They’ve got ’99 problems’ but extra credit ain’t one

Two NKU students  recently won a national competition for their parody of Jay Z’s “99 Problems” about economics.

Micro- 99 problems rap

Mark Nantz and Justin Carzoli faced not only competitors from within their microeconomics class, but also from the University of West Georgia, the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and California Polytechnic State University, according to Dr. Abdullah Al-Bahrani, Nantz and Carzoli’s microeconomics professor.

“Usually, what I do is give students an opportunity to earn extra credit,” Al-Bahrani said. “My students have two choices, either a book report or the video.”

According to Al-Bahrani, he has done this assignment within his class before, but this was the first time that it had been done at a national level.

Al-Bahrani said each school votes on the video they believe is the best and then each school submits one video to the national competition. This year, Al-Bahrani had a total of eight videos to choose from.

Al-Bahrani showed the eight videos to his classes and they voted on their favorite video, which happened to be Nantz and Carzoli’s.

Once in the finals, each school’s video is voted on by the public, and the video with the most votes wins.

“It was four universities, but this semester I think it’s up to six,” Al-Bahrani said. “We decided that each of us would pick the best video and submit it. And NKU’s was the best according to the votes.”

According to Carzoli, he and Nantz decided to create the video because they had previous experience with it from high school.

When it came to choosing a song, the beat of “99 Problems” really appealed to Nantz and Carzoli.

“It was upbeat with a little old school flare which made it the perfect type of Rock-o-nomix song,” Carzoli said.

The students have full say on the project, according to Al-Bahrani.

“The only thing that I ask is that there is no profanity and no alcohol,” Al-Bahrani said. “I should be able to show this to the president of the university without embarrassing myself or them.”

With profanity being of one Jay Z’s many talents, there were obviously obstacles faced in creating the parody.

“The lyrics did take a while to come up with,” Carzoli said. “We wanted them to actually be informative about economics, sound good and make sense.”

The students’ lyrics cleanly informed listeners about subjects ranging from opportunity cost to supply curves.

“Giving up these items wouldn’t call it a loss/Another high valued opportunity cost/Supplying these goods while production is managed/Prices are low, comparative advantage.”

For their win, Nantz and Carzoli received a $200 gift card from Worth Publishers, a company that publishes textbooks.

You can view their video ( along with their competitors at