Tag Archive: music video


Today’s insights are for my new music video, “Big Moochin’ Fella” (a parody of Rick Ross’ “B.M.F.” song)!

DOWNLOAD FOR 99 CENTS – Click HERE!

INSIGHT INTO A SONG:

When putting together songs for my album, “Prince of Parody Vol. 1” (click HERE to download), I had a LOT of songs I wanted to make fun of.  In case you’re curious, some of the other songs I wanted to parody included Nelly’s “Just a Dream,” Far East Movement’s “Like a G6,” and Lady Gaga’s “Telephone.”

As the self-imposed deadline for the album came, though, I found it getting harder and harder to push out all the ideas I had.  It was at that point I decided to make it easy on myself: if I wasn’t able to get the majority of the idea out on paper, I wouldn’t write it.

As a result, I ended up putting the aforementioned songs to the side, which left me with the easy ones to write (“Rub That Nair,” “Jersey Shore Douches” and “Teach Me How to Snuggie”).

Then, one day at work, I was listening to Rick Ross’ “B.M.F. (Blowin’ Money Fast)” song.  I was a bit late in the game in terms of knowing about this song, but it just jammed so hard!  Like, it’s been out since May, and I still listen to that song everyday for its ability to hype me up!

Since the song has had such a long shelf life, I knew I wanted to make a parody of it.  I went through quite a few song ideas and choruses (2nd favorite one: “I’m slicin’ big meats!”) before I settled upon “Big Moochin’ Fella.”  Whenever I said “I’m just a big leech (uh!)” I would start cracking up, so I knew that, song-wise, it would be a good direction to go in.

Plus, I’m quite experienced when it comes to dealing with people who want to leech off of me.  I live in L.A., a town where everyone is always looking to see what they can get from someone else for free, be it a record deal, part in a movie, or – as has been the case in my life – a place to crash.  I won’t go into the names of people who have tried crashing at our place looking to get freebies, while at the same time treating us like crap.

Needless to say, though, I had a LOT of material to pull from for the song.  Yes, the song is hilarious and funny as heck, but it could also be used as a life portrait for how actual mooches act!

The song-writing process for this one was hard.  I’m not even gonna lie, I almost didn’t even finish it.  I actually woke up at 7 A.M. one morning when I had a day off from work to go outside, sit at a table, and concentrate on what to write until I figured out at least 95 percent of the song.

Why? Because writing this song was similar to writing “Rub That Nair.”  Sure, Rick Ross’ song isn’t an R&B song, but he didn’t try to use a whole lot of words in his version either.  Which, of course, meant that I couldn’t use that many words in MY version.  I’m a guy that often uses a lot of words to get his point across; having to curtail my word usage, then, can be quite a challenge for me.

Nevertheless, I was determined to finish the song, if only so I could say I actually did it. Plus, I thought it would be good to parody at least ONE semi-hardcore song on the album for people who like to see those kinds of songs made fun of (me being one of them).

When I finally DID finish the song, I played it for a couple of people, including a girl named Kei’ana (who also appears in the video – more on her later).  They laughed at it, so I knew I made the right topic choices for the song!

Some Interesting Song Tidbits:

1. The hardest part of the song to write was the part where I say “I throw a party… with lots of guest… then I go to sleep… while you clean the mess…”  I wanted the words I used to rhyme with the words Rick Ross used in that part, but I couldn’t figure out a way to do it.  But then, I remembered how, when Weird Al remade Chamillionaire’s “Ridin’ Dirty” into “White and Nerdy,” not all the words rhymed with the parts in the original.  So, I decided I didn’t have to do that either. (Note to certain people reading this: this is called “Giving someone credit for inspiring you on how to do your work,” as opposed to blatantly copying someone and saying you came up with it yourself.)

2. The original version of this song has 3 verses.  However, in comedy, you have to know when its best to make your exit; for this version, I figured that time would come around the 3-minute mark, which is near where the second verse ends.  Sorry, Styles P!

INSIGHT INTO A VIDEO SHOOT

This video ended up being WAY different than I had imagined it in my head.  And that’s actually a GOOD thing.

I didn’t even know if there was going to be a video for it because of ONE line in the song that I didn’t think I’d be able to get anyone to film. That line:

“When I’m having sex, your sofa’s where I bone!”

I wanted to get a shot of me and a girl making out and/or dry humping on the couch, but I didn’t know if any of the girls I knew would be down for it.  However, Kei’ana said she was available to shoot, and was able to come over and be in the scene I needed her to be in.  Once I was able to get those shots, I had no choice but to film the rest of the video!

The parts I shot with myself were easy.  Most of them consisted of me setting up the camera and performing one of the many mooching acts mentioned in the song.

The hardest part of shooting came in two areas: filming myself when I needed to be moving around for dynamic camera shots, and figuring out who I would get to play the person I’m mooching off.

In area one: I wanted to dress up like Rick Ross and have someone film me performing the words to the song, but every time I would find someone to do it they’d drop out at the last minute. So I kept delaying the video.  I could have done the shots by using a tripod, but I don’t want all my videos to consist of stand still camera shots.

Finally, after about 2 weeks, I hit up Kei’ana and asked if she’d be my camera girl.  To my complete amazement, she happily agreed to do it! We met up later that weekend and went to the backlot of a Target store near my apartment, and bumped the song out of her jeep while she filmed me acting a dang fool in my Rick Ross outfit.  Because she was there to film me, I was also able to film a few choice scenes inside the store that I probably would have gotten kicked out for had I gone in there with a camera stand.

As for who ended up being the person I’m moochin’ off… I had several choices in mind, all of whom ended up having scheduling conflicts.  It just so happened that I mentioned my problem to my friend Joe, who agreed to play the person in question.  We ended up filming all his scenes that same night, and they came out great!

