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Be Specific: Rapper Garvey “The Chosen One” on Going Back to School

Local rapper Garvey "The Chosen One" used Calvin Coolidge High School as the location for his new video. (Photo courtesy of the artist)

When it came time for D.C.-bred rapper Garvey “The Chosen One” to pick a video shoot location for his latest single “Lock It Down,” he could have gone with Ben’s Chili Bowl, Hains Point or any other big area landmark. Instead, he chose a local high school as the backdrop.

And Northwest’s Calvin Coolidge High School, alma mater of the video’s director, Robert "Bob Smoke" Headen, did more than just provide the setting -- members of the school’s band, cheerleading team, step team and dance squad are all featured in the recently released video. Click Track talked to the Garvey about the single and his recent trip back to high school.

All of the people in the halls of the high school where the “Lock It Down” video is set are wearing orange uniforms with “Cougars” written across them -- does that mean it was shot at Coolidge?

Yeah, Calvin Coolidge Senior High School. We were going around, looking for a school to shoot at and we chose them. I think we gave Coolidge a good look.

Did you go to Coolidge?

I went to Cardozo.

So how did this come about?

I met a couple of the school’s teachers and the music director at a basketball game, Caron Butler had a basketball classic and their band played. I met Mr. Benjamin Sands, the music director and I saw the crowd’s reaction to the band and I thought, that’s who we should use.

Does the band play on the track itself, or just in the video?

The band plays in the video -- they actually learned the music and they should be playing the instrumental version it at future games.

And all of the cheerleaders and dancers -- did someone on your side of things give them choreography?

They made up the “Lock It Down” dance, they practiced it for almost a month, and I never saw it. When we finally went to shoot and they did the steps, they were like, “Do you like it?” I was enthused.

Tell me about the motivation for the track itself.

Washington, D.C. has really had a hard time as far as hip-hop. We’ve had a couple of guys come out, but trying to get noticed, go mainstream is hard. I wanted everybody to know I’m on my way, I have the game locked down, and I have a lot to offer. I feel like I’m a champion, and I’m coming to lock it down.

My homie DJ Rico Anderson produced the track, and it just felt so good; music is emotion, so when I listened to the beat, I just thought, lock it down.

And how long have you been doing this?

I’ve been doing music seven years, and within the last year it’s been a good change of look with the music. Since 2004, I’ve been releasing two CDs a year, doing a lot of promotion and it’s finally paying off. The current album, “Hard Hat Area Vol. 1” is in all DTLR stores…and Paul Williams, the boxer, gave me one of the biggest looks. I performed “Lock It Down” at a fight at the [Washington] Convention Center and gave him a CD. Then, I’m watching HBO, and he came out to my song! That helped us shoot the video, when he let us know how it inspired him.

Did you have to clean up the track at all, once you decided you’d be shooting the video in a high school and using students? Any curse words that needed to be taken out?

Well really, with me, I don’t curse in my music. There were a couple of words I used that I had to clean up or take out, but it was no major thing.

And did you watch any other videos or movies set in high school for inspiration while you were working on the video?

I remember my partner showed me “School Daze” with “Da Butt” and they were having so much fun in the school. I talked about it with Bob, he went to the school’s music director, and he brought it to life. The kids enjoyed it, the parents enjoyed it. I want to thank the students of Coolidge for all of their hard work- -- they’re proud of how the video came out. We looked out for the school, and they really looked out for us.

I can’t imagine what it would’ve been like if, when I was in school, someone had come in to shoot a video. I’ll stay in touch with the kids -- a lot of the kids in the band want to learn more about the music we’re doing, the production side of things. I think this will go a long way.

By Sarah Godfrey  |  April 2, 2010; 1:15 PM ET
Categories:  Be specific  | Tags: Garvey the Chosen One  
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