Tag Archive: apt lp


Another week, another video in the can…

So, I’ve done 32 videos so far as part of this 52-week, year-long experiment, and, so far, the one that continues to get the most views is the remix I did to Lil’ Wayne’s “A Milli,” “O-Bama O-Bama.”  The song continues to get comments on YouTube, both from my Youtube page and the countless others that have reposted the video (or, in many cases, just the song).

I don’t have a problem with this – as long as it keeps giving me exposure (and money, as the song continues to sell on this site – thanks for the help, everybody!), it’s all good – but I wish that some of my other videos would get the same amount of attention.  The “O-Bama O-Bama” video only took an hour to shoot – I have other videos that took most of my whole day to shoot, be it going to various locations or having a more interesting concept in terms of story-telling… I even have songs that, in my opinion, are better than the aforementioned song, or, at the very least, on par with it.

Of course, all of this is the “artsy” part of me.  Almost all artist who have that one hit song usually end up seeing it as a gift/curse.  Bobby McFerrin, the guy who did “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” was a musician who could play dozens of instruments; yet, to this day, he’s always been slightly pissed off that his greatest hit was, ironically enough, one that didn’t even use any!

Still, I think the main reason some of my other videos – the ones outside of my parodies, which ALWAYS get plenty of views – may not get as many views is because I’m not advertising properly. 

I see channels on YouTube with videos that get thousands of hits within the first day or two of being up – and these are people that aren’t “famous” like Diddy or Obama, but everyday Joes and Janes doing video blogs and/or other stupid stuff – and I always wonder what they did to grow that kind of audience.  I thought the “O-Bama O-Bama” would get people checking out my other stuff – and it did, but not on as large of a scale as I would like.

I’m learning more and more about how I can get word of my stuff out to other people on a larger scale, so I know I have some time.  And even if it doesn’t happen by the time I finish filming all my videos… well, the good part of that is, I plan on setting up another website where I can post up all my videos and then REALLY start to advertise them as a means of… hmm, on second thought, I’ll keep that to myself for now. 

The point is, since I’ve made a conscious effort to make the majority of my songs/videos about things that are always relatable and constantly current (minus all the “O-Bama” or “G.W. Bush” stuff), I can still advertise for my videos as a means of (a) showing off my talents and (b) other things I won’t yet mention.

And of course, if you’re reading this, it means I’ve, at the very least, figured out how to get a few loyal A.P.T. fans – all success has to start from somewhere, people!

As for this week’s video, I’m going out of town for the holidays to see my cousins – including the one who had a small line on one of my tracks on “The A.P.T. LP” – so, with any luck, I’ll be able to film a video for it (finally) thus completing my goal of filming a video for ALL the songs from that album.  Since it’s been a while since I’ve done any videos relating to that album, I’ll be adding the song as a bonus track for my next album, “The Great Black Hope,” dropping Wednesday, January 7th, 2009.

Now all I have to do is figure out how to advertise for the album.  Hmmm….

-A.P.T.

E-Mail: aptsongs@hotmail.com

MySpace: www.myspace.com/NotoriousAPT

Soundclick: www.soundclick.com/APT

This week’s video is for the song “Back On My Grind,” produced by SINIMA beats!

INSIGHT INTO A SONG:

While surfing online one day at my favorite beat site, www.soundclick.com, I came across an instrumental produced by SINIMA Beats called “Back On My Grind.” When I heard the beat, it sounded like something Jay-Z would rap over – something akin to his “Roc Boys” song, as it had lots of horns and had an old-school soulful sound.

I knew I wanted to make a song to it, and the title of the beat seemed appropriate enough for a song title as well. At the time I downloaded the beat, though – sometime around July or August – I didn’t want to put out a song called “Back” to anything, especially since I hadn’t put out an album yet that had been heard by enough people to warrant me putting out that type of song.

