A member of provocatively named hip-hop collective Kool Klux Klan, Maryland rapper Sir E.U. likes to cast negative ideas in a different light. But that playful inversion might go unnoticed in his new video for “Fireday,” a standout track from his project Madagascar.
The scrappy visual puts the 21-year-old in the parking lot of Hovermale’s ice cream parlor in Fort Washington, Maryland, rhyming over cheesy visual effects. It seems like a simple homage to a local landmark.
“You see Hovermale’s every time you drive to or from D.C. from my side of town,” Sir E.U. writes in an email. “There aren’t too many representatives from here, and it felt good to put the place most [locals] identify with on display.”
Directed by Miami videographer FXRBES — whom Sir E.U. met through management and promotion group Bombay Knox — the “Fireday” video toys with color inversion à la E.U.’s low-budget “Nike Boy” and “ODB” videos. But that inversion stems from an approach he calls “manipulation of negativity,” which takes the perceived “negative” elements of hip-hop and mingles them with “positive” or progressive ideas.
“Some of [my work] leans towards that [negative] side more,” Sir E.U. writes. “But the expression of it is like channeling it and turning it into something else — whether by changing the situation’s attributes or your own stance on it.”
“Fireday” seems more lighthearted than Sir E.U.’s other music, like “ODB,” also from Madagascar. The video for that song juxtaposes particularly lewd lyrics with scrolling text that denounces “patriarchy as well as other negative, lecherous and morbid practices identified as detriments to the evolution of the African-American.” By song’s end, the text devolves into something more like machismo, proclaiming, “I’m da realest.”
Sir E.U. calls the scrolling text on “ODB” a public service announcement. But it also signals changes in his own philosophy. “I wrote the PSA on ‘ODB’ to checkpoint the transition into a more active rather than destructive role,” he writes. “I wasn’t always as mindful or conscientious of how being careless can damage the world around you.”
Now, the rapper says, he feels ready to look at his environment differently. “We’re in the war on misogyny, supremacy, classism and racism,” he writes. “I could not bear to aid the problem or remain neutral any longer once I understood, and I owe it to all to black love.”