Philly musician’s Psy spoof is YouTube hit

Hamilton shot his "official" spoof video at various hot spots throughout the city.
Hamilton shot his "official" spoof video at various hot spots throughout the city.
Posted: September 12, 2012

Philly R&B musician Damon Hamilton is a bit amazed how he's finally getting lots of attention after creating a YouTube spoof of South Korean pop sensation Psy and his viral "Gangnam Style" video.

In less than two months, the Asian rapper, real name Park Jae-Sang, has skyrocketed to No. 1 on Billboard's Social 50, a measure of international Internet buzz, propelled by a catchy single, a music video featuring his funny "invisible horse" dancing, appearances everywhere from Ellen (where he taught X Factor judge Britney Spears the dance) to Dodger Stadium to the MTV Video Music Awards (where he was named best dresser).

Psy's video as of this morning had collected more than 141 million views ( www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bZkp7q19f0).

Of course, spoofs rapidly began appearing, by the likes of the University of Oregon Duck, a troupe of L.A. babies and their moms, and California lifeguards who got fired for misusing their employer's facilities.

Hamilton, 33, a 2001 Wharton grad with his own serious seven-member R&B ensemble, the Damon Hamilton Project, decided to poke some fun, concocting his own English version, mimicking the zany moves with pretty background singer, Mariko, and a couple of beefy men.

Hamilton, lead singer on the video and in the Project, even worked the President into the lyrics and the visuals, changing "Gangnam Style" into "Obama style."

By Monday, after being online just four days, the video had soared to No. 3 on YouTube's "most popular" list.

By this morning, it had more than a half-million views ( www.youtube.com/3majormedia).

It's crazy, said Hamilton.

"I made pretty music for years with not much bite until five days ago, when I created a silly spoof, one that's not even becoming of my music skill, when I suddenly went viral on YouTube," said Hamilton, who also does weddings with a band called Monte Carlo, as well as general contracting and property management work.

He was hoping to learn lessons about the publicity power of the Web.

"My music is not really like the 21st-century pop mass-produced sounds," so he's been "trying to knock on other doors just to figure out a way to get more exposure," he said.

He and business partner China Okasi decided the takeoff might be a good way to help his career take off.

What's next, he's not sure.

"Maybe the brand changes into something more along the lines of a spoof, but at the core remains a music making passion, so we have to somehow synergistically infuse that," he said.

When asked if he has a favorite line in the video, he says, "No," and breaks out laughing.

He just wanted "to crack a little bit of a code here and get some attention."

And have some fun.


Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or pmucha@phillynews.com.

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