Tag Archive: Song


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

Another week, another video in the can…

Man. That’s 16 videos so far. I did 2 this week, one for a video called “Shine 4 Obama” which got taken down by YouTube because it featured Luther Vandross. I’m sure Sony probably caught wind of that one… I re-post it on a different site and then post it up on my MySpace page, so it’s now a “MySpace Exclusive.” I’d post it here, but this site doesn’t allow HTML.

Friggin’ sux.

Anyway, people really seemed to like the “Smooth Talker” video, and I couldn’t be happier. At the same time, while people are watching that video I’m already thinking of next week’s video – and, to be quite honest, thinking of a video every week can be straining at times.

Sometimes, these ideas will come to me waaaay early in advance. I had the idea for the filming of the “Smooth Talker” video as far back as July. For this week’s video, though, I’m still thinking up ideas of how I want it to come together.

I actually had another song in mind for this week’s upcoming video, but it requires one of my friends to film her part for me – from California – and then send me the footage to edit. I don’t know if she’ll have filmed it in time for Sunday, though, so I always have to have a “just in case things don’t come through” back-up plan video. Of course, I didn’t start thinking about that until Tuesday, so trying to pull an idea out of my ass is, as you can assume, quite painful (as would pulling anything out of your ass in general).

With that said, the video is for a song that’s on “The A.P.T. LP,” and over 4 years old. The song is quite hilarious, and the idea I have for the video it is semi-ambitious. If I can pull it off, though, it will be AWESOME. I start shooting for the video tomorrow – I don’t have to work tomorrow night, which will give me Friday night/Saturday afternoon to film it, then Saturday night to edit. I’m going to try and actually write out a plan for the video this time (usually I just film on the fly) so I can save myself some time.

That’s all for now – see you all on Sunday!

-A.P.T.

E-mail: aptsongs@hotmail.com

MySpace: www.myspace.com/NotoriousAPT

 

Memo to YouTube: You can’t stop me, bitches!!!

Yeah, they took down my entire site, but so what?!?  I’m on a mission people.  One video/song (minimum) every Sunday for one year.  That’s 52 videos (minimum) from May 2008 to May 2009.

I hope you didn’t think losing all 316,000 views for my “Obama Obama” video, or the 4500+ views for my “The N!@@er Song” would cause me to go crying off into the sunset.  

And yeah, who cares if you messed up my advertising plan for my album – I STILL sold a few copies, and guess what?  I’m going to sell even MORE once the videos come out — on YOUR site!!

So… with that said, this week’s video is already in the can.  It’s from one of the songs off “The A.P.T. LP”, a hot dance song with a bangin’ beat and some… interesting… lyrics and scenarios.  Yeah – that’s all I want to say about it for now!

Okay, I’m done!  And HA HA HA to YouTube – you can’t stop a man with a dream, people!!

-A.P.T.

E-mail: aptsongs@hotmail.com

MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/NotoriousAPT 

Well… my world was certainly rocked yesterday.

I spent over 32 hours straight the 2 days before (from Saturday til Sunday morning) editing my album, “The A.P.T. LP,” with no sleep, resulting in me not feeling too good on Monday. But that wasn’t the bad part. No, the bad part was when I went to check on my YouTube views, only to discover that my page had been taken down.

No page, no videos, no views… and, most importantly, NO advertising for my album.

Yes, all those videos I had that included links to my site where people could get my albums and mixtapes were taken down. Takes quite a toll on your album sales when you can’t even tell people where to find your stuff.

So, what do I do now?

Rebuild. Rebuild, rebuild, rebuild!

I went back and read the terms and conditions of YouTube, and have a few theories as to why they may have taken my stuff down. One, I had quite a few videos up where I used other people’s beats without permission. Two, I was advertising my products on the site, mentioning the price in the process. Apparently if you’re not paying YouTube for ad space you aren’t allowed to do that. And three – and this is my uncle’s theory – someone from either McCain or Obama’s campaign took it down. My site was getting a LOT of attention and subscribers, and, with the Democratic/Republican conventions happening this week and next week, more and more people would probably be seeing my videos – and lord knows that might be disastrous for their campaigns!

