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Real-life violence, and the pain it causes a family, is where this next story begins. It winds up somewhere more surreal, at the intersection of art and cyberspace.

A young man's outrage at a crime against his sister has made its way from the local news, around the Internet, and onto the pop charts.

NPR's Zoe Chace reports on the "Bed Intruder Song."

ZOE CHACE: It started with a news report about an attempted rape in Huntsville, Alabama.

Mr. KENYATTA CHEESE (Know Your Meme): The reporter's, you know, very, very straight-laced. And, you know, you can tell, you know, she's just doing her job.

CHACE: Kenyatta Cheese tracks Internet memes. He's going to help me tell this story.

Unidentified Announcer: Kelly Dodson was asleep with her little girl, inside their apartment on Webster Drive when...

Ms. KELLY DODSON: I was attacked by some idiot from out here in the projects.

CHACE: The camera pans around the apartment. There's broken glass; the bed is stripped. It's a pretty grim scene.

Mr. CHEESE: And then we cut to Antoine Dodson.

Mr. ANTOINE DODSON: Well, obviously, we have a rapist in Lincoln Park.

CHACE: Antoine Dodson, the victim's brother, is popping out of the screen. You can't take your eyes off him. He doesn't seem like a victim of a crime; he seems like an improbable star of a show. He waves his finger in the camera's face.

Mr. DODSON: He's climbing in your windows; he's snatching your people up, trying to rape them. So you all need to hide your kids, hide your wife, and hide your husband because they raping everybody out here.

Mr. CHEESE: And he is the most charismatic, you know, just effervescent, elusive man. I mean, just and he's upset.

Mr. DODSON: We're looking for you. We're going to find you. I'm letting you know now so you can run and tell that, homeboy.

CHACE: WAFF in Huntsville posted the news report online.

Mr. CHEESE: People were just saying, oh my God, you have to see this. You have to see this. It was being posted to Facebook. People were sharing the link on Twitter.

(Soundbite of song, "Bed Intruder Song")

THE GREGORY BROTHERS: (Singing) He's climbing in your windows. He's snatching your people up.

CHACE: The Gregory Brothers, who do Auto-Tune The News, got hold of it. They usually take reports from people like Katie Couric, and slap a heavy coat of Auto-Tune gloss on it. This time...

(Soundbite of song, "Bed Intruder Song")

THE GREGORY BROTHERS: (Singing) Hide your kids, hide your wife. Hide your kids, hide your wife. Hide your kids, hide your wife. And hide your husband because they're raping everybody out here.

CHACE: People start taking the Gregory Brothers video and remixing that.

CHACE: The Gregory Brothers encouraged people to re-record their own version.

(Soundbite of song, "Bed Intruder Song")

Unidentified Woman #1: (Singing) He's snatching your people up, they're trying to rape 'em.

CHACE: Like that chick - and this short guy with a really big accordion.

(Soundbite of song, "Bed Intruder Song")

Unidentified Man #1: (Singing) Climbing in your window. He's snatching your people up.

CHACE: This sweet, smiling kid with a Japanese guitar.

(Soundbite of song, "Bed Intruder Song")

CHACE: And these older and larger bearded men, not wearing enough clothes.

Unidentified Group: (Singing): We have a rapist in Lincoln Park.

CHACE: The Gregory Brothers of Auto-Tune called Antoine up, as did I.

Mr. DODSON: Hi, there.

CHACE: Hi, is that Antoine?

Mr. DODSON: Yes, ma'am.

CHACE: They said to him: We want to take this "Bed Intruder Song" and sell it.

Mr. DODSON: And I was like: Man, that's fun, that's cool. I like the song, whatever. Yeah, we should do that.

CHACE: In the week that the "Bed Intruder Song" has been on iTunes, more than 11,000 people have bought the song. It traveled to number three on the iTunes chart for R&B singles.

Mr. JASON KING (Music Professor, New York University): It is a song like other songs that you could listen to at a party, for instance. It's catchy. It has a really good hook.

CHACE: Jason King is a music professor at NYU. He's wary about the song's popularity.

Mr. KING: There's a way in which the aesthetics of black poverty, the way they talk and they speak and they look, sort of becomes this fodder for humor, you know, without any interest in the context or the conditions by which families actually live.

Mr. DODSON: Some people do take it to be a joke. Preferably, I don't and neither does my sister, and neither does my family. We don't take it as a joke. It's funny. We laugh at it all the time. We watch the videos, and we listen to the song over and over and over again. But it doesn't change the fact that this is a serious event.

CHACE: Antoine Dodson stands to make some serious money. He and the Gregory Brothers are splitting the profits from the single. There are T-shirt sales, there are commercials. He's got a lot of offers.

Mr. DODSON: Hopefully, a lot of TV. I love to be in front of the camera.

CHACE: Antoine Dodson's definitely gotten the message out, but the Huntsville cops haven't yet caught the attempted rapist.

Zoe Chace, NPR News.

(Soundbite of song, "Bed Intruder Song")


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