Fast-forward to November, though, and it was a completely different situation. Now that my first mixtape, “The O-Bama Mixtape,” and my “first” known album, “The A.P.T. LP,” has been purchased by a few people, I felt I could now put out a legitimate “Back” song, especially since I hadn’t released a “new” collection of songs via mixtape or album since August.

Of course, since I’ve been releasing a new video each week since May 2008, I’ve never really been gone from the public eye. So, in the chorus, I made note of that fact by adding the tag, “I never left, took a break, now I gotta get mine!”

As for the song itself, it’s what I call a “fighter track.” The beat is one with a tempo that sounds like it’s ready to be pummeled lyrically.

I come up with songs in one of two ways: writing/typing it down, or freestyling it. For this song, I wanted to write it down, but have it sound like I would sound when I freestyle. When I freestyle, I tend to do it in a way that doesn’t sound so structured – i.e. no “a-b-a-b” style, and the end of every line doesn’t mean it’s the end of my sentence (sometimes they can end in the middle of another line, or just be one long run-on sentence). Words can be stretched to sound different if I want to have them rhyme with another word, and there‘s lots of free association… basically, I wanted to make a song that didn’t sound so song-like, but more freestyle-like.

For this type of song, the words don’t really matter as much as how they sound. Not to say that the words aren’t important – it’s just that, given the beat being used, it’s how the words gel with the tempo that matter more. Again, it’s a “fighter track;” therefore, I wanted the delivery of the words to give the listener a feeling akin to watching someone punching a punching bag.

It’s also an upbeat instrumental, so I wanted the song to be motivational. I talk about being on my hustle, grinding hard, being militant on the microphone, crushing my competition, and wanting to be taken seriously as a contender in the music game. It’s the kind of song that other people coming up in the game can listen to and FEEL like they can relate!

Some Interesting Song Insights:

1. The one thing I hate about reading song lines while recording is, sometimes I mess up a word, or may misread a word and say something else instead. There’s a line where I say: “…but somehow, they be getting’ drawn/Into the cipher – rap cipher…” The first “cipher” is supposed to be the word “circle,” but I misread it. However, I liked the way it sounded, so I kept it in.

2. This song has a lot of syllable rhymes. It’s where words that may not rhyme with each other sound similar due to how they are said. For example, there’s a line where I say: “I go back, and analyze/Fix the franchise…” The words “and,” “analyze” and “franchise” don’t technically rhyme, but the “-an” and “-ize” parts of the words make the sentence flow well together. See how many instances of this you can find throughout the song – it’s fun!

3. My favorite line in the song: “Don’t call me a buster, I’ll BUST ya, homeboy!” It’s the last line of the second verse, and it’s not very clever, but it has the most energy of any line in the song.

INSIGHT INTO A VIDEO SHOOT:

This was one of those video ideas that didn’t take me too long to come up with. Actually, I’ve already thought out most of the video ideas for songs on this mixtape. I guess this is because it’s been so long since I’ve written new stuff that I had time to think out how I’d film visuals for the songs!

For this song, I knew I wanted to film it like I was training for a boxing match, only instead I’d be training to record. The set-up for this video is actually influenced by LL Cool J’s “Mama Said Knock You Out” video, where he did the song in a boxing ring. (Incidentally, this gives you reference to how old I am – the fact that I remember that video, and not just because I saw it on some damn “Rap Videos of the 90s” special on VH1.)

I wanted to look like I was working out, so I opted to wear my grey hoodie, the same one I wore for the mirror image of me in video #23, “True Lyricist,” while spitting the song on the mic. As for the rest of the video, I wear a simple white hanes undershirt and jeans.

I thought it would be funny if I filmed myself attempting to work out, only not very well. I don’t have a lot of muscle, so I wanted the video to demonstrate why. I do push ups but peter out, get cramps while doing crunches, run up and down steps and fall down, and try to swallow eggs a la “Rocky,” but end up… well, you’ll have to see the video to find out!