So yeah, the video took me almost a month to complete from start to finish, but I’ve become more patient when it comes to putting together videos.  In the past I just wanted to rush them and get them out there, but I’m finding that waiting for the right people, places and things to line up really makes my videos stand out more.  This is one of my favorite videos despite it being quite the biznitch to put together!

Some Interesting Video Shoot Tidbits

1. Despite the intensity of the make out scene, me and Kei’ana didn’t touched lips.   It just felt weird trying to kiss her for real on camera and then have people watching it later.  So we just got REALLY close to each others’ faces instead.  Plus, the hair covered most of our faces (the wig hair, not hers).

2. The parts of the opening where I’m walking up to the apartment were shot during the day.  The parts of the opening where Joe lets me in were filmed at night.  I stuck a light outside the door so it would make it seem as though it was still daytime.  Pretty neat lighting trick, huh?

3. For the bathtub scene… okay, so the hotness of the water at my apartment isn’t the greatest.  I actually had to boil about 3 pots of water to get the tub water to the temperature I liked it at.  After I shot the scene, I continued to take a bath – I always take showers, but I hadn’t taken a bath in a couple of years.  It felt great!

4. There are some scenes that I filmed by myself with the idea of using it as the green screen background in case I had to end up being the person who played both the moocher AND the home owner. One of them was for the line where I say “Now I walk all through your house even when I’m naked.”  Luckily, since Joe volunteered to be in the video, I didn’t have to worry about doing such things.

5. The toothbrush I use to brush my teeth and the one I use to scrub the tub are two different toothbrushes.  I just made sure to hold the entire handle of the second toothbrush so people couldn’t tell I used a different brush.

6. Kei’ana was useful in so many ways for this video.  The biggest one was for the trip inside Target, when I scoot by with a shopping cart full of stuff I bought with Joe’s credit card.  Not only was I able to get that shot, but she also got the shot of me making the purchase at the register, which I wouldn’t have been able to get without her there.

7. Also of note: while at Target, I actually DID end up making a big purchase – I finally got some nice bed sheets to go with my new mattress!

8. The neighbor fighting with Joe is Tynae Miller.  She’s a friend of ours who had stopped by our apartment to get her computer fixed.  She’s in school to be an actress, so I figured I’d ask her to help us out – and she did!

9. The bed I’m asleep in is not Joe’s.  It actually belongs to my friend Danielle, who lives upstairs.  Her bed set up is quite nice, so I asked if we could film it for the video.

10. Also, the “wet dreams” that are splattered all over the sheets is actually mayonnaise.  Yeah, I know, it’s gross 😛

11. We have quite a few parties thrown at my apartment.  I made sure to get my Flip camera out during the most recent one and film the people (sans the heads – I ain’t gettin’ sued!) and the mess the party helped bring about, and used it for the lines in the song about me throwing a party and leaving a mess for the owner to clean up.

12. The last scene of the video was Joe’s idea.  The idea is: he’s getting something to drink, and takes out a cup that only has one straw left in it.  Then I come along in take it.  Thus, for Joe it’s the “last straw”  for him to kick me out.  Pretty deep metaphor, ain’t it?

13. Almost forgot – the parts in the video where I show the underwear with the “brown streaks” in it? To get the stain to show, I tried mixing brown sugar and maple syrup, but it was still too light to really get the full effect.  Then Kei’ana looked down on the ground, saw some dirt, and suggested I use it.

14. Editing for this video didn’t take long per se, but I kept starting, then stopping, then starting, then being distracted by something else… I finally finished it this morning at 7 A.M. after having been at a party until 4 A.M. I’m tired, have gotten only 1 hour of sleep… but I’d say, given how the video turned out, it was worth it!

And that’s it!  I want to thank all the people who helped me out on this very ambitious video: Joe for agreeing to be in the video in the first place (he’s not always one to want to be in front of the camera); Tynae for being our spontaneous neighbor; and Kei’ana for being in the video as well as my behind-the-scenes camera person.  Hope u all enjoy it!

– A.P.T.

 

Today’s insights are for my new music video, “Rub That Nair” (a parody of Willow Smith’s “Whip My Hair”)

Download @ iTunes today – click HERE!

INSIGHT INTO A SONG

In October, I decided to focus my musical efforts back onto making parody songs.  I’ve made tons of “real” songs, but my most popular (and profitable) ones have always been the ones I’ve made where I mock other people’s songs.

A month prior to this decision, Will Smith’s daughter, Willow, dropped her first song, the oh-so-infectious “Whip My Hair.” She may be nine, but I’ll be darned if all my In-Their-20s-and-Older friends weren’t bumpin’ that song in their cars!

I KNEW the song would be ripe for parody – the only question was, what could I make fun of that would make the song funny? 

I checked on YouTube to see what other people had done, and most of them were song parodies of something being whipped. Not very original.

Around this same time… okay, so I don’t want to get too detailed into this part, as I may be giving away things I shouldn’t be giving away… but it was called to my attention that Nair, a hair removal product for women, is sometimes used by men for the same purpose: namely, removing hair without having to use a straight razor.

I didn’t necessarily think the idea of a guy using Nair was funny. However, the idea of a guy buying a pink bottle of Nair in the women’s aisle of a store, then trying to hide it from other girls for fear of appearing gay WAS, in fact, hilarious enough to make a song about!

Writing the song itself, though, was quite hard.  As with all parodies, trying to pick the right words so it flows and sounds similar to the original is hard.  It’s almost like playing Sudoku: you know there’s a way for everything to fit together at some point, but it requires a lot of going back and re-looking over things you may have put down.

