Davis is “middle class in the middle of nowhere / There’s nothing you can do cause you’re stuck in Davis” according to “Davis State of Mind,” a YouTube video that’s quickly racked up more than 31,000 views.
UC Davis Law School students created a four-minute, 43-second parody of “Empire State of Mind,” a 2009 song and music video by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys. One of the creators, Daniel Watts, the 28-year-old, third-year law student who ran for City Council last year, posted the video on YouTube April 19. Since then, 31,526 people had watched it as of Monday afternoon.
“It’s been blowing up,” said Alex Pacheco, a 25-year-old, third-year law student who wrote the lyrics and is the main rapper in the video. “I didn’t expect it to turn into this Davis phenomenon, but it’s been getting tons and tons of hits.”
It’s too soon to tell if the video will make Pacheco and his crew local celebrities, he said, but they’re already starting to see an on-the-ground response. A fan spotted two of the female dancers featured in the video while they were hanging out at Bistro 33 earlier this week.
The creators planned the video for the law school’s annual talent show, which took place last Thursday and Friday. They stepped up production, however, to enter the video in an annual music video competition hosted by “Above the Law,” a tabloid-style legal blog.
“It was pretty rushed,” said Pacheco, a Madison, Wis., native. “I’m pretty stoked it turned out as well as it did.”
The contest organizers haven’t announced a winner or set a date for an announcement, Watts said, but he’s checking their site daily.
The video features multiple Davis landmarks, including the bicycle sculpture on Russell Boulevard, the three pigs sculpture in The Marketplace shopping center and Mishka’s coffee shop on Second Street.
The video also is getting traction on Facebook as people share it with each other. More than 10,000 people have sent it to their friends, Watts said, citing data he obtained from his YouTube post.
The video will have to do some work before catching up to its namesake, “Empire State of Mind,” which boasted 93.4 million views Thursday.
The video takes some shots at a town described during Pacheco’s rap as a place where bicyclists, police and hippies “enrage you,” but Watts called the jabs “good-natured.”
“We all love Davis, so it’s not a negative thing,” Watts said of his law school peers. “Some people don’t understand the humor in the video.”
Being middle class in the middle of nowhere — “it’s not a bad thing. It’s our own little sense of community here.”
— Reach Jonathan Edwards at [email protected] or (530) 747-8052.