-hosting an internet radio show, BlazeRadio!  LIVE, tonight at 8PM EST/7 CST.  Click the video for info on how to hear it on iTunes!!


These days, I get a LOT of fan mail.  Most of it is from the comments I receive on my videos courtesy of YouTube, but I also get messages from people requesting certain services from me (collaborations, beat usage, etc.)


Occasionally, I’ll get an offer to be interviewed.  These are the messages I like best because they allow me to get the word out about my music and stuff that I’m selling.  And such is the case with one of my recent messages: this college radio broadcast from Alabama – www.blazeradio.org– has asked if they could interview me for their show.  Being that Barack Obama won the election – and, being that I made the oh-so-popular “Obama Obama” song – they want to interview me.


I thought that was pretty cool… but it turns out, they’d also like me to co-host the show for the first hour!  So, I will be calling in to the show to do that tomorrow!


I’m spreading the word out so that others can hear the broadcast if they so choose to do so.  Tell your friends, and pass along the video – it tells you everything you need to know about when the interview starts, where you can hear it and how to listen to it.


That’s all for now!


-A.P.T.


E-mail: aptsongs@hotmail.com


MySpace: www.myspace.com/NotoriousAPT


Soundclick: www.soundclick.com/APT

Above: Obama Wins. What else needs to be said??

-A.P.T.

E-mail: aptsongs@hotmail.com

MySpace: www.myspace.com/NotoriousAPT

Soundclick: www.soundclick.com/APT

Another week, another video in the can…

Next week will be my 26th video.  I started this whole “One-Song-a-Week” project on the last Sunday in May, with the goal of making at least ONE video a week – preferably every Sunday – for ONE year.  The goal was to get myself an audience for my songs, earn some money, become popular enough to where I could start touring, and get national recognition, which would, in turn, get me noticed enough to get signed by a major record label.

So, how have I done so far?

  • Audience for songs? Check – and a rather BIG one at that.  I regularly get about 200-300 readers on this site daily, a drastic pickup from the 10 to 12 I got when I first started.
  • Earn some money? Check – but not as much as I’d like.  I’ve received donations, and have sold quite a few singles, as well as copies of my album, “The A.P.T. LP.”
  • Become popular? YES, if only for one song – “Obama Obama,” which ended up being a bigger hit than I ever, EVER, expected.  Popular enough to tour? Not yet.  I got one offer during the summer to do college gigs (never heard back from them, though).  Yet, despite posting my E-mail address all over YouTube, I have yet to receive any offers to tour with any big-name (or small-name) musicians.  Guess I still have to grind a lil’ harder!
  • National recognition? YES! Of course, when you do a song about a popular Presidential candidate and put it to a beat that’s eerily similar to the hottest song out by the hottest artist, you’re bound to get national recognition.  This, of course, is in hindsight, and even if I HAD known, I would have never guessed the song would have gone global!
  • Major record label deal? NO. But to be fair, I didn’t send off any demos to anybody during this whole “Obama Obama” craze.  How dumb was that?!?

The truth of the matter is, having a song like “Obama Obama” taught me quite a few lessons about how the industry works:

  1. Industry rule #4080 rings true: Industry people are SHA-DY!!  I had radio DJs AND up-and-coming MCs (I’m talking about YOU, Tyga) trying to take credit for MY song.  In the case of Tyga, he was able to tour around the country performing his Obama song, while I continued to work at a crappy job where I dealt with crappy customers all day!
  2. MAKE SURE ALL YOUR STUFF IS COPYRIGHTED AND AFFILIATED WITH ASCAP or BMI.  That way, if people try to take claim to your songs, you can show proof of creation.
  3. It pays to have people to help get you to the next level.  I probably could have toured off this stuff, but I don’t have any managers or connections that would allow me to link up with other artists.  I could have been an opening act all summer, and been fine with it!
  4. If you aren’t going to perform, make sure your marketing game is TIGHT.  I was able to make some money off the instrumental of the beat, as well as having my song available for download.  Even without having major marketing dollars, I was able to make a profit off my songs.

Most importantly, though: TAKE A HOLD OF OPPORTUNITY WHEN IT COMES TO YOU AND RUN WITH IT.  I kept telling myself all summer that I didn’t want this song to be the one I got famous off of.  I didn’t want to risk being forever known as “The Obama Guy,” when I’ve clearly done 24 other videos so far outside of that one song. 

