Thursday, October 12, 2017

Open MIke Eagle And His New Album

I spent the first thirteen years of the millennium looking for Mike Eagle without realizing it.

The year 2000 is when “Deltron 3030” came out and got me into hip hop in a big way. My way in was Del Tha Funkee Homosapien’s lyrics filled with nerdy reference and a sci-fi concept album about a post-apocalyptic far future.

Seventeen years later, I’m completely captivated by another concept album, “Brick Body Kids Still Daydream”, about the now-demolished Robert Taylor Homes in Chicago, where members of his family lived.

I can’t tell you much about the album beyond the fact that I love it, because I’m only about four listens in, plus I’m digesting both Brick Body Kids AND 4NML HSPTL, which I’d somehow missed in my Get And Listen To Everything By This Guy rush after hearing him perform “The Processional” on John MOe’s “Wits’ podcast four years ago.

It takes me a dozen listens to get most Mike Eagle songs, because I am old and my ears are slow and our cultural touchstones only overlap a little, and most of Brick Body Kids is firmly in his part of the Venn diagram. But that’s OK. That’s why I love his music. I’ll just keep listening to it, and each time, I’ll pick out another piece of the puzzle, and understand a little more.

Anyway, back to my original premise. Between 2000 and 2013, I worked my way through more Del, MC Chris, Ugly Duckling, Lupe Fiasco, MC Frontalot, Das Racist, and other lyrically dense and reference-heavy artists. Some I’ve stuck with, some I moved on from, some moved on from me. But all were pointing and leading me towards Open Mike Eagle, who somehow manages to put all my favorite things into songs.  Which shouldn’t surprise me - he cites They Might Be Giants as a big influence, a band I’ve loved my entire adult life plus about two years.

If you’re interested, you may want to work your way up to Brick Body Kids like I did. “The Processional” lead me to the “Rappers Will Die Of Natural Causes” album and the preceding “Unapologetic Art Rap”, then (having missed 4NML HSPTL) I worked forward through Dark Comedy, Hella Personal Film Festival, and then Brick Body Kids Still Daydream as each album came out and I learned about them through the usual middle aged white men who appreciate nerdy hip hop means - podcast appearances and NPR articles.

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