Tag Archive: Mill


This week’s music video is for the song “Smooth Talker” (Produced by Shadowville Productions)

AVAILABLE ON “THE A.P.T LP” – Click HERE for download information!

INSIGHT INTO A SONG:

First, a sidebar: one of the reasons I document this stuff is so that people will know when, where, and how the songs were created. That way, if a situation occurs where people question whether or not I was the originator of the song (i.e. the “O-bama” song), those looking for proof have something to read. It also helps that I get my songs copyrighted 🙂

I found this beat online back on April 12, from a production company called Shadowville. I surf for beats online a LOT, and the majority of beats I find are available for free use if you use them for promotional use only (i.e. I can’t sell the songs).

I mention this because I downloaded a LOT of beats that I planned to use for promotion only; however, people started asking me if I was going to put out an album for purchase, many of the songs I made to test the waters… were actually good songs, but I couldn’t use them because the beat either (a) cost too much, (b) had already been bought, or (c) had to be purchased exclusively to be used, and they costs a LOT.

That means that some of the songs I wanted to put on “The A.P.T. LP” couldn’t be used. “Smile 4 Dad?” Nope! “Shout Out 2 My Big Girl?” Sorry!

However, when it came to the beat used for this song, I knew that I HAD to have it. Luckily, I keep the name of all the people whose beats I download, so I was able to find the producer’s name online and, fortunately, the beat hadn’t been purchased yet.

So, what made me want to buy the beat in the first place?

When I download beats, I’ll usually have a day when I take each beat and freestyle over it to get ideas for lyrics and songs. This has helped me create many a song, but this one was special in the sense that I changed up how I flowed to it. Rather than do the usual freestyle thing where I’m “sounding like a rapper,” the beat sounded more like a techno-club hit; therefore, I tried to switch up various things in the freestyle, from the level of my voice (whispering to shouting), to the pace at which words were said.

The name of the beat was “Smooth Talker,” and I thought that idea went along well with the type of beat it was. The chorus came to me instantly – “Ooh baby, I’m a smooth talker/That’s right, you know that I want ‘ya,” etc. – and many of the concepts used in that initial freestyle were used in this song.

Okay, so when you listen to the song, it’s clearly a club-type beat, but I didn’t want to make a full-out “club” song in the regular sense. Rappers are infamous for making these types of records, but they always have the same story line (if you can even call it that): they pull up on 22s, they’re out to steal another guy’s chick, they’re the hottest thing in the club, they want the girl to shake it – a 3-year old could write this stuff!

So, being the funny guy that I am, I decided to bastardize it a bit. In the first verse I meet a girl and try to sweet talk her into leaving the club with me, telling her things that I know are straight lies. In the second, I’m whispering to a girl about what I want to do to her in V.I.P.; however, when I ask her what her fantasy is… well, you’ll have to listen, but it’s gross and turns me off! And, in the third verse, I see a chick from across the room, and when I go to holler at her… well, just listen to the song!

Incidentally, this was the very last song I wrote for the album, yet probably the one I had a beat for the longest. And most of it wasn’t “written” – I had the second and third verses made up in my head for the longest time (as well as the first 6 bars of the first verse), but figuring out the last 10 bars of the first verse took some time. Of course, it’s easier for me to write something when I have a set deadline, and by the time the Friday before the album came out got here it was done!

Some Interesting Song Tidbits:

1. This was also one of the first songs where I really put my mixing skills to the test. I downloaded a program called “Magix Studios” to put my songs together, and I really wanted this one to stand out. Lots of re-verb and echos, people! The song took dang near 8 hours to get to sounding CLOSE to how I wanted it to sound!

2. The last 4 bars of the second verse… well, let’s just say they were inspired by 2 girls, a cup, and a famous R&B singer…

3. The name of the girl in the 3rd verse – “Rina” – was also the name of my very first girlfriend. I used her name because there’s a line in that verse that’s giving homage to one of Tone Loc’s songs, and “Rina” sounded close to the girl he referenced in “Funky Cold Madina.” Plus, I haven’t spoken to her in God knows how long, so I figured I’d have the right to use the name.

INSIGHT INTO A VIDEO SHOOT:

Even though this was one of the last songs I wrote for the album, I’ve had the idea for the video for almost 3 months now!

I decided to keep it simple: me, filming myself mouthing the words to the song, in different locals. I was also going to have a friend of mine dance to the song, and include those scenes throughout the video… but the friend was a co-worker, and she got fired, and I haven’t heard from her since. So much for reliability!

Some Interesting Video Tidbits:

1. The five locations in the video are: a train station escalator; a MARTA train; a light pole outside the train station; a restaurant; and a parking lot.

2. For the escalator shots, I had to film myself going down the escalator, then run up the steps directly next to it and film myself again. In retrospect, I could have gone to a different station – one that had a REAL long escalator – but I think it’s funnier this way!

3. Also, you may notice I have more hair in the escalator shots than in other parts of the video. I was on my way to get a hair cut when I decided to film this video; the remaining shots were taken afterward!

4. The train, the restaurant, and the parking lot are the only places where I filmed more than one take for video consideration. On the train, I filmed 3 times because the first time I filmed, I forgot that the sun was directly behind me, so I had to film it again. Then, I wanted to make sure my head was more in the middle of the frame, so I shot it a third time. In the restaurant, there were occasions where a server would come up to me to say hi, at which point I had to cut the camera off. As for the parking lot, I filmed one other take, and didn’t even use them in the video!!

5. To make things interesting, I decided to add special film properties to the different shooting location shots. For the escalator shots, I used “Film Grain” to make it look like an older film shot; for the train, I used the watercolor application; for the restaurant I just brightened up the shots; and for the parking lot I used the hue spectrum application to cycle through all the colors. The only shots not altered were the ones of me next to the light pole.