Regardless of the reason though, I always like to learn lessons from my mistakes. The first lesson: if you’re going to use other people’s beats, get a license saying you can do so. That way, you can legally use them and not have your stuff taken down.

The second lesson: don’t put your eggs all in one basket. I placed all my videos on YouTube, but didn’t even consider uploading them to MySpace, photobucket, or other sites where it would have been hard for them to take down every post I had out there.

And the third lesson: utilize MySpace more. The site is set up so musicians can advertise and/or legally sell their music. Now that I know how to gain friends on the site, it should be easier for me advertising-wise to get to more people, and, hopefully, sell a few albums.

Am I down about all this? A lil’ bit – I had high expectations for how this whole album would roll out, and now I have to re-think my strategy on how to get people to know my stuff is out there. But hey, I’ve always been a person able to get knocked down, pick himself back up and try again, and this time is no different.

By the way, my new YouTube site address is www.youtube.com/APTsongs. There’s always a chance it could be taken down, but for now it works.  In the meantime, I’m still trying to figure out a way to re-post up my videos on this site – because wordpress doesn’t allow for HTML code, I can’t just load up the vids at another site and paste them on here.   Worst-case scenario, I move all this stuff to blogger.com, where HTML code is appreciated!

-A.P.T.

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

Help A.P.T. get his music career started – SEND A DONATION! Click HERE for more info!

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

MULTIPLE “Obama, Obama” Ringtones Now Available!! Preview Them HERE: “Obama, Obama” Ringtone – 2.99 *Only 1.99, this week only (July 8-15, 2008)!

Hey everybody!

People have been asking me how I set up and record my videos.  So, I made a video explaining how I make my videos.  It’s an interesting process, so take a look!

Oh yeah – NEW MUSIC VIDEO TOMORROW!!

-A.P.T.

E-mail: aptsongs@hotmail.com

MULTIPLE “Obama, Obama” Ringtones Now Available!! Preview Them HERE: “Obama, Obama” Ringtone – 2.99 *Only 1.99, this week only (July 8-15, 2008)!

Okay, so… um… hmm, let’s see…

I hesitate to tell people this, because… well, I don’t know.  It’s a catch-22 because, on the one hand, I’m supposed to be blogging here about my progress from average-working guy trying to make music in his studio apartment, to, hopefully, music mega-star who’s traveling the country performing his songs in different locals.  At the same time, though, when I DO type any progressions up that are significant, I don’t want them to come across as “bragging,” or have people suddenly treating me different. 

Well, except for people in the industry that didn’t care about me before.  I’d LOVE for them to treat me differently so I could do my music on a larger scale!

With that said, though, what I’m about to type is simply factual information about what has happened in the last couple of days…

So, I have a song/music video I did called “Obama, Obama,” a parody of Lil’ Wayne’s “A Milli” that talks about all things Obama.  At this point, I don’t even have to say the “Lil’ Wayne parody” part anymore – right now the videos at over 62,000 views (and counting) on YouTube, and people are downloading the song at an alarming rate, both on this site and other sites like zshare and probably others I don’t know about.

The advantage of using an avenue like YouTube, as well as the Internet in general, is that a song can be spread quickly without me having to physically be there to pass it around.  And, apparently, my song has traveled to several parts of the country. 

Last night, I was checking some of the newer comments on my video’s YouTube wall (as I do on a regular basis now – my E-mail box is flooded with comment updates every other minute now), and I came across one that took me by surprise.  It was by a user named “Yourboyeddie,” and… well, here’s what the comment said:

  • “Classic fam.  I posted [the video] on my website.”