At the same time, had I known better, I would have done the opposite: I would have branded myself as “The Obama Guy” (in the same way that “The Obama Girl” did) and done enough clips about Obama online to gain national attention for it and earn money that way.

Of course, I still would have probably had that conflict of “if I had done that, would I have been taken seriously as an MC?”  I read one of Russell Simmons’ books where he talked about designers coming to him and wanting to add baggy jeans and jerseys to the Phat Farm clothing line.  He was tempted at first, but didn’t want to change the image of his line just to make a few quick dollars off a fad that would go away and leave his line in jeopardy.

So, in a sense, I didn’t want to be tagged as “The Obama Guy,” then have to struggle once the election was over to carve out a new identity.  As of right now, I have fans that watch my videos weekly – not as much as the number of viewers who have watched “Obama Obama,” but every fan base has to start somewhere, and I’m not trying to look like a sell-out to them, no matter how big or small it might be.

So, what is “The Obama Guy” doing for election night?  I was going to go to downtown D.C. and party at some place being hosted by a local radio station.  But I’m not really that much of a party guy – I think, instead, I’ll be heading home to catch “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report” coverage of the election results.

As for this week’s video, it will be for one of the two songs off “The A.P.T. LP” that I have yet to shoot a video for.  The last video from the album will be shot next week.  These are two songs that, in my opinion, should be BIG hits, and I hope to be able to include people outside of just me in the video to give them more entertainment value.

Let’s just hope I can pull it off…

-A.P.T.


This week’s music video is for the song, “The O-Bama Mixtape Intro (a.k.a. A Time 4 Change).”

INSIGHT INTO A SONG:

“The O-bama Mixtape.” My first official musical offering to the public. And man, oh man, what a journey it’s been.

Since I released the mixtape on July 27th, it has been downloaded well over 1500 times, and I’m sure it’s been bootlegged and spread much more than that. Heck, I even found it on Limewire! It’s truly been a blessing to have my music spread to so many people.

Seeing as the mixtape had a title to it that mentioned a Presidential candidate – namely, Sen. Barack Obama – and was put together as a result of a song I did called “Obama, Obama,” which ended up being played on radio stations both in the U.S. and in other countries, I felt the need to put some other politically-related tracks on the mixtape.

I had already recorded a few tracks – “Kick Bush” and “Hey Jesse Jackson” – but I felt the mixtape needed something Obama-related to start it off the right way. I went on YouTube to look at speeches Obama had made, and found a sound clip from his now infamous speech about race in America that I could use.

Once I had the clip, though, I still felt like I needed an opening song that talked about Obama. I didn’t necessarily need a song that had a chorus to it, but something that would allow me to say a few more things about the potential next President.

This is one of those songs where I actually wrote the song before I had the beat. Unlike the “Obama Obama” song, where I was trying to do a parody and it took 2 to 3 days to write, this one was actually a lot easier to write because I wasn’t copying another song. And I knew what I wanted to talk about in the majority of the song: how white people still fear him because he’s black, and how white people shouldn’t be mad at me or other Blacks for voting for him based on skin color since there are millions of them who will be voting for McCain for the same reason.

Note: I’m not voting for Obama just because he’s Black. However, I think White people need not be so hypocritical of Blacks who decide to vote for that very reason – they’ve been voting for White candidates based on their Whiteness for years!

After the song was written, it was time to find a beat to use for it. I wanted to use a familiar beat, one people had heard before from a popular artist. I had a few beats in mind that I wanted to use, and almost went with T.I.’s “No Matter What” beat.

Only problem: to me, the beat was too slow. Most of the beats used on the mixtape are fast-paced and/or uptempo. I feel like the opening song on an album should give listeners an idea of how the rest of their musical journey is going to be, and should, therefore, match that image. So, I decided to use another beat – the instrumental from “I Run This,” which, ironically enough, is a song that features Lil’ Wayne!

(Sidebar: I don’t know what the heck it is with me choosing all these Lil’ Wayne beats to make songs over – I need to cut out the middle man and find the people doing his beats, ‘cause they are awesome!)

Once I had the beat, I attached the 30-second Obama sound bite to the beginning of the beat, then did the song – and it came out BANGIN’!!

