This month saw the release of Dark Comedy, the critically acclaimed new album from Chicago-born, LA-based rap artist Open Mike Eagle. Walking the tight rope of an outstanding technical proficiency with his rhymes coupled with a flow that alternates between melodious and avant garde with lyrics that tackle real struggles featuing a dash of self-depricating humor and subtle pop culture references hidden to the point of being Easter Eggs, he's a unique entity that's as accessible as esoteric gets. In the event you're not yet familiar with Eagle, we've assembled a quick crash course of five songs to bring you up to speed. This is our Beginner's Guide to Open Mike Eagle.
Open Mike Eagle – "Qualifiers"
The first single off of Dark Comedy, and what seems to have become his signature song, Eagle's "Qualifiers" captures the full range of what his catalog offers. With an infectious melody in his flow, Eagle makes the case for his abilities a midst topics as varied as both sides of dismissive racism as well as the confusing nature of joke and song structure in itself.
Open Mike Eagle – "Self Medication Chant"
Another gift of Eagle's is his ability to emote responses in listeners without coming off exploitive or overbearing. "Self Medication Chant" puts frustration to words, but is contrasted by an incredibly pleasing melody and soothing synths. It's a dichotomy that plays both approaches to turmoil and absolutely works.
Busdriver featuring Open Mike Eagle – "Werner Herzog"
Eagle's style has been consistently sharpened thanks in part to being a part of one of rap's most innovative collectives, Hellfyre Club, the latest outfit in the tradition of Project Blowed/Good Life Cafe lineage. Fellow Hellfyre Club member Busdriver invited Eagle to appear with him on "Werner Herzog," a track where Eagle's shout-out to Marc Maron landed him a featured guest spot on the comedian's WTF Podcast.
Open Mike Eagle featuring Busdriver – "Degrassi Picture Day"
Another element of Eagle's talents is, while he clearly can rap for days, he also has a tremendous gift for storytelling and, as Kool Moe Dee would say, "sticking to themes." One of his most cherished high concept songs is "Degrassi Picture Day," a track that captures the energy of grade school picture day from an excited student's perspective. Eagle leaves no detail unaccounted for, including a shout-out to Life Touch.
Open Mike Eagle featuring Hannibal Buress – "Doug Stamper (Advice Raps)"
Eagle also has one of rap's sharpest senses of humor, a trait immediately identifiable from listening to "Doug Stamper (Advice Raps)," his track with his former college roommate, comedian Hannibal Buress. Here, Buress and Eagle dole out priceless and timeless wisdom, and Eagle even finds time to shout out "Baby Cuddlebunny" and "The Box Full of Puppies Show."