 

Nothing big – LOTS of people have posted my video on their website (and placed the song on their MySpace page – I believe my friend Michele was the first to do so, so SHOUT OUT TO MICHELE FOR THE SUPPORT FROM DAY ONE!)

Then, he left another comment:

  • “And I played it on the radio.”

 

Um, what?

I got played on the radio.  I got play on the radio?

I GOT PLAYED ON THE RADIO!!!

For some reason, I couldn’t quite comprehend what he was saying, so I wrote him and told him to let me know where and what station had played it.  He wrote me back:

  • “Yeah, I just played the majority of the 2nd verse on the radio and even posted your video on our stations website.  I played it about 6 minutes ago… well done, man.”

 

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!

A few minutes later, I got another posted comment, this time from a user named “ZuluWarrior1856” saying:

  • “DAMN, just now KUBE 93 radio station played this song on the radio!! In Seattle.  This $#!+’s f–kin’ nice so keep it up, aptistheman.”

 

SEATTLE?!?  How’d my song get to Seattle?!? (Oh right, the Internet – I forgot this thing is everywhere :P)

Since then, I’ve been informed that my song has also been played in two other areas of the country: station WPEG in Charlotte and Louisville’s B 96.5 in Kentucky.  At the moment, I’m looking to get air play here in Atlanta, which should be a LOT easier now that other big radio markets have already played it.

So, now I’m in a weird type of zone because, on the one hand, my song is gaining in popularity and being played on radio.  On the other hand, aside from hearing all this great stuff, nothing has really changed just yet.  I’m still at my current job, I’m still in my studio apartment saving up money, and I’m still creating songs and videos to put up on the site.  It’s almost like this good stuff is happening to me, yet not happening to me at the same time.

But, I know it’s all about patience.  I think the advantage of having waited until 26 to see even a small form of success is that I know a little bit of what to expect and what to look out for.  A lot of people catch fame at an early age and, because they aren’t properly educated on how to do business or handle themselves, they get screwed in the end, or get themselves into things (drugs, wrong crowd, etc.) that they have no business in.

Another advantage: I know that becoming successful is partially about having fun, and partially about handling the business aspect of it.  To that end, I’ve already got an entertainment lawyer who agreed to represent me LAST year… but, up until now, I didn’t really have any momentum behind any of my songs or projects, so she didn’t really have a reason to push hard for my stuff.  Now, I’ve got a meeting with her on Monday to figure out my next step.  Funny how having numbers to back up your popularity rise suddenly makes people want to do business with you!

So, that’s the going’s on for now.  I’m shooting the video for this Sunday’s song tomorrow.  As for right now, I just want to get off the computer for a while, relax, and enjoy a good movie.  Peace out!

-A.P.T.

MULTIPLE “Obama, Obama” Ringtones Now Available!! Preview Them HERE: “Obama, Obama” Ringtone – 2.99 *Only 1.99, this week only (July 8-15, 2008)!

E-Mail: aptsongs@hotmail.com

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

SEND DONATIONS – Click HERE For More Info!

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

MULTIPLE “Obama, Obama” Ringtones Now Available!! Preview Them HERE: “Obama, Obama” Ringtone – 2.99 *Only 1.99, this week only (July 8-15, 2008)!

Song #5 on this blog – “Obama, Obama (Remake of Lil’ Wayne’s “A Milli”) – has proven to be popular.  VERY popular.

I put in on YouTube on June 22, and, as I’m typing this, it’s been seen by over 6,000, and its popularity has been doubling every day.  This type of exposure is what I’ve been DYING for ever since I started making music!

I originally had a download link for the song, as I do all my other songs, and by the end of the second day 29 people had already downloaded it.  This got my mind thinking: would people be willing to pay to download the song?  To find out, I took the original link down and posted up a link where people would have to purchase the song for 99 cents.

After I put the link up, I went to work.  While there, I had a sudden though: what if, instead of making people pay for the song, I used this song as a way to get some of my OTHER music out so people could get a real feel for the type of songs I make??

