Open Mike Eagle might not have all the answers, but few artists in hip-hop, music, or American life are asking smarter questions. In a landscape governed by ceaseless babble, flashing lights, and hollow lies, Eagle harmonizes into the void so we don’t have to.
On this descent into the digital trenches, Eagle teams up with British producer, Paul White for Hella Personal Film Festival. Released on Mello Music Group, the full collaboration finds White behind the SP-1200s, conjuring a psychedelic strain of soul-funk, booming drums, and 21st century crate-digging in tropical attics of the imagination. On the microphone, the Chicago-bred, LA-based, Eagle artfully breaks down the banalities and perils of the modern condition.
Recorded in London, Eagle’s new album continues where his 2014 masterpiece, Dark Comedy left off. It’s anxiety-riddled but whimsical, addicted to and scornful of social media, stuffed with old wrestling in-jokes and film snippets. Self-aware admissions blend into attacks on societal double standards.
Known for alchemical solo work and collaborations with Danny Brown, Homeboy Sandman, and Mos Def, this is White’s first proper union with Eagle. The two artists bonded over the notion of diversity. The process started out with rough demos, which White ended up finishing in post-production—playing guitar, drums, bass, keyboards, percussion and pieces of wood found in a forest. Its genius ultimately comes from the pair mining a deep vein of emotional content—a discussion of the things we feel that you don’t say. A movie that hits so accurately it’s almost uncomfortable.
These are tense anthems for the vulnerable, consecrations to black people with rich internal lives, agnostic prayers for those grappling with pain. They’re emotional landmines leavened by the wry bleakness usually only found in great stand-up comedians. Eagle exists in the lineage of They Might Be Giants and Richard Pryor, Freestyle Fellowship and his longtime friend and collaborator, Hannibal Burress.
Within the first act, the plot becomes clear. See “Admitting the Endorphin,” where Eagle raps, “I chase my poison tail and get so high that voices fail.” These are the movies he’d make it he knew how to make movies. Surreal vignettes about waking up with burrito hangovers in hotels you don’t recognize, wondering if you remembered to charge your phone. Aesop Rock and Hemlock Ernst (Sam Herring of Future Islands) pop up as fellow travelers.
No one is better than Eagle at capturing the nauseous disorientation of day-to-day life. The deluge of sports highlights, unread texts and Twitter notifications. The compulsive need to check your phone at red lights and pauses in conversation. But his incisiveness extends far beyond observational humor. “Smiling (Quirky Race Doc)” examines the slights and casual bigotry of daily interaction. “A Short About a Guy That Dies Every Night” is a morbid rumination on death.
These are the returns after long dark nights of the soul. When the noises are loud, the lights are off, and the armor is pierced. Short films that loop over and over again, as soon as you close your eyes.
Released March 25, 2016
Open Mike Eagle US & Euro Tour Dates:
04-05 Los Angeles, CA – Amoeba Records In-Store Performance
04-07 San Francisco, CA – Thee Parkside *^
04-13 New York, NY – Baby’s All Right #&
04-14 Philadelphia, PA – Kung Fu Necktie @
04-20 Los Angeles, CA – Getting Doug with High
04-22 Denver, CO – Lost Lake
04-23 Norman, OK – Norman Music Festival w/ Cloud Nothings
04-24 Los Angeles, CA – New Negroes Show (UCB Theatre)
05-11 Seattle, WA – Barboza
05-12 Bellingham, WA – The Shakedown
05-13 Portland, OR – Bunk Bar
05-14 Hood River, OR – Underground Music Station
05-22 Leeds, England – Hi-Fi Club
05-23 London, England – Birthdays
05-24 Cardiff, Wales – The Moon Club
05-25 Amsterdam, Netherlands – Poppodium Q-Factory
05-26 Wiesbaden, Germany – Schlachthof
05-27 Zurich, Switzerland – Rote Fabrik
05-28 Linz, Austria – Stadtwerkstatt
05-31 Durham, England – The Empty Shop
08-05-06 Happy Valley, OR – Pickathon
* with Count Bass D
^ with Dibia$e
# with Lushlife
& with Uncommon Nasa
@ with Has-Lo
More info on Open Mike Eagle & Paul White – A Short About A Guy That Dies Every Night
Open Mike Eagle - BingNews Search results
Open Mike Eagle Shares New Video for "Headass (Idiot Shinji)"
Open Mike Eagle dropped a new video for his song “Headass (Idiot Shinji),” taken from his recent album Anime, Trauma and Divorce, out now via Auto Reverse Records. Paste featured the album in our list ...
Open Mike Eagle’s Absurd ‘Headass (Idiot Shinji)’ Video Explains How Black People Talk
In the new video for “Headass (Idiot Shinji)” from his album Anime, Trauma, And Divorce, Open Mike Eagle recruits comedian Jak Knight (who’s crafted a niche lane for himself as rap’s go-to cameo comic ...
Vote With Your Wallet to Support Artists on Bandcamp Friday
From the goofy country of Dougie Poole, Open Mike Eagle's devastating introspection, and the stunning collab LP from Emma Ruth Rundle and Thou, there's a lot to love here. The visceral new album ...
Rapper Open Mike Eagle Releases 'Anime, Trauma and Divorce' Album
Rapper Open Mike Eagle released his latest album, Anime, Trauma and Divorce, on October 16. The album includes a number of titles inspired by anime, including "Headass (Idiot Shinji)", a reference ...
The Best Rap Projects Of November 2020
Rap vets T.I. and Black Thought, Open Mike Eagle also released projects. Last month also saw the release of Jay Electronica’s Act II, which became an “official release” after Tidal put the ...
News Bytes: Open Mike Eagle Talks Anime, Sophie Turner Joins ‘The Prince’ & More
All children’s content will be handled by the East Coast-based National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, which oversees the Daytime Emmy Awards. “If you’re a children’s program ...
Eclectic Intellectual Bend Permeates Open Mike Eagle’s Latest, ‘Anime, Trauma and Divorce’
Growing up, the rapper, Open Mike Eagle, says there were two prominent styles of rhyming in his hometown of Chicago. On the south side, where he was from, the aesthetic was influenced by a more ...
Open Mike Eagle Somehow Made An Entertaining Divorce Album
On the second song on Anime, Trauma And Divorce, his bleak and personal new album, the indie-rap lifer Open Mike Eagle goes for a punchline and then immediately wonders what he was thinking.
How Open Mike Eagle Channeled His Pain Into One of the Year’s Best Rap Albums
Open Mike Eagle’s new album wasn’t supposed to sound so personal. Originally, the Chicago-born, L.A.-based indie rapper had planned for his fifth solo LP, the follow-up to 2017’s excellent ...
Anime, Trauma and Divorce
On his bleakly comic new album, Open Mike Eagle surveys the damage of one terrible year, using anime mythology as a lens for examining real-life pain. Eagle isn’t cagey about the inspiration for ...
New music roundup: Matt Berninger, Kevin Morby, Open Mike Eagle
Key tracks: “Brother, Sister,” “Campfire,” “Wander” Open Mike Eagle, “Anime, Trauma and Divorce” (Auto Reverse) One of hip-hop’s most artful voices returns with a ...
Open Mike Eagle gets personal on ‘Anime, Trauma and Divorce’
Over the past decade, underground rapper Open Mike Eagle has quietly released some of the best hip-hop albums, but none have lived up to the moniker “Open Mike” Eagle has bestowed upon himself.