Some Interesting Song Tidbits:

1. I did the intro in one take. I didn’t want to use double-up voicing or any special effects because I wanted the intro of the mixtape to sound genuine, i.e. not like a “song,” but more like a conversation that just happened to sound song-like.

2. Again, I felt it important to mention my opinions on two important factors facing Obama in the election: (a) that White people still had unwarranted fears about having a Black man as President, and (b) that they didn’t want to vote for him just because he was a black candidate. I find it stupid that every time a black man is about to be the first to do something, all these issues about whether they’re “qualified” or not comes up. Yeah, and Bush, who is White, was REALLY qualified to be Commander-in-Chief. Get the f–k outta here!

3. I have a few favorite lines in the song, but my absolute favorite is: “White people still fearing a man of color/Even though his mother whiter than bleached pillow covers.” White people see him as “black,” even though his upbringing is, ironically, one most of their own children have gone through. He had a white Mother, was raised around White aunts, uncles, and grandparents, went to schools like Harvard that most whites hold in high regard… heck, he’s half-white! But since his skin is still dark, they’ll throw labels on him that don’t belong. Thus, the irony of the line itself.

INSIGHT INTO A VIDEO SHOOT:

Choosing to do a video for this song was easy. It’s only a couple of days before the election, and – seeing as we’ll have a new President on Tuesday – I figure that all Obama-related songs, regardless of how good they are, will be obsolete as of Wednesday (thought, hopefully, I’m wrong – I’d LOVE to be able to sell the single until Inauguration day!).

In the course of this election, I’ve done other political songs about Obama (see: “Obama, Obama,” “Shine 4 Obama”) as well as John McCain (“John McCain is a PIMP”). This is the only song related to either candidate that I haven’t done a video for yet – gotta get them all out while I can!

Plus, I’m not really the type of guy to go out and campaign, but now that I’ve got a large following on YouTube, MySpace and Soundclick, I can at least get my message out to people via the internet!

For the video, I decided I wanted to do it like a Public Service Announcement. It’s simply me, sitting at a table/desk, spitting out my song like an infomercial.

Filming for it was REAL easy. For some reason, I went to bed the night before at around 7 PM, which caused me to wake up at about 3 AM. Since I was up and had nothing to do – and since the rest of my housemates were asleep – I figured it was a good time to film a video.

I have limited furniture, but one of my housemates has a table downstairs that she sits at ALL DAY LONG watching TV. It looks like a card table, and the chair she has looks like a professional desk chair. So, since no one was up, I snuck downstairs, removed all the items off the table (being sure to remember where everything was placed), then got dressed up in a suit jacket and tie.

Since my beloved camera stand was left behind in ATL, I used the “stacking suitcases” method that I used to film the “Fly Chick” video. I did two takes – one with a close-up zoom and one with a camera angle shooting a bit farther away – then placed everything back on the table, packed up my things, and went back to bed.

The whole shoot took less than an hour!

BTW, with all this online “campaigning” I’ve been doing for Obama, I hope he sends me a check if he wins!

Some Interesting Video Tidbits:

1. I only dressed up half-way for this video. Since I didn’t plan on filming the bottom half of myself, I wore jeans instead of dress pants. This is similar to what I did in the video for “Your Mother is a Ho!,” where I wore shorts instead of slacks.

2. I didn’t want my housemate to know I had used her stuff, so I had to be as careful as possible not to wake anybody up. There were a few times where I’d remove all the stuff from the table, then I’d hear creaking upstairs and had to place all the stuff back on the table. What was on the table? A 13-inch TV, stacks of clipped coupons, scissors, a cotton hat, an original Playstation System with 2 controllers, a case holding video games, and a CD holder.

3. Edit time for this video: about an hour and a half. Even though I filmed two takes, I used the second one for the majority of the video, and only used a small clip from the first take for the last line of the song.

4. Also, the song on the mixtape is wee bit longer. After the part where I say “It’s time… for the climate to change,” I rant on for a few seconds about how this mixtape is going to be different from other ones. I didn’t think that part was necessary for the video, though.

That’s all for now! Incidentally, next week will be my 26th video, i.e. the halfway mark of my little experiment. Doing this for a year has been HARD, but so far it’s also been a lot of fun!

See ya next week!

