‘Fracking’ rap video named one of best of 2011

A music video about “fracking”? Last week, Time magazine named a funny video about the natural-gas extraction process called fracking the No. 2 most creative video of 2011.

It may be fun to say, but fracking is hard on the environment and local water safety, and that’s the message behind this video, which has now gone viral and has over 200,000 views on YouTube.

“It’s a word you hear but you don’t exactly know what it means or what it all entails. So I think it helps get people interested in the topic, and hopefully, if they watch the video, they’ll go read an article about it or find out more information about what it is and what the effects are,” says Lisa Rucker, an editor in Los Angeles for production company Pictures in a Row. She called from a set in Kentucky where she was helping to shoot a commercial.


Rucker and another Pictures in a Row employee, graphic designer Adam Sakellarides, produced the video based on a song written by a friend, NYU student David Holmes, with help from Andrew Bean and Niel Bekker. The hip-hop styled rap, entitled “My Water’s On Fire Tonight (The Fracking Song),” pulls out the key points in a ProPublica report on the controversial natural-gas drilling technique, which has caused flammable chemicals to pour from water taps in some locales, literally allowing the tap water to burn.

In the fracking process, water and chemicals such as benzene and formaldehyde are forced into the ground under pressure to fracture – thus “frack” – rock formations that hold natural gas. Natural gas and other chemicals from the process have ended up in local water supplies.

The lyrics include this winning chorus:

What the frack is going on / with all this fracking going on

I think we need some facts to come to light

I know we want our energy / but nothing ever comes for free

I think my water’s on fire tonight

Even thought the science presented in the piece is sometimes a mouthful, Rucker says it was important to her that the song was fun and not overly political.

“He does talk about the negatives of fracking, but it does talk about how fracking can be fine as long as you have the right regulations and do things the right way,” she says.

Taking a page from the Schoolhouse Rock playbook, Sakellarides and Rucker have also produced videos called “The Euro Crisis Song” and “The Redistricting Song.”


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-- Dean Kuipers