Worse, it’s a pop song, not a rap song.  Pop songs usually use LESS words than rap songs, which means any grand ideas I may have had that would normally require me to say lots of words had to be scrunched down. I can’t even remember what the writing process was like, other than I wrote the second verse first, the last verse second and the first verse last.

Once I wrote it, I contacted someone from YouTube that had made a remake of the “Whip My Hair” beat and asked if I could use it.  Once he sent it to me sans the chorus part, I had to go into the hardest part of the process: recording the song. 

I don’t make it a habit to sing (even though I know how to), and trying to sing in the same octave as Willow was just not happening.  Her voice is definitely higher than mine (she’s a KID, people!), and when I would try to his some of those higher notes my voice would start cracking.  I ended up having to sing in a lower register and keep my tone slightly flatter in order to make the song work.

Once the song was recorded, though, I was quite happy with the results, and couldn’t stop laughing my butt off.  Definitely the sign of a good parody!

Some Interesting Song Tidbits

1. The original plan was to make this a Non Juan song.  However, there were certain issues going on involving Non Juan at the time (which I won’t get into here) about a day after I had started recording it as him.  So, I switched it over to an A.P.T. song instead.  Once I finished recording it and put it up on iTunes, the Non Juan issues were resolved, but I liked the way the song sounded at that point. Oh well!

2. The chorus part in this song is shorter.  It’s the same repeat chorus as the original, but I only decided to play it back once instead of twice.  For parody songs, the idea is to get the point across and keep it funny; I thought by keeping the chorus as long as the original song it would make people turn the song off because they’d have to wait for the next part of the joke – i.e. the next verse of the song – to play.

3. My favorite line in the song: “Don’t use it on your face, though/plus u can’t use it down there! (No nair – down theeeeeere!)”

INSIGHTS INTO A VIDEO SHOOT:

This video was on-and-off shot for a lot of days.  I recorded my parts in front of the green screen first, then shot parts in the bathroom.

However, there was ONE part that made me have to wait: the short part of the song where I say “Don’t tell your girl you use it/If you do, she’ll think that you’re a punk… or gay.”  Originally, I was just going to act like I was being all secretive about using Nair to get the point across that I was hiding my usage from my girl.

But then, I figured it would be funny to have an actual girl in the video that could laugh at me for using it. 

Unfortunately, this caused a delay in taping because, when trying to get another person to film something, you have to find someone that’s (a) available, (b) available at the time you need them, and (c) open enough to be on camera and give you the shot you want.

Luckily, my friend Tamika ended up coming over to my apartment one afternoon before work, and agreed to take 10 minutes before she had to go to film the part of the video I needed a girl for.  We only had to do a couple of takes and she nailed it.  Definitely worth waiting for the shot, as it is HILARIOUS in the video!

As for the rest of it, I filmed it in my bathroom.  I don’t really have that hairy of a chest (in fact, I ended up shaving it so the “Nair” effect would look real); instead, I had to use my friend’s semi-afroic party wig as the source of my chest hair.  From there, I set up my Flip camera in my bathroom cabinet, opened its doors and filmed. 

BTW: let me just say, having a Flip camera is awesome.  It’s small enough so you can fit it anywhere, and it shoots stuff in HD.  Love it!

Once I got all my shots, I loaded it up to my Final Cut program and took about 2 days to edit it all together.  The final product is, I must say, pretty darn hilarious, and I hope you all get a kick out of it!

Some Interesting Video Shoot Tidbits

1. For the part of the song where I say “3 minutes later, ooh, it’s all gone/Any longer than that, you’ll burn your skin off…” I have a hole going through my chest where you can see the other side of the bathroom.  To do this, I used the head portion of my green screen suit and held it against my chest.  In post-production, I was able to key the green out and place a picture “behind” it of the actual background of my bathroom.  Pretty cool, huh?

2. The background used on the green screen shots? I went to Wal-mart with one of my friends and took a 1.5 minute long snippet of a rack that had various Nair products.

3. To keep the wig on my chest, I tied a black fire wire around it and my chest.  It was able to blend in with the wig so you can’t even tell its there!

4. And yes, that is actual Nair I’m using in the video.  And yes, I rubbed it on my face for the “Don’t use it on your face” line.  And it smells. BAD. I’d put it on, film it, then wash it off right away so it wouldn’t start eating at my hair!

That’s all for now – enjoy the video, and download the song from iTunes today!

– A.P.T.
www.PrinceOfParody.com

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.

Another week, another video in the can…

I’m glad I had my camera with me when I saw that guy dancing on the train last week, ’cause I had NO idea what I was going to do in terms of a video otherwise.  This week’s video is a little more planned out – it will be a video for a song off “The O-bama Mixtape,” shot simplistically with some good camera angles, and I’ll try to make it funny, too.

Anyway… in making these videos, I realized something: a lot of the decisions I make are spontaneous.  The idea for this site was an idea that I had for about 2 days before I made it, and most of my videos aren’t usually thought of too way in advance.

But it’s not just videos; it’s other decisions I make in general.  I had the idea to move to D.C. in late August, and by the first week of October I was catching a bus up here in hopes of finding a place to stay.  I repeat: in HOPES of finding a place.  I didn’t know if I actually WOULD, I just assumed it.

That’s another thing I’ve been realizing: I put a lot of faith into doing the things I do, oftentimes “assuming” that the things I want to happen will happen, regardless of if there is evidence of that thing actually being able to happen.

A perfect example: everybody – and I mean EVERYBODY – told me that it was expensive to live in D.C., and that there was NO WAY I’d be able to find a place to live in the price range I wanted, which was between zero/month (ha ha ha) and $600.  Even when I told people I’d be willing to have roommates, they STILL said I wouldn’t be able to find anything for under $700, and that I’d probably be living in the ‘hood, i.e. a bad area of town.