Some Interesting Video Insights:

1. Now that I no longer have a camera stand, you may be wondering how I’m able to get all my camera shots without any help. Allow me to give you a few insights:

* For the shot of me rapping in front of the microphone, I used a chair, topped with a medium-sized suitcase, topped with a miniature ironing board, topped with a box containing a mini-modem, topped with a box for a lap-top plug.

* For the shots of me doing floor exercises, I used a medium-sized suitcase, topped with a miniature ironing board.

* For the bathroom shot, I used a chair, a box containing a mini-modem, topped with a box for a lap-top plug.

* For the stairs scene, there’s a closet directly in front of the stairway that had a shelf on it.

* For the kitchen scene, there were three shots. For the shot of me cracking the eggs and cooking them, I placed the camera on top of a box of penne pasta; for the shot of me drinking the eggs, I placed the camera on the cabinet shelf panel; and for the shot of me eating, I used a different cabinet shelf panel.

As I always like to say, I ALWAYS find a way to get the shot I want!

2. This was also the first video where I did all the shots sideways. I experimented with this a little bit in video #24, “Blow It All,” but I have yet to do a full video using a shot at this angle. Since it’s the 30th video, I figured I would try something different by doing the whole video this way!

3. I actually had some workout shorts and/or sweats I was going to wear. However, when I get into recording mode, I sometimes forget to change wardrobe. So, while I remembered to change my shirt, I ended up keeping the jeans on. Really, now, who works out in jeans?!?

4. There’s a line in the song where I say, “Rap Urkels getting wedgies, I’m like, ‘Did I do that?!?’” I thought it would be funny to dress up Urkel-style for that part of the song, so I put on some dress pants, a nerdy-looking shirt, and my nerdy glasses (first worn in video #10, “Retirement Home,” when I dressed like the old man).

5. In the scene where I try to drink the eggs, I actually DID take a drink and place the eggs in my mouth. Unfortunately, I didn’t place the pan high enough into the shot for you to see me spit the egg into it before cooking it. After I shot it, I cooked the eggs, placed them on the plate, then went to check the shot. Lo and behold, I didn’t get the shot I wanted, and I didn’t want to cook anymore eggs. So, I had to re-shoot it the second time, and act like I was drinking then spitting the egg back into the cup instead of the pan, THEN pouring it into the pan.

6. Estimated editing time: I don’t know. I was watching “Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2” on TBS for 5 hours while editing this thing, plus I had to listen to my roommates argue about whether or not they loved each other, THEN I had to catch a train to visit a friend of mine… in short, there were a lot of distractions, so I’m sure the actual editing time was much shorter than the span of time I actually finished it in.

That’s all for now! Only 22 more videos to go – see ya next Sunday!

-A.P.T.

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

Lyrics to “Back On My Grind”:

Verse ONE:

Guess what? Im back! –
Hustlin hard, back on my grind,
Ready to shine, Im out to get mine
Say good- bye to the good guy
Used to be nice, I paid the price
Good guy going bad? (sa right)
So I be – makin the moves,
Showin improve, get in the groove
I never lose, I win, make a mistake, rarely
And if I do, I go back, and analyze
Fix the franchise, playa, Im a seasoned vet
A.P.T., say the name, it demands respect
Swing to the left, ladies know Im never bereft
And if I – get me a chance
Im tryna enhance wallets like Wallace
Big Poppa, mo money, no problems
Its a – swing and a miss, these players is pissed
They bout to -get dismissed, they wish that they was this
But they – cant see me
Got eyes like Stevie, tryna wonder how they blunder
Im fitna take em under,

Chorus x2:

Im BACK!
Back on my grind – brothas wanna hate, but its a waste of time
Im BACK!
Back on my grind – I never left, took a break, now I gotta get mine

Verse TWO:

Play scrabble – say babble, ran sack em,
I get militant, on the mic, Im diligent
Its – not a façade, gifted by God
Im on my job, no pay-roll, got fly girls girls like J.Lo
They – dont know, How I spit – divine lyrics
Moves spirits like a haunted house – Im out
Peace! But no peace to the competition
They try – not to listen, but some how they be gettin drawn
In to the cipher – rap cipher
Rap Urkels gettin wedgies, Im like, Did I do thaaaaat?
Sorry – no evidence I was in your residence
My presence is felt, and ever since
I was a little boy, I been tryin, to pump iron
But I never grew muscle, still I know I gotta tussle
Because I got the – heart of a lion, the mind of a hustla
Dont – call me a busta, Ill bust ya, homeboy,

Chorus x2

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


Above: My YouTube “non”-ad for “I Voted For O-Bama! O-Bama!” Merchandise!

