It might seem like YouTube sensations are a dime a dozen, but when you find out an economics professor at your university is responsible for one, you tend to take notice.

George Mason University economics professor Russ Roberts collaborated with Spike TV and is responsible for the popular “Fear the Boom and Bust” video that’s racked up over 3 million views on YouTube. The video is a seven-plus minute rap featuring creative lyrics and catchy beats that explores issues confronting world economies.

How did the collaboration with John Papola come to fruition?

RR: John approached me because he listened to my podcast, EconTalk, and thought we might be able to make a film together. We spent a lot of time on the phone exploring different ideas before we came up with the crazy idea of a rap video.

What’s it like being responsible for a hit YouTube video?

RR: It’s a lot of fun. It’s very satisfying to know that so many people are interested in what you’ve done and can access it all over the world.

What brought about the video?

RR: As I said in 1, John and I batted around a lot of ideas. Eventually, we decided to write a song and we thought rap would be a good medium for reaching students and making the economics entertaining.

In what ways do you think this will be applicable to students?

RR: It’s been used in a lot of classrooms around the world, both high school and college. People claim that it helps them study for exams, too.

Do any of your students ask you about it?

RR: They get a kick out of them.

How does this compare to other ideas you may have had in the past?

RR: I’ve tried to do different things to help communicate economic ideas. I’ve written three novels. I have a weekly podcast [called] EconTalk, a blog [called] Cafe Hayek and now these videos. The podcast and the videos are particularly important to me because a lot of people don’t read much or would rather get their information visually or by listening. But besides that, making a rap video is just incredibly fun.

Future ideas?

RR: John and I are working on a third one. Stay tuned.

How involved are you in the videos?  What are your    various roles?

RR: John and I did pretty much everything as a team — the overall concept, the lyrics and the script. John does all the actual directing, but everything else is a real collaboration. We hired someone to write the music and do the sound but both of us spent hours working with the composer to get it the way we wanted and hours in the studio with Billy and Adam [the rappers] on getting the sound right.

Thoughts on the economy at present?

RR: It appears to be getting better at a very slow rate relative to past recessions.