MINNEAPOLIS -- Four years of hard work, and James Erickson and Zach Finney are almost done with college, ready to do something not by the book.
"We were pretty bored with studying," Finney said. "It was time to do something to break with the monotony of school."
That something was a video they shot for their school football coach, not quite the academic work the college likely had in mind.
"The first time everybody sees our videos," Erickson said, "They just kind of sit there and look at them like, 'What's wrong with these guys?'"
Just ask Michael Cuddyer.
The Twins outfielder was the subject of James and Zach's second rap, a birthday tribute they wrote in their basement.
"The first lyric is pretty easy," Erickson said. "It always starts with him going "Well, Michael it's your birthday!"
"Yeah," said Finney. "That's how it starts, and then we have to roll from there."
When Cuddyer saw the clip spoofing everything from his foot wart to his age, his reaction on Twitter wasn't exactly thrilled:
"Hahaha. Thanks...i guess!" Cuddyer tweeted on March 27th when he saw the video.
"The first response we get is ha ha ha I guess?" Finney said. "And we're like uh, oh! Oh no!"
But Cuddyer learned to like it, and sent the guys another message just two hours later, writing, "By far the most original BDay gift/treat i have ever received! Thank you!"
And that's when James and Zach went big time, their raps going from their college campus in Duluth to the viewers of ESPN.
The network chose the Cuddyer clip as their Video of the Day, and when the Twins heard that, they asked James and Zach for more.
"We thought we should probably do one for Joe Mauer," said Erickson. "Because we knew his birthday was coming up."
And did they ever.
Shot at Target Field on opening weekend, James and Zach, plus Zach's brother Josh, brought out their trademark glasses and orange wig once again for Joe Mauer, noting his new tv ads, his other strike zone, and even some fondling of a Mauer statue.
"When our minds start to race, nothing's going to stop us," Finney said. "We just go!"
"It's the first thing we think of is, 'Are we going to creep this person out?'" Erickson added.
But the highlight of the video is an introduction of what Erickson and Finney hope will be the new Minnesota sensation.
"It's the Mauer shake," they said of a dance move they invented. "You kind of bring your hands up (in the shape of the letter M), for Mauer. You've just got to kind of develop it and let it swing!"
That's exactly what James and Zach hope to do now that school is ending, and celebrity's beginning, their post college dreams to graduate from home movies to the major leagues.
"It would be the greatest thing in our life to keep rapping away in that northern Minnesota style!" they said. "That's what people connect with. We're not professional rappers, we're a couple of guys from Minnesota!"
(Copyright 2011 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)