Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Prince Ea's Video For "Backwards Rappers" Turns a Gimmick Into a Symbol And Goes Viral

Posted By on Tue, Aug 9, 2011 at 9:49 AM

In this YouTube clip, titled, "Prince Ea Says He Has The BEST Video of 2011!!!!!!," you can find the innovative local rapper talking about his new music video, an admittedly and admirably innovative video that finds him taking a gimmick, making it work and simultaneously making a statement all at the same time. These are three things Prince Ea consistently does well, and the video itself is the latest in a creative and entertaining string of ways the rapper with the slogan "Make Smart Cool" has proven himself both smart and cool. Watch below.

In the first video, which promoted his real music video for "Backward Rappers" about six days before its release yesterday, Prince Ea makes some bold claims: "Kanye West and Jay-Z, they dropping their albums, but August 8 is when I drop my video, the most revolutionary hip-hop video of the year." He goes on to compare the video to Tyler, the Creator's clip for "Yonkers" and Missy Elliot's entire visual catalog while asking for fans to support the video by changing their birthdays to August 8 on Facebook. The plan here is that when people wished you a happy birthday yesterday, you would respond by posting "Backwards Rapper" on their page a little cryptically. Prince Ea is known for ballsy if occasionally baffling strategies, particularly in his guerilla enthusiasm on social media. The video currently has well over 90,000 page views and the support of big names like Brother Ali, who Tweeted, "Just now seeing this @PrinceEa vid thx to @SageFrancis http://t.co/goWVaBE Not easy being creative/message-driven w/o being corny. Fresh!" so whatever he's doing is clearly working.

The "Backwards Rappers" video takes a literal interpretation of its song title in the middle of the street. Ea begins the song, its lyrics scrolling down the right-hand side of the screen, walking backwards down said street and creating a minor ruckus while dissing the concept of education in support of lifestyle luxury. Or so you'd think.

We'll implore you to watch the video instead of spoiling it for you, but we'll just say you'd think wrong. The halfway point of the video finds the lyrics, theme and action slowing down, flipping and reversing. Ea's blocky, eclectic flow is saying something here, both overtly and symbolically, in the same style as much of Ea's enjoyable aesthetic campaign. The very end of the video finds him putting on a shirt that backs the signature slogan he's never far away from: "I Make Smart Cool," and somehow, in almost exactly two minutes, we've come full circle.

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