Meet the college student whose extra-credit biology rap went viral

Julien Turner's extra credit music video has more than 650,000 views on YouTube.

ByABC News
November 6, 2017, 9:27 AM

— -- A student at Morehouse College in Atlanta who was looking for some extra credit ended up getting more than he bargained for. A rap video he made for his biology class has gone viral, with nearly 660,000 views on YouTube.

The young scholar, Julien Turner, transformed the Lil Uzi song, “XO Tour Llif3,” into a biology lesson with educational lyrics like: “The DNA starts to unwind. The RNA reads the other side. Meiosis is the key to making life. Mitosis copies cells about to die. If my genes go left unread, all my cells are dead.”

Turner, a linebacker on the college’s football team, said the idea came to him as he was sitting in bed after a game one night.

“[I] was listening to 'XO Tour Llif3' and I remembered [the professor] had assigned an extra credit assignment where I could make a music video out of anything, and ‘all my cells are dead’ just kept repeating in my head,” Turner, 19, a marketing major, said on “Good Morning America” today. “I scrambled to check my notes to make sure it had something to do with biology and I started writing lyrics that were parallel to the song so I could remember it better. I called up a few teammates and we made the video, and it just blew up from there.”

His professor, Dr. Dwann Davenport, said Turner earned the extra credit with his creative music video.

“I actually heard about it before I even checked my email to see that he’d turned it in,” Davenportd said. “I see the text message with the link and I clicked on it and I was like, ‘Oh this is catchy. This is nice.’ I saw all the likes and all the retweets and I was like, ‘Wait, this is my student. Wait a minute, this is Julien. Oh my goodness.’ I was so excited, but I didn’t expect anything like this.”

VIDEO: Meet the college student whose extra-credit biology rap 'blew up' online
VIDEO: Meet the college student whose extra-credit biology rap 'blew up' online

Davenport said Turner was already “an excellent student doing well in the class, minus the extra credit.”

“He’s an athlete, he’s on the football team. He’s amazing,” she said.

Turner said he and his younger brother also started their own production company, Dreadhead Films, several years ago, and that “it’s crazy” this video went viral because “it’s the worst film” he has ever made. He said his brother is usually the cinematographer and editor, but he didn’t work on this one.

Music runs in Turner’s family. His father, Kevin Turner, is a jazz guitarist and music professor at Ohio State.