Artist: Open Mike Eagle
Album: Dark Comedy
Release Date: June 10, 2014
01. Dark Comedy Morning Show feat. Toy Light
02. Qualifiers prod. Taco Neck
03. Thirsty Ego Raps prod. Illingsworth
04. Golden Age Raps prod. Cohen Beats
05. Very Much Money (Ice King Dream) prod. Ultra Combo
06. Doug Stamper (Advice Raps) feat. Hannibal Burress prod. Alpha MC
07. Jon Lovitz (fantasy booking yarn) prod. Dibia$e
08. Idaho prod by Kenny Segal
09. Sadface Penance Raps prod. Alpha MC
10. A History of Modern Dance prod. Jeremiah Jae
11. Deathmate Black prod. Driver
12. Informations feat. Kool AD prod. Elos
13. Big Pretty Bridges (3 days off in Albuquerque) prod. by Toy Light
One famous Oscar Wilde aphorism claimed: “if you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise, they’ll kill you.” Open Mike Eagle lacks the capacity to tell anything but the truth. In a nation that prizes self-aggrandizing buffoons and artful liars, morbid humor might be the sanest response—a tourniquet to stop the toxicity from spreading.
If this sounds heavy, it’s probably because it is. Dark Comedy, the Mello Music debut from the critically revered Los Angeles rapper, is mostly about the failure of Karl Marx’s Proletariat Revolution. Yet its brilliance stems less from the novelty of its ideas than from the ingenuity of its wordplay, its caustic whimsy, and infectious melodies.
Opening track “Dark Comedy Morning Show” operates as a shorthand manifesto. For those who haven’t heard, Eagle’s bad at sarcasm, so he works in absurdity (when trying not to wish death on the upper class). The airing of grievances includes racial stereotypes, inner-city warfare and Facebook logging all of his favorite sandwiches. It’s Slug’s “Modern Man’s Hustle” if the Atmosophere frontman had been haunted by James Baldwin’s ghost instead of heavily tattooed exes.
Lead single “Qualifiers” finds Eagle subverting the notions of traditional rap braggadocio and lyrical terrain. His revolution isn’t just some abstract political ideals, but at the crux of his approach to art. This is intended to dump Coconut Water and whiskey on the unsuspecting heads of those with false ideas of authenticity or what rap should be.
Lest you mistake him for a meditating yoga-panted rapper, the rapper raised on the Southside of Chicago, wields wordplay as sharp and weird as any of his peers. He proclaims himself “the King of all rappers who don’t condone date rape.” Molotov Cocktails are helpfully tossed from fellow conspirators Kool AD and comedian, Hannibal Burress.
Former hockey star Luc Robataille is rhymed with the Kobra Kai Dojo from Karate Kid. In the same breath, Eagle cracks about being too old to die. It’s absurdity in the sense that Joseph Heller deployed it in Catch 22. He will live forever or die in the attempt.
If you’re just tuning into Eagle’s stellar career on album number four, the LA Weekly
anointed him last year as the hottest thing in indie rap. Pitchfork
called him a “whiz with matching easy-going hooks to intimate personal reflection.” But Dark Comedy
could be the best thing he’s ever done—a record that captures the perennial struggle between art and commerce, the last half-century of widening class rift, and the need to be funny or die. Producers: Toy Light, Taco Neck, Illingsworth, Cohen Beats, Ultra Combo, Alpha MC, Dibia$e, Kenny Segal, Jeremiah Jae, Busdriver, ElosFeaturing:
Toy Light, Hannibal Burress, Kool A.D.
All Songs Recorded at Office/Space Studios
All Songs Mastered by Daddy Kev @ Cosmic Zoo
Open Mike Eagle is Published by Wichita Songs/Domino Music Publishing
Executive Produced by Michael Tolle
Mello Music Group Copyright 2014