News & Politics

My First Time . . . Having a Video Go Viral

Remy Munasifi shares his tale of a career first.

Remy Munasifi’s rap video about milk garnered close to 3 million views on Youtube. Photograph courtesy of Remy Munasifi

As told to Michael Gaynor

I was in my first year of law school when someone introduced me to YouTube. All these comedy videos were getting millions of hits, and they weren’t even that great. I remember thinking, “Hey, I’m not that great, either. I could be just as not-that-great as those people!” I bought a camera and a computer and didn’t go back to school that fall.

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I started my YouTube channel in 2006, and the first video I ever made was a song about the Senate race in Virginia that year. It was a silly blues song about a brown guy who liked George Allen. I called it “Macaca Blues: The Music Video!”

I remember seeing that 12 people had watched it, and I was floored. I was like, “I only know four people! That’s eight unaccounted-for people who’ve seen my video!”

Shortly after, I got this idea to do a rap video. About milk. I’d only been making videos for a few weeks, and it was the first time I’d ever rapped. I called it “Two Percent Milk: The Rap,” which is just a ridiculous idea. But I went with it. I stopped by Walmart and bought about 40 gallons of milk. By the way, if you want to get some suspicious looks, go try to buy 40 gallons of milk at Walmart.

I was up all night pouring milk all over my dad’s house—on the counter, in the bathtub—and rapping about how great milk is.

After I posted the video, I saw for the first time how powerful the Internet is. The video started getting more and more views, people sharing it with their friends. I remember checking my e-mail and seeing pages and pages of new mail. It was surreal. The milk video ended up with close to 3 million views. It meant a lot that after quitting law school, after trying to learn how to use a camera and edit video and looking like an idiot, people genuinely enjoyed it.

I have one video called “McDonald’s: The Rap” that’s been watched over 20 million times. I know that’s a large number, but it’s not easy to wrap your head around. You make these things and you just want your audience to enjoy them. Even if it’s only 12 people.

Washington native Remy Munasifi became a YouTube celebrity with hits such as “Arlington: The Rap” and “Raise the Debt Ceiling Rap.” He lives in Arlington’s Clarendon neighborhood.