Ed Balloon is a Boston-based musician who splits R&B and rap with a heady dose of glam-pop. Last fall he released his Yellow 20-Somethings EP and today he’s sharing the video for EP’s first track, which is aptly titled “@# TrapKaraoke.” Balloon spits through verse after verse of about partying and getting money, but there’s an undercurrent of joy here that’s missing in a lot of videos .
“What I am trying to convey is black boy joy is real and tends to be dismissed because of damn stereotypes,” Balloon said of the clip. “We Black people aren’t monsters. We’re humans. We joke around and smile too. I grew up in the hood and I got people questioning my validity because I don’t gang bang. Like what the hell? They’re surprised that I smile and have this sincere joy even though I come from a hard upbringing. I guess I would be surprised too, but leave it at surprised — don’t just deem me as a savage. Life is hard but I got this joy, put in me by Jesus so ya’ll let me rock.”
Even if it’s hard to label Balloon’s deliver as anything but rap, there’s far too much going on in this track to relegate it merely to “hip-hop. His flow is razor sharp and quick as hell, and he stays fully in control, switching between flows as the production shifts between frantic electronic beats and lulls of synths. The black and white shots of Ed and his friends decked out in bougee clothes (I still ride for “bougie” but Migos decided this spelling for us once and for all) are interspersed with brightly lit shots of him literally doing karaoke along to the words of his own song. The undercurrent of unabashed black boy joy is there throughout, which makes the a true pleasure to watch. Watch the video above and for more about Ed read his interview with Bandcamp here.