I looked in apartment magazines as well as various websites, including Craig’s List, for almost a month before I moved to D.C., and, admittedly, most people were right – it WAS hard to find a place for under $600 a month.

Fast-forward to last Friday, when, about 5 minutes before I had to run to work, I checked Craig’s List one more time and found a person renting a room in a town house for $500 a month plus utilities, in one of the nicest areas near D.C.!

So now, I have a place, and it’s next to all the best shopping centers, movie theatres, restaurants, and malls, and I’m a 15-minute walk away from the train station.  Who knew I’d be able to get in a place surrounded by everything I needed.

Oh that’s right – I DID.

It’s funny because, last week when my future was uncertain and I didn’t know how long it would take me to find a place, my brother asked me if I liked living this way, where I don’t always know what’s going to happen or how I’m going to get to my next destination.  And I thought about it for about 2 seconds… then I turned to him and said:

“Yes. Yes I do.”

Because, in my opinion, too many people go through life trying to be comfortable at all times.  They get into a job they feel is stable, or move to a city/suburb and just “settle” in, and they get some comfortable that they stop challenging themselves.  They have dreams they want to chase but are afraid they’ll fall on their face. So, instead of trying to do what they REALLY want to do and risk uncertainty, pain, and struggle, they stay in the same place and stop growing.

I like to think of myself like a caterpillar.  They eventually become butterflies, but in order to do so, they have to wrap themselves in a cocoon, then fight and push their way out of it so they can become the beautiful creatures God intends them to be. 

A caterpillar would never become a butterfly if they just said, “I want to be a butterfly, but I don’t want to have to struggle a bit to do so.”  Instead, they would just stay a caterpillar their whole life – which wouldn’t be long since, without the cocoons to protect them they’d just die off when winter hits.

Anyway, my point is, I don’t like staying stagnant, and when things start to get too easy for me, I have to change it up.  My life in Atlanta was steady, secure, safe, and BORING.  Once I started having a regular routine in ATL, I knew it was time to move.  Call it “taking the road less travelled,” if you will.

Now that I’m in D.C., I’m sure I’ll eventually have a routine of some kind – but for right now, I can travel so many more places here thanks to the train system here (much more established and far-reaching than ATL’s MARTA system), and I can expand my horizons a bit.  And – God willing – I just may hang out with some friends, too!

That’s all for now – see ya Sunday!

-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 “Fly Chick” (produced by Hi-Fly), from “The A.P.T. LP!”

INSIGHT INTO A SONG:

I was looking up beats one day and came across this beat, produced by Hi-Fly.  The beat was called “The Beautiful One,” and, based on the title of the beat, I started freestyling a song scenario where I was talking about a girl.

When I got to the chorus, the words that came out were: “My one and only fly chick/uh huh, she got the keys to the new whip… my one and only fly chick, my one ride or die chick, always by my side, yeah!”

The chorus was really catchy to me, but the last part – “always by my side” – helped me to invision what the whole song should be about.  Namely, a girl that’s always been there for a guy since before he got famous.

I record all my freestyles, and the words I had said were pretty close to the ones I was going to use. However, I somehow managed to accidentaly record over the freestyle!  Needless to say, I was pissed off.  Because the song was erased, I had to go back and actually write the verses.  Good thing I still remembered the chorus!

Writing the song wasn’t really that hard, though.  All I had to do was think back on my own dating experiences, specifically to those girls I dated that didn’t mind me not having a lot of money, or wanting to see me even when I lived at home with my mom, or didn’t have the best job in the world… the point is, these girls were willing to go out with me simply because of my charming personality (and, hopefully, my stunningly good looks).  Although I haven’t dated that many people, there were a few out of the ones I dated who had the traits I talk about in the song, and I figured guys who currently have girlfriends sticking with them through the tough times would be able to relate.

Some Interesting Song Tidbits:

1. This is one of those songs that doesn’t have a regular flow to it.  It has a flow, but a lot of the words run into each other at times, and there are a lot of pauses.  This is actually how I freestyled the original one, and for some reason this flow just seemed to go well with this beat.  I’m sure I could have done the song a bunch of different ways…

2. My favorite line in the song: “Did I mention that the girl can cook? She cooks Japanese, Chinese, maybe even Siamese…”  I just thought that sounded funny!

3. Like I said, most of the stuff in the song is based on a few women I dated.  I did date a girl who would come see me regularly when I lived with my mom who could also cook oriental food; I dated another girl who would be willing to drop whatever she was doing to see me (yet still managed to get her school work done); yet and still, there are girls who I haven’t dated but have made me feel extra-special in our friendship (not in that way, people!).  Ultimately, the goal is always to take those emotions and try to make them relate to others!

INSIGHT INTO A VIDEO SHOOT:

This video is bittersweet, as it is the last video I shot in Atlanta before moving to Washington D.C.!

Since this song is about me giving praises to my “one and only fly chick,” I wanted to have a girl in the video.  My original vision for the song was to film me and a girl going around town spending time with each other.  As you may know, though, getting people to help me out with these things can be a biaaaaaatch!

However, I figured I could try and ask for some help.  My friend Jessi, who I went to Hampton University with, also does music and is constantly filming herself doing random things and placing them on YouTube.  Since she was already doing these types of things, I shot her an email and asked her if she’d like to be in one of my videos.

Imagine my surprise when she said “Yes!”

Of course, this was about a month ago.  She told me she’d send some footage within a week.  2 weeks later… LoL.  Ah well, I had some other videos to shoot, but she finally sent me some footage that she shot from her MAC computer (and I am insanely jealous that she has a MAC!).

