Tag Archive: black


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!

-A.P.T.

E-mail: aptsongs@hotmail.com

MySpace: www.myspace.com/NotoriousAPT

This week’s song/music video is “The N!@@er Song (a.k.a. The KKKramer Song).”

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INSIGHT INTO A SONG:

In November 2006, Michael Richards, better known as Kramer on NBC’s popular sitcom “Seinfeld,” was phone-video taped making racist comments towards a group of Black people at the Laugh Factory club in Los Angeles.  The tape made its way onto YouTube, got sent to news organization, and became a HUGE story.

I heard about the incident prior to going home for Thanksgiving holiday.  I was in Richmond at my Mom’s house when I saw the story on the news… and on yahoo.com… and on just about every other news site… AND I saw the video for myself on YouTube.  Very classic stuff – you get to see Mr. Richards saying the N-word a number of times, and even goes so far as to say they would have had a fork stuck up their asses were it 50 years ago!

The main focus point everyone seemed to have about the video was Michael’s use of the word “nigger.”  I didn’t have so much a problem with his use of the word, as much as I did the reaction from people like comedians and rappers, all of whom seemed very angry at Kramer for saying the term despite the fact that they themselves use the word in their material.

Maybe it’s just a personal thing, but I find that to be very hypocritical. Rap is bought these days by more white people than black, yet the black artists in these songs are constantly saying the word.  The problem is, once people learn a song, they usually like to sing along with ALL the words, regardless of what meaning those words may or may not have.

And so it is with the word “nigger.”  In my entire recording career, I’ve made one song with the n-word in it, and I didn’t like using it.  Sure, it sounded good when I chanted it along, but even to this day I’m partially conflicted about it.  I don’t want to be performing these songs someday in front of an entire white audience, or any audience for that matter, and have them calling me a “nigger” – oops, I mean “nigga.”  I don’t care how people try and misspell it, it’s still means you’se ignant, nigga!!

I wanted to do a commentary on the incident in a blog, but I figured a song would be much better.  I found the video online, recorded the dialogue from Kramer’s rant, and cut and paste parts to create a chorus.  Once I had the chorus, I created the beat around it.  Yes, this is an example of ME producing a beat, people!  I made the beat sound similar to the inflections in Richard’s voice so they would connect together.

Writing the song itself wasn’t too hard – I was only on vacation for 4 days, and my Mom’s computer has one of my earlier Fruity Loops programs on it, so I made the beat, wrote the song, and recorded it within a relatively short time span.  I actually placed it up on my MySpace page the same day, and was surprised to find that it got 100 listens on the first day – pretty good, considering I didn’t really advertise my music that much back in 2006!

Some Interesting Song Tidbits:

1. The second verse of the song, I use a “stutter flow.”  Basically, I stutter my words.  I got the idea after having listened to Fresh Prince’s “Boom! Shake the Room” where, in the first half of the last verse, he goes “The F-f-f-fresh P-p-p-prince is wh-who-who I am…”  I thought it would be a good way to not make the flow of the song sound the same on each verse!

2. The “aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa” in the chorus?  I got it from the opening of a VERY popular TV show.

3. Listen very carefully to the “niggas” and “niggers” used in the song.  In the first verse, Kramer is shouting the word “nigga” like black people use it with each other.  In the second verse, the words “nigga” and “nigger” are used on the 8th line.  This is the point in which the nigga/nigger trade off occurs: in verse three, all n-words spoken are “nigger.”

4. As you can see, I wrote this back in 2006 – WAAAAAAY before Nas even had the idea to come up with his recent album concept, “Nigger.”  I just wanted to note that so people wouldn’t think I was biting off him – it ain’t like he or I are the first people to address the N-word through song, people!!

INSIGHT INTO A VIDEO SHOOT:

First of all, I didn’t have my own computer or camera to make videos with back in 2006, but I always wanted to make a video for this song.  It wasn’t until this week, when I had to prepare for a friend to come into town and didn’t have time to put together a complicated-to-edit video, that I realized I could make a simple video for this song.  Because the song is about something semi-serious, I didn’t need to be all flashy with the camera work to get my message across.

There’s really not too much insight.  I shot the video right out on the front stoop of my apartment complex, and shot the thing in one take.  I also video-camed the YouTube video of Kramer’s rant to interject in the video.  Really, really simple stuff.

Some Interesting Video Tidbits:

1. While shooting this video, some guy walking on the sidewalk passed by the apartment.  It’s really weird to have someone looking at you strange while you have to stay in the moment for camera purposes!

2. Edit time for this video: a very short 3.5 hours.  Woo-hoo!

That’s all for now – enjoy the video, and come back next Sunday!

-A.P.T.

E-mail: aptsongs@hotmail.com