Another week, another video in the can…

Did you notice something about the last video? Did you see the shirt I was wearing?

That’s right – it’s the “I Voted For O-Bama! O-Bama!” long sleeve shirt!

The shirt I wore in the “Stop Cock-Blockin'” video is one I made at home using iron-on transfer paper and a crappy iron. For this reason, the part where Obama’s picture is on my shirt looks kinda faded, as it did not transfer on 100%.

HOWEVER, the shirt that YOU would order will be professionally pressed! It’s the perfect shirt to wear to celebrate Obama’s historic victory!  It will also make for a very good item to wear around Inauguration time!

I also have mugs, hats, a mousepad, sweatshirts, and T-Shirts (Men’s and Women’s) available – just go to www.cafepress.com/APTsongs for all the info (pricing, descriptions, etc.)!

Because I’m selling them through Cafe Press, they will make the shirt and send it to you automatically. Basic shipping is relatively low in price, and they also offer faster shipping methods as well!

If you have any questions, contact me at aptsongs@wordpress.com!

-A.P.T.

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: A video telling people to come here and download “The A.P.T. EP.”  Although, now that you’re here, it seems kinda pointless to watch it, huh?

Back in 2003, I decided I wanted to put together a CD.  I used to do remakes of other people’s songs for my out messages on my answering machine, and thought it would be cool to put together a collection of those songs.  Instead, I decided to come up with some new paordy songs, throw in a few original songs, and call it “The A.P.T. EP.” Because I was going to try and use it as my demo for record companies, I added the tag, “This is ONLY a Demo.”

I made the CD and released it in February of 2004.  Of course, I only released it on campus at Hampton University… but still, I was able to sell a few copies, which gave me enough confidence to believe that people would actually pay for my music.

Then I graduated.  And I lost all the CD copies of “The A.P.T. EP.”  And, a couple of years later, the computer I had all the music files stored on crashed.  As far as I was concerned, the music would never be heard from again, except for “Bust My G.A.T.,” which I managed to save (and have, thus far, put on all my albums except for “The O-Bama Mixtape).

Then, I went home the last week in October to help my Mom move.  In looking through some of my old stuff, I managed to come across a couple of copies of “The A.P.T. EP!”  I was so happy to find them and listen to them again – man, did I sound young and inexperienced! – and decided I should put them here on the website as a FREE download!

So, if you’d like to download “The A.P.T. EP (This is ONLY a Demo),” you can click HERE, or on the Merchandise tab above!

Track Listing for “The A.P.T. EP (This is ONLY a Demo)”:

  1. This is ONLY an Intro
  2. Imma Skitzo
  3. Failing (Eminem “Without Me” Parody)
  4. An Interview w/DMX (f. Mr. Smallwood)
  5. Bust My G.A.T.
  6. Phone Skit #1
  7. What Do I Do?
  8. Phone Skit #2
  9. Playa Hate (Destiny’s Child “Say My Name” Parody)
  10. This is ONLY an Interlude
  11. It’s All Graaavy
  12. Why, Kobe? (Tupac “Hail Mary” Parody)
  13. Phone Skit #3
  14. C.U.Next.Tuesday
  15. This is ONLY an Outro
  16. BONUS: Girls at Hampton’s Dorm

Don’t forget – the offical new A.P.T. mixtape, “The Next Black President (a.k.a. Back on My Grind),” drops December 2, 2008!

-A.P.T.


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.