Once I had her part, I had to figure out how I was going to do mine.  The scenario I had set up was that I was on the road touring, but had taken time out to send my girlfriend a song called “Fly Chick,” which she then made a video of herself dancing to, along with shots of her doing other stuff around her house.  I had to figure out how I wanted to show myself as if I was on tour.

My first idea was to film myself singing the song while riding a bus around Atlanta.  But, anyone who lives in Atlanta knows that a touring musician who is popular is NOT catching a MARTA train around ATL, and nobody would believe I was using it as a tour bus!

After much thought, I decided I could film it at the Hartfield National Airport, located at the end of the southern trainline in Atlanta.  I could act as though I had a few hours before my flight took off, so I decide to use my laptop to check my email, and – lo and behold – my girlfriend sent a video to me as a “thank you” for the song!

Pretty simple concept.  All I did was go down to the airport, film myself walking around singing the song, then film myself on my laptop.  To my surprise, though, I didn’t even need my laptop.  It turns out, the Airport supplies pay-per-minute computers with internet access.  So, rather than pull my laptop out the bag, I simply filmed myself “using” one of their computers (at an angle where you couldn’t see the screen so that I didn’t have to actually use the computer, and have to pay $10 for something I didn’t really need to use.  It’s called “creative filming,” people!)

I didn’t have time to edit the video until Saturday due to the time I spent trying to unload my apartment and move.  I thought it might be an easy video to edit – WRONG AS USUAL!  Between me catching a bus to Richmond to visit my Mom, then catching another bus to D.C., eating, trying to find a place to live AND finally getting back to my brother’s house, the video almost didn’t even make it up on YouTube Sunday.  But, like I said, I’m dedicated, and got it up on the site with 20 minutes left to go!

Some Interesting Video Tidbits:

1. My friend shot her footage on a MAC, and her colors were – no pun intended – imMACulate.  I had to add a bit of color boost to my footage so that it would match up with her color scheme.

2. Yes, I actually walked around the airport mouthing the words to my song.  And yes, people were looking at me funny while I did it.  But what do I care??

3. Incidentally, the song was playing through the headphone set around my neck.  It actually played the song pretty loudly, and I was surprised no one walking near me said anything!

4. I actually brought two suitcases with me to the airport.  I was going to use the smaller one as my carry luggage, and use the bigger one to sit my camera on for certain shots.  When it came time for me to sit at the internet terminal, I stacked the small suitcase onto the bigger one so I could get a good angle.

5. Edit time for the video:  eh, I don’t really know.  I did a lot of moving around this weekend – if I had to guess, though, I’d say about 6 or 7 hours.

That’s all for now – enjoy the video and I’ll 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 video is for the song, “Where My Money At” (beat produced by Mister KA).

INSIGHT INTO A SONG:

I don’t normally do songs that could be considered “hard” or “ganster rap-ish.”  I’d like to think that my “lane” in this rap game is the funny, comical guy that can also make raps saying something while keeping the mood light.

However, if I DO decide to do a song not normally in my nature to do, I’ll only do it if (a) I can use it as a means of making a commentary about something (i.e. “Bust My G.A.T.” where I rap about shooting people as a means of showing how dumb it is for rappers to rap about guns), or (b) if it relates to something I’ve personally experienced, to the point where the emotions in the song I’m writing can come across as believable since I’ve gone through them.

And so it is with this week’s song, “Where My Money At,” a song where I’m basically out for revenge against someone for doing me wrong in one of the worst ways possible – by stealing my money.

I found the song for this beat online, and was originally going to do a song called “I’m Sorry, Mama,” where I’d rap about some of the things I did wrong as a kid (nothing big, but ALL kids do stuff to annoy their parents while growing up).  However, life often throws curve balls that make one idea turn into something else.

When I wasn’t doing music stuff, I spent a LOT of time selling stuff on eBay, and I was always looking for a wholesale source to buy goods anywhere I can.  I put an ad up on Craig’s List – in the New York City section – where I said I’d give anyone a PS3 if they could give me a legitimate source for wholesale iPhones (since, during Christmastime, I had bought other name-brand phones from people off Craig’s List and made a LOT of extra money re-selling them on eBay).

I got contacted by someone in New York who said they had a source, so I took my free plane ticket and flew out there.  He showed me the source online, and even showed me where he and some of his relatives had made a purchase for goods.  It seemed legit enough, so I gave him a PS3, flew back home, and began saving up to buy some phones from my new source.

I could type this all day long, but here’s the short version of what happened next:  I got into contact with the person, ordered a wholesale lot of iPhones, and – with the help of a college friend of mine – sent a check to the person in New York.  I figured the phones would get to me within 2 to 3 weeks.

Then 2 weeks passed.  Then a 3rd week.  Then a 4th week.  Then a 5th week.

By the 6th week, I started to get worried.  I contacted the guy and, according to him, the person he gets his phones from – in the United Kingdom! – had sent him a set of iPhone knock-offs.  The phones themselves worked, but since they were an unknown brand and were of cheaper quality, there’d be no way I’d make nearly as much money back on these phones as the Apple ones.

I asked the guy if I could just get my money back for the transaction, to which he replied that because it was a check and he had already sent the guy in the U.K. the money, the only thing he could do was send me the non-name brand phones.

I. Was. FURIOUS.

All I could think about was all the money I’d lost.  Not only that, but I also had to think about all the money my friend had contributed that HE lost.  Well, scratch that – I made him a promise prior to making the transaction that, regardless of what happened, he would, at the very least, get his original investment back.  I had to work extra shifts at my job for 3 weeks, but I made sure he got every last penny back.