I’ve been making songs for quite a few years now, and have enough of a catalogue built up to where I can give some of my songs away for free.  Given that the song got downloaded by so many people so fast, I figured I could provide a link that had the “Obama, Obama” song, and include 4 other songs in the link so people could hear my other songs and, hopefully, start to become fans!

And that’s what I did.  Now, the link includes “Obama, Obama,” as well as 4 other songs of mine – “Hooptie,” “Erectile Dysfunction” (my Snoop Dogg “Sexual Seduction” parody), “Bust My GAT,” and “Shout Out 2 My Big Girls.” 

So far, the new link has been downloaded 50 times in 3 days, and I couldn’t be happier!!  Those downloads probably only represent a fraction of the people who’ve heard my stuff – I’m assuming those people have made copies for their friends to listen to, which means I’m slowly starting to develop a fan base!!

Oh yeah – for those too lazy to click to the original link for the song, click here to go to the download page for the “Obama” mixtape 🙂 — “Obama, Obama” + Bouns Songs

Well, that’s all for today – it’s the 4th of July, and I’ve got fun to be had!

-A.P.T.

E-mail: aptsongs@hotmail.com

This week’s song/music video is for the song, “Back to the Future.”

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INSIGHT INTO A SONG:

I’ve actually had the idea for this song for almost two years now.  I came up with the chorus when I was showering one day, and it stuck with me from them up until now.

I’ve also gone through many free-styled versions of the song, but never seemed to have a microphone around when I did.  Despite this small setback, I knew the chorus was catchy enough to eventually sit down and write a song to it.

Then came this previous week.  I was going to do a video for a song I had already recorded, but sometimes life comes into play and makes you want to write about emotions you’re feeling right there at that moment.  And so it was with this song.

The song is called “Back to the Future” because, in the song, there is a conversation that takes place between my present self – i.e. “previous me” – and my future self – i.e. “future me.”  Previous me is pissed off because his life situation isn’t as glamorous as he’d like it to be, and the people around him – friends, girls, etc. – aren’t as reliable as he’d like them to be.  He calls up future me to vent and ask if he ever succeeded in his goals.

Future me, meanwhile, acts as a sounding board for previous me in the first act, then reassures his former self that, with a little patience and hard work, he will eventually reach his dreams.

I was prompted to write this song after various events that happened to me this week.  I won’t go into detail, but suffice to say, there were parts of this past week where people were either unreliable, didn’t stick to what they said they would do, or just blew me off completely without any explanation.  It happens quite often, actually, as I’m sure it has to all the other people who were ignored or mistreated by others prior to becoming famous.  Oh well – makes fodder for good song material!

I had another beat in mind for the song, one that I would have had to create myself.  Unfortunately, it involved a sample from a Nintendo game, and the company is not known for making it easy to get a sampling license.  Luckily, I found this beat online a while back, courtesy of FreQ BeatZ, and it sounded bouncy enough to get people’s heads bobbin, while at the same time allowing a sense of hope to be felt on the track.

Some Interesting Song Tidbits:

1. The original version of this song had a LOT more cussing in it than this version does.  However, now that I have family members checking out my page, I figured I should probably keep the cussing to a minimum, and only use it as a last resort (i.e. if the word I’d try to use to replace it would just sound silly).

2. The addition of the “phone voice” was added in last minute.  I was trying to figure out a way I could make a distinction in the two voices when they were on the phone with each other aside from changing the octave of my voice, but couldn’t figure out how to call myself.  It didn’t dawn on me until AFTER I had finished recording it that my phone had voice recorder on it!  I was considering doing the entire second verse in phone voice, but I would have had to re-record the ENTIRE song, and plus it would sound annoying hearing that for a full 16 bars!