-A.P.T.

P.S. I lost my job this week, and still managed to make a video. Truly, I am dedicated. I also need money – so please, for the love of God, buy “The A.P.T. LP” – you can buy the songs individually or as a whole album!

E-mail: aptsongs@hotmail.com
MySpace: www.myspace.com/NotoriousAPT
Soundclick: www.soundclick.com/APT

This week’s music video is for the song, “True Lyricist,” from “The O-Bama Mixtape.”

AVAILABLE EXCLUSIVELY ON “THE O-BAMA MIXTAPE” – Download for FREE by clicking the “Mixtape” link at the top of this page!

INSIGHT INTO A SONG:

In terms of song quality, this is one of my favorite songs that I’ve written.

I wrote this song around the time that Lil’ John was popular. For those of you not in the know, Lil’ John is an Atlanta “rapper” whose rhymes consisted of repeating offensive phrases (example: “I DON’T GIVE A F–K!” and WE’LL CRUSH THEM N!@@AS!!) in an extremely hype manner. His wordplay was definitely NOT up to par with rappers like Common or Talib Kweli, whose raps tend to delve into sonnets with deeper meanings about life, love, and helping our fellow man.

However, Lil’ John was able to sell millions of copies of his albums, something the other aforementioned rappers – and others like them – weren’t able to do.

This sparked a LOT of criticism from the hip-hop community. People like to think they are better than they actually are, and many of these people were hating on the fact that a guy like Lil’ John was barely saying anything in his songs yet selling tons of records, while artists who had “something to say,” i.e. “Conscious Rappers,” weren’t getting regular radio play or going gold off making songs that had meaning to them.

For me, though, I’ve always been a believer that just because people SAY they want one thing doesn’t mean they wouldn’t prefer another. It’s like a fat person saying they WANT to lose weight, that they NEED to lose weight… but they’re saying it while eating a whole box of Oreo cookies!

Personally, I’ve never had a problem with what people consider to be “commercialized” rap. I’m in this for two reasons: (a) for the love of the music, and (b) money. In order to make money at music, you have to be willing to adjust (read: not sell out or change, but adjust) your musical taste so that you can reach a larger audience of people.

Part of the reason so-called “Conscious rappers” don’t sell well is because they’re so stuck on this “Well, I’m going to do this rap thing MY way, and hope that people eventually catch on to it” crap that they can’t get anywhere.

A perfect example: too many of these rappers use beats that are slow, don‘t have a danceable tempo, and use words that even people with a college degree can’t understand. That’s great and all when you’re performing at an open-mic poetry night; however, the average listener isn’t going to listen to it if the beat isn’t bangin’, they can’t dance to it, and feel like the words are flying over their head. These are just some of the reasons why their songs go unheard by the masses.

These rappers, in my opinion, have a serious attitude problem. They can’t sell records doing rap the way they do it, so they get jealous when they see someone spitting out so-called “dumbed-down” lyrics (see: Lil’ John, Soulja Boy, Young Chris, Flo Rida, etc.) and start hating. HARD. They like to put together songs talking about how these types of rappers are killing the industry, how they have no talent, and why the stuff they’re putting out pales in comparison to the “real” music they, as a “Conscious rapper,” are putting out.

(BTW: I put that term in quotes because I think it’s a stupid term. Anyone that’s walking around speaking normal sentences tends to be conscious, and you can be just as awake talking about the government as you can be when talking about sexing someone. Morons).

So, in retaliation to all that – and, because I like to be different – I decided to make a song explaining WHY these types of rappers can’t get radio play.

The summary of the song: they can’t get radio play as easily as some other rappers because:

1. They try to hard to sound “deep”
2. They use words nobody can understand
3. They don’t realize that it’s not WHAT they’re saying that matters, it’s HOW they’re saying it
4. They don’t want to change for fear that they’d be “selling out”
5. They don’t want to consider using a different flow
6. They sound BORING!

The only thing I forgot to mention in the song was that they use beats that nobody can dance to. Sure, they can vibe off the beat, but when I’m at a party trying to get my groove on… sorry, Talib, but unless it’s your “Just to Get By” song (produced by Kanye West, a rapper/producer that can sound deep AND do it to a good beat), I ain’t trying to hear you at no party!