Anyway… so, after I got the news about the phone, I had to go to work.  And I had my T-mobile Sidekick phone with me at the time, so I flipped to the note-taking section and just started typing out the words:

“Got a connect in New York, I sent his ass some cash/he sent me a message and the news was bad/His connect sent the product – that shit was fake? Oh great…”

From there, I started typing out a scenario with a very simple question: if I had the means to do so, how would I handle this situation?  To find out, you’ll have to hear the song!

Some Interesting Song Tidbits:

1. I curse a LOT in this song.  I don’t really like to use bad language too much when I’m making songs since (a) I know I have family members that watch my videos, and (b) I really don’t cuss all that much when I talk to people.  However, when I wrote this I was so pissed off – think about it: I not only LOST money, I had to work extra hard to earn back money for someone else, AND I wasn’t going to make any profit on the whole deal.  I think that warrants a lil’ bit of cursing!

2. My favorite line in the song: “Hit ’em with my umbrella – ella – eh/’Cause A.P.T. don’t mess with gun-play.”  Even though this could be considered one of my hard-core songs, I’m still me, and, seeing as I’ve only shot a gun at shooting ranges, I figured I wouldn’t be holding up some guy with one.  Plus, it’s hard to get on a plane with a gun these days!  However, I figured I’d have to cause harm to this guy in someway, and the umbrella idea seemed funny, plus I knew it’d be something people would sing along too, even if they didn’t remember how the rest of the song went.  Yes, I put THIS much thought into certain song lines, people!

3. The last part of the song – where I mention how I spent $5000 trying to get 3 grand back – stems from an episode of “South Park” where Stan and Kenny catch a plane/bus to Mel Gibson’s house to get back the money they spent seeing “Passion of the Christ.”  On the way home, Stan mentions that they spent more money actually trying to GET their money back than the refund itself – but at least they proved their point!

INSIGHT INTO A VIDEO SHOOT:

There’s really not too much insight.  I had gone to visit my brother up in D.C. for the weekend back in late March (and to see Stephen Colbert’s portrait in the National History Museum), and, as I was driving back early in the morning, I got bored and decided to film myself singing along to this song (because, as you can imagine, all musicians carry their latest songs on them at all times).

I posted this video on YouTube a while back prior to the start of this whole “One-Song-a-Week” thing, but it hadn’t gotten many views.  Rather than just re-post it, I decided to add a grainy-looking black-and-white effect to the film to match the mood of the song.

Some Interesting Video Shoot Tidbits:

1. You’ll notice that, as the video rolls on, the white areas of the film become more and more prominent.  When I shot this it was near dawn, and I just happen to pick the time to film this when the sun was starting to rise, thus affecting the light outside, and therefore the white in the film..

2. I still had hair in this video!  I had grown it out for 6 months, and got a hair cut shortly after this video was filmed.

3. Edit time – HA!  Barely an hour and a half.  All I had to do was add the black-and-white effect, the beginning and ending, and BOOM! Done!

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

-A.P.T.

E-mail: aptsongs@hotmail.com

MySpace: www.myspace.com/NotoriousAPT

Screw PCs – I Need a Mac!

So, I filmed my music video for this week yesterday.  And the footage came out pretty good.

I went to load it up onto my PC.  After I hooked the USB cord between my laptop and my camera, I started loading the film and placed the camera on the end of my futon.  As I lied back to rest for a little bit, I heard a “thud.”

I look over… and my camera had fallen off my futon onto the floor, thus disconnecting the camera from the laptop!

No big deal, I thought.  The camera wasn’t damaged, and, after hooking the camera back up to the laptop, it was still able to load the film up on my PC.

After it finished loading, though, a problem arose: the film wouldn’t play in Windows Media.  It would play in Quicktime and Realtime, but in order for me to edit the film, I need it to play in Windows Media. 

And it would. NOT. Play!

Damnit!!

So, now I’m in the position where I have to buy a codec transfer program (for those of you that aren’t tech savvy, a codec is basically programming code that tells WMP it’s okay for the file to play on it) for $30 so I can transfer the film back into WMP mode, or not have a video this week.  Furthermore, NONE of the other files I’ve filmed prior to this week’s video will play now, which means, should I need them in the future, I’ll have to transfer all those files, too.

Then, there’s the recording aspect.  PCs aren’t really built to handle a whole lot of artsy-related projects (i.e. filming, recording music, etc.).  They can do it, but not as efficiently as a MAC, which comes with software programmed into it to do those things. 

I got an interface for my studio mic so that I can record vocals that don’t sound like they were said into a pod-cast radio mic (yay!).  Unfortunately, because a studio mic uses something called “Phantom Power,” it takes up a bit more memory on my PC than my other mic did. 

The result? For one, I can’t have any other programs open when I’m recording. This includes Fruity Loops, which I would normally open up to play the beat back while I record – if I do that now, everything slows up so much that the recording and the playback sound choppy. (Luckily, I found an old MP3 Player lying around that I can load my beats up to and listen to while I record.) Secondly, when I record, there will be times where I’ll record a verse, and then go back and listen to it, only to find that there was a split second here or there where the audio jumped and didn’t catch a word or two I said.

Because of this, it’s taking me longer to record all this stuff.  It will still be coming out on Sunday, August 24th, and it will sound GREAT – but instead of putting together a song in, say, an hour, each song will probably take me a minimum of 2.5 to 3 hours to cut and paste together.

Oh, the things I will do to satisfy a dream.

By the way: the album is being sold for 5.99.  The way I see it, if I sell at least 200 copies, I can go out and buy myself a MAC, and use it solely for music-related projects, thus allowing my PC to be used for internet-related things only.

