This week’s music video is for the song “Tha Hood vs. The ‘Burbs” (Produced by ME!)
INSIGHT INTO THE SONG:
This is one of those songs I created backwards. Usually I’ll have a song idea and try to either make or create a beat to go along with it. In this case, I was messing around on my Fruity Loops program and created the beat, and, in the process of doing so, came up with the song, “Tha Hood vs. The ‘Burbs.”
The song came about because I was tired of hearing people complain about how hard life was for people living in low-income areas, more commonly referred to as “the ‘hood.” People always assume that those living with little money are the only ones with problems. However, as a person who grew up in the suburbs, I knew that there were just as many issues being faced by suburbanites as there were for people in the hood.
Growing up, I lived a fairly privileged life: I lived in a planned community, went to private schools (high school and college), and have been very good at keeping the amount of drama in my life to a minimum. Even so, hardships hit people in the ‘burbs just as bad as people from the hood. My Dad died when I was nine; I got sick a LOT as a kid; and, because I didn’t think like most of my peers (especially when it came to doing stupid stuff), I got teased a LOT.
Furthermore, it was hard to get along with other black kids, who were either trying to act like they were hard (courtesy of their perceived ideas on what it meant to be “black” – thanks, rap videos!), or who grew up in the hood and thought I was trying to act White simply because I spoke good. Er, spoke “well” – did u catch that?
Anyway, with all this life experience, I figured it would make good fodder for a song.
Some Interesting Song Tidbits:
1. There’s a line in the song where I say: “Down south in Virginia, born and raised/In the suburbs is where I spent most of my days.” It’s a play off a line from the opening of Will Smith’s TV show, “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” (“In West Philadelphia, born and raised/on the playground is where I spent most of my days…”). I don’t think Mr. Smith gets the recognition he deserves for bringing rap to the forefront of people’s consciousness via his family-friendly raps, so this line is a shout-out!
2. All the stuff I mentioned about either me or my brother’s experiences growing up in the suburbs are true. Our neighbor from across the street had a daughter around my age whom he didn’t want playing with my brother and I because we were Black. (Our Mom told us to respect her parents wishes, so we stopped playing with her for 2 days. She wanted to hang out with us so badly, though, that her parents finally relented. I think they were shocked that we were actually respecting their wishes!)
And the incident with my brother happened more than once while he attended James Madison University. He’d be a passenger in a car full of white people, and the car would be pulled over so cops could search him – and ONLY him – for drugs. Ain’t that f–ked up?!?
3. My favorite line in the song: “(In the hood) Whole neighborhoods get shot up/(In the ‘burbs) Whole colleges get shot up!” It’s tragic, but it’s funny when you think about it!
INSIGHT INTO A VIDEO SHOOT:
I actually shot a video for this earlier in the year, back when I had grown my hair out for 6 months. I was on my way to get my hair cut off, which meant I would have to go back to my ol’ stomping grounds, Campbellton Road. For those of you not from ATL, this road is like a dividing line between the hood and Black suburbia. When I first moved here I live in a basement apartment on the suburban side of Campbellton; however, whenever I had to catch the bus or go grocery shopping, I had to walk a block up the street to the ghetto portion.
I live in Midtown now, which is much nicer area, but since this was the only place I knew of that had a barber shop I liked, I decided to head back to the ghetto and get my hair cut. Whilst doing so, I figured, “hey, why not get a video of yourself getting your hair cut?”
Then, while I was on the train, I said, “hey, why don’t you film a video for your hood vs. burbs song?”
For the video, I wanted to do a contrast from what people normally expect when they think about the hood. People’s minds automatically go to gun shoot-outs, drug dealers, prostitutes, and other negative images; however, having lived around it, the majority of people in the hood are much like those in the burbs: they’re decent people simply living their lives day-to-day trying to survive.
The shots I took in the video are from areas surrounding the barber shop: the grocery store, laundry mat, Chinese food place, and – of course – Church’s Chicken. You ain’t in the ghetto until you see a Church’s Chicken!
Some Interesting Video Tidbits:
1. I hadn’t got my hair cut in 6 months. The place I went to in the video was now owned by new owners – they still cut hair, but man was I surprised!
2. Amazingly, as many shots of people that I got in this video, most were unaware that I was filming. Odd, ain’t it? Guess it’s a good thing my “filming” cam is also a picture cam – most people probably aren’t even aware!
3. Check out the shot of me at the end of the video with my half-hair, half no-hair scalp!
That’s all for now – this song is on “The A.P.T. LP,” so go get it!