6. At the end of the video, you’ll see two servers pop up in the background and start dancing/rapping their butts off. These people I call, “my friends,” and they are hilarious!

7. Edit time for the video: between 5 to 6 hours, split between this morning and later this evening after I got off work. Adding transitions and effects makes the edit time go longer, especially when your computer is as “cooperative” as mine!

That’s all for now! Enjoy the video, and get “The A.P.T. LP!” See ya next week!

-A.P.T.

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

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This week’s song/video is “Crank That (Yeah!)” (Produced by Fire Kraka)

INSIGHT INTO A SONG:

For a song that’s so simple, the making of it had a whole lot that went into it.

I look for beats online, and when I find a beat I like I’ll usually start freestyling to it to see if it I could use the beat for a song.  Some of my best songs so far have resulted from this (see: “Shout Out 2 My Big Girls,” “Back 2 The Future,” and other yet-to-be released songs), and I try to do it at least once a week.

When I heard the beat for this week’s song, it instantly reminded me of last year’s hottest record, “Crank Dat (Soulja Boy)” by Soulja Boy.  The words to his song were admittedly simplistic, but as I always tell people, some times simplicity is better than trying to be all deep and complex.  I started freestyling off some random stuff into the mic, not thinking I’d actually make it into a song.

Then, I came up with the chorus.  It was so good that I just KNEW I had to make it a song.

However, I didn’t necessarily want to make it into a video.  Up until now, most of my songs have had some form of plot line, or talked about real-life situations.  Even in the case of “Obama, Obama,” as funny as it was it still had a main focal point.  This “Crank That” song I made was about nothing more than doing the crank dance to any song that comes on!

I recorded the song prior to 4th of July weekend.  During the holiday, my friend Michele came from DC to visit me.  On her last day, as we were packing her up to go home, I asked her if she’d like to record a few parts for 2 songs I had made, one of them being this one.  The part of the song she recorded for me sounded so good, I just KNEW I had to figure out a way to make the song into a video so that she’d be able to see it!

Some Interesting Song Tidbits:

(1) The original title of this song was “Crank That $#!+.”  However, I decided to change it for a few reasons.  One, I have younger cousins and relatives that are hip to this site now, and, seeing as I grew up in a family that didn’t cuss around each other, I’d like to be able to keep it to a minimum.  Plus, I really don’t cuss that much in real life, and even the songs I have up now that do have cussing don’t have a lot in them.

More importantly, though: my song “Obama, Obama” is getting regular radio play, part of that being because I didn’t cuss during the entire song, which made radio DJs feel okay about downloading and playing it.  This song’s pretty catchy, and I’d hate to think I’d be blocking myself from even more exposure simply because I wanted to say “shit” every few lines!

(2) People think these types of songs don’t take long to write.  And… well, they’d be correct!  However, for these types of songs, it’s not really the words themselves that matter as much as the FEEL of the words.  How they are enunciated and phrased has to be in line with the beat so that people will be able to dance to it.

(3) Because this is a party song, there has to be parts in their where the club audience is persuaded to sing back certain parts.  You’ll hear a few “Yeaaaah”s and “A.P.T.!”, as well as Michele’s line in the song, which ALL girls will have to say!  It’s actually a very good psychological trick into making people like your song!

INSIGHT INTO A VIDEO SHOOT:

As is usually the case, I had NO idea what I was going to shoot.  I wanted to just do like Soulja Boy, and tape myself dancing for 4 minutes straight with no edits.

HA! Like THAT was going to happen!

Besides, it would have been too boring. Plus, I didn’t want to look so goofy or bore people to death to the point that they’d click off the video before even getting into it.

At the same time, since the lyrics of this song are extremely simple in comparison to the first 8 videos I put up, I didn’t want there to be a backlash from a letdown of expectations.  I know now that I’m early on enough in my career where I can experiment with different styles, but you never want to catch a brick so bad that you can’t recover from it.

And, to top THAT off, I was on vacation this week in DC for my brother’s birthday.  However, this ended up being a blessing in disguise because it allowed me to film in a location OUTSIDE of my apartment!  Still, I didn’t know what I was going to do…

…until I remembered the online feud Soulja Boy has been having with Ice-T about who’s responsible for “killing hip-hop” vs. “helping hip-hop.”  I have another song I wrote called “Retirement Home” where I bash old-school rappers for not giving credit to the newcomers who are helping to continue the genre.  I figured out that I could do a two-part video, with “Crank That (Yeah!)” being part one and “Retirement Home” being part 2, thus giving me a legitimate excuse for this song’s/video’s existence!

Because I wanted to show that actual work DOES go into creating a crank-type song, I decided to make the video a 7-step instruction manual on the creation of one, from finding the beat all the way to putting it on YouTube.  I was able to run with this idea, and it only took me about 1.5 hours to film. I also had to film half of next week’s video, where I respond to a hater who’ll be hating on this week’s song.  Always thinking ahead, people!

All in all, I think it came out pretty great!

Some Interesting Video Tidbits:

(1) The hotel used in the video is the Crowne Royal in Alexandria, VA.

(2) The first shot of this video? Me in the shower.  I don’t know why I decided to start filming while showering, but who knows when or where inspiration will pop up?!?

(3) “Theory” is the nickname my friend Michele used in college when she did radio.

(4) To film the editing of the video, I had to take my first set of shots, load them up, and then film myself editing the shots I just loaded.

(5) I have no idea what the estimated loading time is because I was trying to edit this thing all day, while at the same time preparing for my brother’s birthday festivities.

That’s all for now – enjoy the video, and I’ll see ya next week!

-A.P.T.

E-mail: aptsongs@hotmail.com