-A.P.T.

E-mail: aptsongs@hotmail.com

MySpace: www.myspace.com/notoriousapt

If I haven’t said it enough already, thanks to everybody who’s downloaded “The O-Bama Mixtape” so far!!

As of now it’s been downloaded over 300 times, and – seeing as this is the age of bootlegging – I’m sure it’s been copied, given out to friends and/or uploaded to P2P sites by now.  Just like I wanted!!

If you think the mixtape is good, just WAIT until you hear the album!! I can’t give the title away yet (until I get my songs for it copyrighted – after all, people LOVE stealing good ideas), but it comes out August 24th, and it’s going to be HOT!!

Okay, so my original plan for the album was to make all the beats myself… but honestly, I’m in more of a mode these days to write songs and let others focus on the beats.  Luckily, I always think ahead, and made a LOT of beats back in the days when I still felt like making them, so I have a plethora of them to choose from for the album.

Still, though, I wanted to expand my range and get other sounds on the LP.  My productions are great, but I don’t have all the fancy-smanshy high-end equipment that other producers have.  To that end, I have found other sources of beats whereby I can lease the beats I want to use.  This is different from owning a beat exclusively, as the original beat-maker will still be able to sell the beat.  The upside is that I can lease the beat for relatively cheap ($25 – $50 for most) as opposed to paying a LOT for an exclusive right to a beat ($100 – $1500 or HIGHER). 

Some people might think, “Geez, A.P.T., why not just own the beat exclusively so others can’t use it?” Easy: again, we live in the age of bootlegging, where other people are going to steal it anyway.  I didn’t even release the instrumental version of “Obama, Obama,” yet lo and behold, people managed to download it, slice out the “Obama” vocal, re-make the beat and make their own song anyway!! (I see you, Tyga – nice job on MY beat!!) Heck, I used other people’s beats for MY mixtape – even if that other person couldn’t sell their version of song, they could still get famous off it, so why spend all that money!??

Speaking of money: there are a LOT of beats I’ve found that I want to use, but at the moment I only have enough money to pay my rent, my phone, and my internet bills.  At this point in my life, though, I don’t let problems like not having money stop me from doing what I’m doing.  To that end, I already have a person who said they’d do my graphics for FREE (in exchange for name exposure – not a problem at all!), and I got financing for the beats that aren’t mine that I want to use on the album.

The LP itself is mostly done, but I’m going to re-record a few things so they sound good, and record some newer songs, too.  All in all, the album will probably have 12 or 13 songs on it.  I used to think this wasn’t enough songs, but I’ve bought many albums where they ran close to an hour and 20 minutes, and it seemed too long.  I only want a hour of your time, people – after that, you can play me over and over again until the next set of songs comes out!

Lastly: my video for this week.  Actually, it’s already up on my YouTube site, but I’m reposting it because (a) I put it up before I started this site, so it hasnt’ gotten much attention, and (b) it’s a song that’s on my mixtape, so it makes for good advertising.  I was tempted to place 2 videos up, but I’m trying to keep with my original mantra of one song/video a week (which is actually getting HARDER now that I’ve got all these video ideas floating around). 

I’ve already started next week’s video, and after that I’ll start putting up videos for songs that will be on my official album so I can get people excited about it.

That’s all for now – it’s hot in my apartment, and I think I need some fresh air.  See y’all on Sunday!!

-A.P.T.

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

Geez and wow, is it Saturday already??

As I’m typing this, it’s 11:41 PM (start time) on Friday, so technically it’s on the cusp of Saturday.  Man oh man, what a week it’s been!  I started out being in DC on Sunday, came back to Atlanta, worked, hung out with friends, went to work… ya know the normal stuff.

Then, there was the internet version of my week: another online interview, tracking my views for videos on YouTube (the “Obama” one is now getting an average of 10,000 views per day), getting letters from radio DJs/listeners saying my song is being played on their station, accepting MySpace friends (now at over 400 – not bad, considering I had 250 prior to this whole thing starting)…

All that, and I still have a video to make!

I swear, it feels like I’m living a double-life right now.  I have all this stuff I do online to get my music out, yet I go about my normal life as if all that stuff isn’t happening. 

Well, at least I TRY to.  I don’t usually bring up my exploits or what I’m doing unless somebody asks me – I’m always of the thought that they don’t REALLY want to hear about it unless they ask.  These days, though, I get asked a LOT. 

I go to work now, and the first thing I’ll usually get is someone asking me what my next video’s going to be about, or how many hits my videos have on YouTube, or if they can be in my videos – an odd thing for me, considering that I was asking people a few weeks ago to be in my videos and… well, I didn’t get ignored, I just didn’t get an answer, or would here a “sure,” followed by a no-show appearance. 

It’s funny how perceived fame can make people view you different, even if slightly.  But I don’t feel like analyzing that tonight.  The thing that bugs me out is, despite the growing radio play, offers, media attention, whatever, at the end of the day the goal hasn’t been reached yet, which is to get PAID for my music!!

I just sent my song off to ASCAP so that I can get paid whenever my song is played on the radio, yet that can take 6 months or longer to get paid from.  I have a mixtape coming out Sunday that I can’t charge for because it uses other people’s beats, and the album I’m making that I CAN get paid for isn’t coming out until August 24th (it’s called “building anticipation” – first the free stuff, then the stuff you make people pay for). 

Until then, I’m relying soley on my job for money (ugh) and donations from fans of my music.  When I first told my brother I’d be setting up a link for people to donate money, he thought it was a dumb idea – “Nobody’s gonna donate money without getting something in return” was his main thought.

But lo and behold: people have actually started to donate some money to help me out!

