Glycolysis! (Mr. W's Music Video)

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SUMMARY: Glycolysis is the first step in cellular respiration. This rap lecture teaches all you need to know about glycolysis at the AP Biology or Freshman Biology level.

Glycolysis is a series of reactions,
Enzymatic actions, energy transactions,
Takes glucose, a molecule so sugary,
Breaks it down for NADH and ATP

It’s an anaerobic cytoplasmic pathway that amazes
Organized easily into three phases,
Investment, cleavage, and energy harvest,
Tell me later which one you like best.

Investment: activation energy’s supplied,
Cleavage: our six carbon sugar divides
Harvest: we get our energy yield,
So beautiful, so intricate keep your eyes peeled

Come on sugar, come on sugar, for the breakdown. For the breakdown.

Investment’s like striking a match,
That energy you put in makes the fire catch
For glycolysis investments two ATPs,
Which act as activation energy

Enzymes take phosphate from ATPs
Jam ’em on a glucose rearranging it to fructose,
Leaving Fructose 1- 6 bisphosphate on the table,
With two phosphates, it’s highly unstable!

Moving us to the second phase
The cleaving of Fructose bisphosphate
Cause glycolysis means splitting sugar, you can see
cleavage yields two molecules with carbons three

One is glyceraldehyde 3 phosphate G3P
It continues on our pathway broken down for energy
But the second one an enzyme will immediately,
Convert into a second G3P


Phase 3: G3P gets rearranged and oxidized,
By an enzymatic assembly line,
That harvest energy from each G3P
One NADH and 2 ATPs

Double this yield per G3P
To two NADH and 4 ATPs
That’s the gross yield for every glucose in
A generous accounting of glycolysis’s win

But 2ATPs were invested in phase 1
So you net just two you can use to jump or run,
Put two in, get four out, your net gain is two,
Two ATPs that you can use.

If that doesn’t seem like very much, it’s cause it ain’t,
There’s tons of energy left in pyruvate,
The two three carbon molecules we’re left with at the end.
And what happens to pyruvate is gonna depend,

On the metabolic pathway where pyruvate gets sent,
If its anaerobic it’ll be fermented
But in aerobic cells pyruvate’s termination
Will be the Krebs cycle and total oxidation!


Review: glycolysis starts with investment
of two ATPs to the glucose that we started with,
The product is cleaved into two G3Ps
From which the cell harvests NADH and ATPs.

This anaerobic pathway is respiration’s first phase,
It’s billions of year’s old evolved in ancient days
before O2 accumulated in the seas, before
eukaryotic cells like ours arrived on the scene

It’s everywhere, ubiquitous, in every organism,
Bacteria, sequoia tree, no matter your metabolism,
Happens in the cytoplasm doesn’t need no organelles.
You wanna find glycolysis? Look in any cell!


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  • Between now and the AP exam (5/18/20) Live AP Bio review sessions every Tuesday and Thursday at 2pm PST: go to

  • Thank you, this video summarizes the topic, I will sit for my bio-chem exam next week monday

  • wish if the toughest tasks were like this….such 'melodious' studies make life a cakewalk😍😘

  • ShigiShigi

    Author Reply

    bars for days!!! That was awesome. Such a fun teacher!!

  • MCAT in a week. LES GO

  • top 10 rappers eminem was to affraid to diss

  • He do be dropping bars doe!

  • This was amazing

  • even after having taken AP Bio a year ago already, I still come back to your music videos because they are just great!

  • I first heard this rap 5 years ago in my AP biology class. I am now listening to it while I study for MCAT. My this video has aged well!

  • I just want to thank this man. Not only was that amazingly catchy and hilarious, it was super informative and gave me the refresher on glycolysis that I needed. Thank you thank you thank you Mr. W lol!

  • Yesssssss. Please do one for the electron transport chain!

  • Me gustaria con subtitulos en español

  • En español:( i love u

  • I learn nothing and just bob my head with the rhythm! Its really cool:) 👍

  • i’m sharing this with a bunch of my friends because you helped me get my degree 🥺😂🤍

  • The breakdown hits harder than my stepdad

  • drop the mix tape glenn

  • This quarantine got me watching everything in this app

  • Shit* trying not to laugh
    my parents won't believe that I was actually studying 😂😂😂😂

  • Amazing sir Thanks a lot

  • 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

  • Thank you this will be catchy enough for me to remember the material, and actually enjoy learning.

  • This guy is my actual teacher at Berkeley High School. Feels good to be taught by a celebrity.

  • I love the music video Sir! Especially the chorus, it really made a great impression! I simply love it!! <3

  • My friend says she loves your video

  • Im in love with mr w

  • I remember when I first heard this song. Our biology teacher showed us this video and we all learnt it for our biology quiz on glycolysis and cellular respiration. That was back in 2013 when I was in 7th grade. Yet here I am, 7 years later and I still know every lyric to the song and have used it endless times during high school and now that I am studying medicine.

    May my biology teacher rest in peace, and thank you Mr.W for this amazing tutorial which has helped me and my classmates lots.

    Best. Song. Ever. For. Studying. Glycolysis.

  • Highly cringe but reaaaaaally helps me in remembering the processes 😂 I am throughly enjoying your vids!

  • The chorus is generally unreal I sing it all the time

  • 0:40