3. In making a song, I have to make the scenarios relatable to everybody, not just me.  Therefore, some of the things mentioned out of anger by the “character” in the song – hating the job, clothes being a mess, friends laughing at me – are only partially true.  I like my job most of the time, I do have a few clothes that look decent, and my friends don’t laugh at me for following my dreams (helping me out, however, is a different story).  However, all these things DO happen to other people, so they are mentioned.

INSIGHT INTO A VIDEO SHOOT:

I could type about this all day, but I’ll try to make it short.  The video shoot took 2 days.  In the first part of the video, you’ll see me at this restaurant called “Willy’s” which is right down the street from where I live.  Because I had to get three time-periods (day, dusk, and night), I had to go back to the restaurant 3 times and be able to sit at the same exact table each time to film.

Amazingly, each time I went, the table I used was the ONLY table not being used! Thank you, God!

The next day, I filmed the scenes for “future me” at a nearby parking lot.  I did it during the day time because I wanted there to be a contrast between “future me” – who’s career and dream outlook is sunny – and “previous me,” who’s scenes were done at night to contrast with his feelings of dispair. Yes, people, I really put a LOT of thought into this stuff!

I was going to film the nighttime scene that very same evening after I got home from work, but I think I got tired or something, and went to sleep.  I woke up at 5:15 Saturday morning, and thought to myself: “I do NOT want to be filming this Saturday night, and then trying to edit this whole thing by Sunday morning!”

I only had about an hour-and-a-half before daylight would start to hit, so I ran downstairs and filmed the “coming home from the restaurant at night” scene, even though it was taped in the morning 😛

The hardest part of this entire video was the editing.  I went to Starbucks and spent 3 hours editing it, only to have my Windows Movie Maker program crash the program!  I had to start from scratch, and when I did, THAT program crashed also!  None of the programs would play after I saved them, and I got so mad, I had to quit and leave the coffee shop for some R&R.

I detoured to Target to see about buying another editing program, but they costs a LOT of money! Finally, I said “screw it,” and figured I would just post up another video that I’d already done.  Imagine my surprise, then, when, upon getting home, the program decided to up and work (almost) perfectly for the remainder of the evening.

Still, I WANT A MAC!!

Some Interesting Video Shoot Tidbits:

1.  I originally had another opening for this video, consisting of me preparing for my date.  This was in the original edit before my program crashed, and after looking over it again, I realized that, although I liked the opening, it took way too long to get to the song.  YouTube people tend to have short attention spans, so I shortened the opening (which included the clips you see now at the beginning).

2.  I usually like to include other pics and/or shots of me doing stuff within the song.  However, I really wanted this to look like a conversation between two people, and felt like adding all those other elements would distract from it.  The only outside bits of film in the video are the train and the scene where I’m asking the girl out – everything else is just me and myself!

3. You may be asking, “what’s with the look of the ‘future me’ clips?” Well, the artsy way of answering it would be, since most people only have an idea of what they THINK their future will look like, I figured giving the “future me” clips an outline look would symbolize the incompleteness of thought this successful future has.  After all, we don’t know what cars, buildings, or other surroundings will look like, but the outline of future progress is always looming.

But really, I just like the way it looked 🙂

4. The car in the video is NOT my car, nor did I vandalize someone’s property.  Atlanta has a ZipCar program which allows people like me to sign up for usage of cars stationed throughout the city.  Since I am part of the program, I was able to use the car as a prop without getting in trouble.  This is called “creative strategy,” people!

5. Lastly, it’s a bit ironic that I mention in the song how friends won’t help me.  My friend, Michele, was more than happy not only to send me a “rejection” text message (at the EXACT time I asked for it, no less!), but to call and leave a “no-show” message for me to use!  It’s also ironic that she’s playing the part of the “unreliable girl,” since she’s always been very reliable to me.  Thanks, Michele!

So, there’s your insights for this week’s song/video.  Enjoy, and I’ll see you next week!

-A.P.T.

aptsongs@hotmail.com