“Rappers Will Die Of Natural Causes” is a title which pokes fun at the hyper-masculine image of mainstream Rap. For all of the posturing and bravado, when the dust has settled statistics show rappers will not die in a blaze of gun fire, but from the same regular causes as the rest of us. This truthful statement is an excellent glimpse into the mind of Open Mike Eagle and his vision of ‘rap for grown up’s’. Commerce has turned much of what we loved about hip-hop into music’s version of the WWF and it’s artist’s like Open Mike Eagle who we can look to for an authentic alternative. The cover alone will have fans spending hours trying to discern it’s message and it’s brash commentary on the erosion of hip-hop culture.
This is Open Mike’s second official full-length album after his 2010 debut on Mush Records entitled “Unaplogetic Art Rap”. It repersents the new wave of L.A. hip-hop which is in stark contrast to the G-Funk sound of the 90’s. The West Coast has long been defined by albums such as “The Chronic” and “All Eyez On Me”. Yet 2011 is the year many emcees gravitated towards a style popularised by the likes of Prefuse 73 and Aphex Twin (see Blu’s latest album). Mike manages to bring his own personality in abundance over a selection of glitch-hop beats. The chaotic feel to the album serves to create a quirky feel to the LP. The production on this album is electronic and clunky, the drum patterns follow no recognisible structure. His flow compliments the instrumentals in a way which brings together an overall vision for modern art. His style of rap is inseperable from the beats and would perhaps not make sense in any other setting. This is why Open Mike transcends regular hip-hop and enters into a World of artistic exploration.
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Open Mike’s lyrics are deep. His often half-sung/half-rapped style of delivery creates a very surreal like feel to his work. There is a sharp bite to his tone of voice which suggests the art of sarcasm isn’t lost on him either. He challenges you to come up to his level of intellect and leaves you behind if your not quick on the uptake. Like all great artists he possesses that rarest of gifts, a distinct voice which resonates with the listener and provides for a memorable album. Just when you think the production may be getting a little robotic, his personality shines through to leave a dramatic impression, which would be at home in a theathrical setting aswell as a concert venue. Yet despite his obvious strengths when it comes to flow, my favourite thing about Open Mike Eagle is the content of his lyrics.
[wpaudio url=”http://wordisbond.data.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/07-Rent-Party-Revolution-prod.-E.-Super.mp3″ text=”Open Mike Eagle – Rent Party Revolution” dl=”0″]
On “Rent Party Revolution” he raps:
“But looking back i wasn’t too clever because i grew up to be the smartest broke dude ever, but since it’s too late for my goals, i’m going to start a party that they can’t control”.
3 Simple lines like that convey humour, disillusionment and rhyming skills all in one. The song continues with further tales of missed oppurtunity and long lost visions of success:
“I be in my kitchen chewin on chicken fat, thinkin bout Twitter, i should have invented that! That’s not gold from a mans mind, it’s just a whole bunch of code on command lines.”
This ‘everyday man’ attitude is what makes his music so appealing. Yet if there’s one slight downside to the album, I feel it starts so strongly that the closing tracks fail to live up to the opening. By the last few songs Mike delivers strong hip-hop tracks yet without the catchy elements of the first part of the LP. In many ways the latter part of the album leaves you wanting more. Songs like “Dishes and Bright Green Light” give great glimpses into Mikes talents. But even as exciting an album as this is, I feel the best is yet to come.
[easyreview title=”Word Is Bond Rating” cat1title=”Lyrics” cat1detail=”Very entertaining and witty. A true artist.” cat1rating=”4.5″ cat2title=”Production” cat2detail=”Enjoyable, espcially if you like experimental beats.” cat2rating=”3.5″ cat3title=”Originality” cat3detail=”Theres combinations of all sorts of ideas here. Most of them from the strange mind of Mike Eagle.” cat3rating=”4″ cat4title=”Replayability” cat4detail=”I will definitely be selecting lots of songs to be played in heavy rotation.” cat4rating=”4″ summary=”This is only Open Mike’s second full length album, but it shows him off to be one of the most interesting figures in hip-hop right now.“]