For this song, I already knew which beat I wanted to use. It’s the beat used by Tupac for “Ambitionz as a Ridah” off his double-disc, “All Eyez on Me.” The song has been reused by many MCs for the purpose of mixtapes and albums, and with good reason: it’s one of the most infectious west-coast beats ever produced. EVER. It’s one of those beats that just BEGS for someone to spit on it, and when I came up with the chorus for the song, it matched up with the beat only too well!

Some Interesting Song Tidbits:

1. In the original version, I said the line: “You mad ‘cause Lil’ John got a record deal…” However, Lil’ John’s been off the scene for a while due to legal issues with his former record company. Luckily, Soulja Boy gets the same types of criticism about his music that Lil’ John did, so I used his name instead.

2. The part of the song where I rap all fast like a “Conscious rapper”? That’s pretty much how fast I talk in real life when I’m not recording songs. For some reason, I’m able to speak the words of my songs at a normal pace, yet when I talk I have to try and slow myself down. Can’t figure out why that is…

3. My favorite line in the song: “I’m not gonna spend my time trying to guess/Every syl-able you said…”  The way I said the word “syllable” is not in the way it’s normally pronounced – it’s akin to something Eminem would do, and I’ve always been a big fan of his, too!

INSIGHT INTO A VIDEO SHOOT:

In terms of video quality, this is NOT one of my favorite videos.

This is video number 23, and, quite honestly, it’s starting to get harder and harder to figure out how many videos I can do where it’s just me on camera. Part of this is because I haven’t been able to record any new songs due to my recent move, and the fact that one of my housemates, who is a fat-ass and won’t ever leave the house to find a job (or do anything else for that matter), means I don’t have the alone time I need to record new stuff without bothering people.

In short, that means I have to make videos with whatever I already have recorded.

So, the video isn’t the best one I’ve made. However, since I like this song, I knew I needed to make something to it, if only to have it posted on YouTube and/or my websites for people to hear.

My original idea was to make it look like an underground video, with me dressed up in a hoodie and some jeans while spitting the song into the camera like I’m “hard.” However, the angles I wanted for it would have meant getting someone else to record me and move the camera around while I did the song.

Yeah… NEXT!

Then, I realized that my new room has a closet door with a big-ass mirror on it. I’ve always been fascinated as to how other directors were able to get mirror shots in their videos/movies without the camera showing in the background. I messed around with my camera a bit to see if I could do it; lo and behold, I could! This gave me a simple enough idea for a video, where I could have 2 versions of myself: the “real life” version of me who wants to be a “True Lyricist,” and a mirrored version of me who knew it would be better to try and figure out how to make people actually want to HEAR the music.

The rest of the video just kind of came about without too much planning. I shot the scenes of “mirror me” dressed in a grey hoodie with blue jeans, while the “real-life me” had on a blue shirt and pajamas. He’s at his laptop trying to record another “conscious rapper-like” song, and gets interrupted by “mirror me” in the process. The “True Lyricist” song is the talk that “mirror me” has with “real-life me” about switching up his style a bit so that it relates to others.

Like I said, a pretty simple video.  With the way I edited it, it actually came out looking pretty good.  Still, I’ve done better!

Some Interesting Video Tidbits:

1. I no longer have my camera stand – it wouldn’t fit in the box when I moved – so I had to use one of my packing boxes and my big suitcase for the camera angles.

2. In the opening of the video, I do an example of what most “Conscious rappers” sound like by recording a “written” rap into the mic. However, that is actually a freestyle I came up with at that very moment off the top of my head. I didn’t know whether or not it would come out sounding good, but it’s actually not that bad!

3. To keep the camera out of the shot, I had to place the camera towards the far-right side of the mirror situation, then angle it in. The hardest part was trying not to swing my arms in front of the lens while recording, thus giving away the fact that I wasn’t in a mirror. Wait, what?

4. I filmed this video in my new room!

5. I decided to add some c-walking into my video. Since the song uses a beat made famous by a now-dead west-coast rapper (R.I.P. Tupac), I figured some west-coast dance moves were in order. Hopefully I didn’t butcher it too much – I don’t want any gangs finding me and beating me up for doing the moves the wrong way!

That’s all for now – enjoy the video and the song, available exclusively on “The O-Bama Mixtape!” See ya next week!

-A.P.T.