I have it set up so that people can donate whatever amount they want, be it a penny, one dollar, five dollars, ten-thousand dollars, whatever!  I’m not picky about how much a person donates, I’m just happy that they care enough to do so.  With that said, I have been receiving some donations, and I just want to say to those people, THANK YOU. 

For those of you who haven’t donated, perhaps you’d like to know where your donation money will go:

  1. OBTAINING BETTER EQUIPMENT.  The current recording devices I use now aren’t the best in quality – I use an H2 Zoom microphone which is really better used for talk radio recording; a basic Fruitly Loops program (i.e. doesn’t contain all the bells and whisles a full program has to offer); and a Kodak 6.1 MegaPixel camera to record videos.  In short, I’d like to be able to upgrade ALL these items so I can provide better-sounding material and higher-quality videos.
  2. STUDIO TIME.  There are several songs I’ve written that would require me to scream, shout, or use inflections with higher voice ranges… and I can’t record them.  Why? Because I record all this stuff in my apartment, and have neighbors that would complain.  Extra money would mean being able to record my songs in a sound-proof environment where I could yell ’til my heart was content!
  3. TOURING/TRAVEL FUNDS.  People have been requesting me to do performances in different states – but I can’t get there because I have no (a) car, or (b) money set aside for travel expenses.  Even if I only stayed someplace for one night, I wouldn’t be able to afford the hotel – well, I would, if I had donation money set aside!
  4. TITHING.  I grew up in the church, and believe whole-heartedly in giving back 10% to God and/or charitable causes.  And, being in Atlanta, there are certainly many churches I could give back to!

If you’d like to donate money, it’s very easy – click on the link at the top of the page that says “Donations and Charities,” and give whatever is in your heart, people!!

Okay, so onto this week’s video: it’s the second part of the video I debut last week, “Crank That (Yeah!),” a song that was a lil’ out of my lane, but necessary to set up for this week’s song.  I don’t want to say to much about it, except to say it’s kind of a diss at old-school rappers who are constantly complaining about how the current generation is “killing hip-hop.”  I hate when they say that because… dang – I’ll have to finish that thought on Sunday!

I’ll probably post the video up late because my 14-year old cousin is going to be visiting me, and I’m hoping I have time to give him a little cameo in the video.  He has friends that are fans of mine (geez, that’s weird to type), so I figured it might be a big thing for him to be in it.  Or it could be a small thing and he may not want to do it.  Either way, it’s a small enough part to where I can film and edit the rest of the video before he gets here, and add his part in last.

Okay, it’s officially Saturday (12:09 PM)!  Let’s see, is there anything else I need to type… oh, yeah:

THE O-BAMA MIXTAPE DROPS SUNDAY, JULY 27TH!!! Make sure you download your copy on that day!!

-A.P.T.

P.S. Oh, I almost forgot: here is another video someone did with my song, “Obama, Obama.”  I have people re-making videos for my songs now – how awesome is THAT?!?

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

Another week, another video in the can.

As of right now, I’ve done 10 videos – 8 really, if you don’t include “Erectile Dysfunction” (which was really just a bunch of pictures) and “Hey Jesse Jackson” (which just had a picture of Jesse Jackson showing while the song played).  Making videos is hard work, but it does have the GREAT bonus of getting exposure for both my music and my face – people, for better or worse, at least know what the person making all these songs looks like, and they can get a taste of my personality.

There’s another advantage as well: people are starting to request for me to come to their towns and perform.  I already got an offer from some guy that wants me to possibly tour around on a college tour this fall (offer still pending), but now I’m also getting requests from cities outside of Atlanta to perform (D.C. and South Carolina come to mind right now).

One small problem: I have NO idea how to set up a tour!!!

But to be honest, I had NO idea I’d actually become popular off this whole “One-Song-a-Week” thing.  After passing around my music, performing, making songs and trying to send my stuff off to record companies for almost 4 years without any forward movement, it’s kinda hard to plan for what happens once you actually HAVE an audience of people!  I have fans, I have people that want more of my music (both free AND with a price tag – woo-hoo for that!), and – now it seems – I have people that want to see me perform live.

So far, I’ve only performed once since I started this site.  My brother’s 25th birthday party was this past weekend in D.C., and he asked if I’d perform “Obama Obama” at it with him as my DJ/hypeman.  So I did – there we were, me and my brother, performing in front of an audience of people, most of whom weren’t all that familiar with the song… and we ROCKED it!  I meant to film it but I couldn’t find my camera – a darn shame, because we had so much energy, we played off each other well, and the audience went CRAZY, both for the song and the performance!

So, I definitely want to start doing more shows.  Only one problem: I don’t have a car.  I don’t have a car!

Of course, there is something to be said for catching a bus to some of these places.  All I really, REALLY need to perform is an instrumental of my songs and a microphone.  Of course, bus tickets cost money, so if I were going to perform someplace, the venue would either have to pay me enough to cover my bus fare and possibly an overnight hotel stay.  But I certainly wouldn’t mind doing it.

But again – how does one set up something like that??  How would I know which places would have a large enough A.P.T. fanbase for me to spend my time going there to perform?  How would I negotiate costs and payments?  How could I get into contact with bigger acts looking for openers?  There is still so much I have to learn about the industry…

…but at least it’s nice to know that I have people wanting to see me perform, as well as other things.  I have to figure out how to make all this stuff possible – I would LOVE to be a paid touring musician, making money off performing songs I created that people have grown to love… man, that’s the life.

For now though – I’m getting some dinner, ’cause I ain’t eatin’ in 8 hours. Peace!

-A.P.T.

E-mail: aptsongs@hotmail.com
MySpace Page: http://www.myspace.com/notoriousapt