When Adam Schleichkorn started making his viral mash-up videos of classic cartoons edited to sync with old school hip hop songs, it was less of an endeavor to get followers than to flex his creative chops. Now, over 230k Instagram followers later, it appears that his hip hop cartoon remixes have done both.
In one of Schleichkorn’s clips, Fozzie Bear from the Muppet Babies cartoon appears to spit Mase’s bars from his feature on 112’s “Only You,” while in another one, the cartoon mouse Speedy Gonzalez appears to be rapping as fast as the world’s fastest rapper, Twista, on his song with Kanye West and Jamie Foxx, “Slow Jamz.” The videos, catchy and playful, have made Schleichkorn (who posts his videos from the Instagram account, Mylo the Cat) more than just Internet-famous — he’s now being recognized and reposted by many of the artists that he features in his clips, musicians like Snoop Dogg, Erykah Badu and Questlove.
The videos began over a decade earlier in 2008, when Schleichkorn began syncing his friend’s hip hop songs with clips of dogs and cats, one of whom was a kitten named Mylo, the account’s namesake. A few years later, Schleichkorn began remixing classic cartoons like Looney Tunes and Muppets footage with commercial hip hop tracks and uploading them to YouTube and Facebook, where he began to get viral traction, even winning a Webby Award in 2017 that led to a freelance gig shortly afterwards with Adult Swim. However, his largest viral success to date has been with Instagram, where he began uploading his mash-up videos in earnest just over a year ago — gaining hundreds of thousands of new followers in just a year.
“These videos were my creative escape, initially, no real plan,[.] I was just getting much better as an editor and I felt like I would have lost those skills if I wasn’t doing stuff like this because the videos I was making at work just weren’t like that,” Schleichkorn told TIME. “It really started as my creative outlet, and over time, I wanted to prove to employers and to myself, that not only can I do this, but I can do this on a daily basis.”
Schleichkorn, who is a freelance editor by day, uploads about four videos a week, each of which take four to six hours to make between footage and song selection and editing. If that time commitment sounds daunting, consider that he’s pared down the process time considerably — in the beginning, the editing for a short mash-up could take up to 20 hours.
“It does take a lot of time and it’s really kind of consuming my life and cutting into my actual work, but there’s something so special about doing this for these people that I grew up being a fan of, loving these videos – it does a lot for my confidence as a creator,” Schleichkorn said, noting that one of the highlights of his videos going viral was that he and Snoop had a DM conversation when the rapper reached out to him about a job after commenting on a video that Schleichkorn made of cartoon dog Astro rapping along to Snoop’s verse on Diamond D’s song, “Turn It Up.”
For Schleichkorn, however, the real fun is in celebrating the music he loves as a hip hop head. The way he starts creating every video is by selecting a song from a long and ever-growing list that he keeps of old favorites and fan suggestions (he estimates that he gets 500 DMs from followers eager to give him song suggestions that they want to see in future videos). “The sweetest thing is that it’s kind of confirming my taste in music is good, like so people are on the same page with it,” he said. “Some of these songs that I’m doing and some of these artists that I’m doing are these really deep cuts that I’m thinking, ‘Oh, this might be too underground for people,’ and then immediately, when I upload it, it’s like, no, everyone knows this song! That’s kind of my favorite part about this.”
While Schleichkorn has featured tracks from everyone from the Notorious B.I.G. to Ice Cube, his personal favorite music to feature is from the Wu-Tang Clan, something he attributes to growing up in New York.
“I’m a New Yorker born and raised, so they’re always at the top of the list,” he said. “Doing them collectively is great, but all their songs are amazing. They have so many great songs that I’ve really only scratched the surface with them and I’ve done a lot Wu Tang videos.”