E-mail: aptsongs@hotmail.com

MySpace: www.myspace.com/NotoriousAPT

Soundclick: www.soundclick.com/APT

This week’s music video is for the song, “What We Do,” produced by ME!

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INSIGHT INTO THE SONG:

A good musician understands that they must please two audiences: themselves, and the (hopefully) millions of other  people they want to become fans of their music. 

Any good artist, therefore, will do their best to make songs that talk about real situations based on their life and/or other things that people can relate to.  At the same time, though, a good artist will also realize that not EVERY song they make need to necessarily have a story, a major point, or anything relating to something involving real life. 

Thus, the “filler” songs on albums.  I hate the word “filler” because, regardless of how a song was written or what it is about, they all take time to write, create, make/find a beat for, record, mix, master, and present to the public in a way that it will be received by a large group of people.

In short: filler songs should really be called “fun” records because it allows an artist full rights to be as creative as heck, say whatever they want to say, all the while having a good time doing it.

This song – “What We Do” – is one of those songs. 

The song is basically a meshing together of various freestyles I’ve written and saved.  In total, the verses of the song have a written history as far back as 4 years ago.  In other words, between my journal and hotmail site where I send songs to myself, I found verses I had saved over the years and clumped them together for this song.

This is one of those songs where I’m talking about how dope I am on the mic.  Pretty simple, right?  But the history of the song is a bit longer…

I originally wanted to do this as a posse song… but I don’t know a lot of people, and trying to find 3 random guys to rap on the track – people I’d consider to have “talent” at that – was hard.  So I decided to do all the verses by myself!

I also had another beat for this song that I found online.  Then, while tinkering around on my Fruity Loops one day, I made a beat that I thought would sound perfect for the song.  The beat was made around the time P. Diddy’s first “band,” Da Band (a now defunct rap group), had a song out that was popular as heck… but it had a beat that used minimal instruments.  I wanted to make a beat similar in sound, and once I did I figured “What We Do” would be a good song to attach to it.

Some Interesting Song Tidbits:

1. The second and third verse have been the same for some time now.  As for the first verse, I didn’t have it written for almost 2 years from the other verses.  Then, while I was freestyling to a Justin Timberlake beat (for his song “Summer Love”), I re-listened to it after it was done and said “This verse would make a GREAT first verse for this song!”

2. My favorite line in the song: “On the mic, I fight like Ali in his prime/Leave you shook like Ali since 1989.”  Yes, I came up with that on my own, and I’m very proud of it!

3. In the second verse, I say a line – “Leave you stripped, like Judy Winslow.”  She was the young but forgotten sister on the first 3 or 4 seasons of “Family Matters.”  A few years after being dropped from the show, she did a couple of porno movies.  So sad how the mighty fall…

INSIGHT INTO A MUSIC VIDEO:

I just moved to D.C. from Atlanta this past Sunday.  I devoted so much time to finding a place to live and starting work, I didn’t think I’d even HAVE a video this week. 

Luckily, I keep my camera on me at all times when I travel.  While catching the train back to my brother’s apartment (where I’m temporarily staying), this young-looking guy got on the train… and proceeded to hip-hop dance for almost 20 minutes straight!!

After the first 3 minutes of him doing this, I thought to myself: “OMG, get your camera out NOW and film this!!”  And so I did – and I got 6 minutes of footage of him doing all kinds of crazy dance moves that you just have to see to believe!

Some Interesting Video Tidbits:

1. Aside from the edits I made where he was standing around figuring out what to do next, there are NO tricks added to this video.  All the things you see him doing in the video – from the hanging on the pole to other various moves – were on his own accord.

2.  You’ll notice my book bag in the bottom left corner of the video.  I was doing my darndest to make sure he didn’t see me filming – I didn’t want him to stop, or suddenly get startled and ruin his groove!

3. Estimated editing time: about an hour and a half.  Also, since I still don’t have a place to live (not ‘til Monday!) I had to edit the video at a 24-hour laundry mat.  Why? Because I decided to stay out all night instead of going back to my brother’s apartment.  Now that I’m extremely tired (as I’m typing this it’s 4:02 AM), I wish I had gone home earlier.  Now I have to wait until at least 5 AM for the next trains to come.  But I digress…

That’s all for now – see ya next week!

-A.P.T.