18 Oktober 2010

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RIP: Mike Larsen aka Eyedea Dead at 28

The progressive spirit of Hip-Hop took a hit today.

It’s with sadness that we announce the death of progressive rapper/singer Michael Larsen, better known to the world as Eyedea of Eyedea & Abilities.

Larsen’s Mother Kathy Averill announced the news today via Facebook, where a donation link has been set up to assist his family with serviced. As of now no cause of death has been released.

“He was doing great and had a lot of things going on in his life,” Averill said.

Eyedea & Abilities spent a decade locking down their reputation as legendary battle assassins (winners of Scribble Jam, Rocksteady, the Blaze Battle and the D.M.C.s) with an experimentally progressive flare to their sound, particularly Larsen’s searingly introspective lyrical narratives. His style defied the standard rap model, with the rhymes often coming in frantic, passionate bursts that sketch over traditional structure and rap formulaics. 

Here’s a personal favorite track of mine called Spin Cycle, which showcases Larsen’s frantic delivery, with Rock influence laced through his flow – particularly the chorus:
Other members of the Rhymesayers crew were reportedly in a state of shock and unavailable for comment Sunday. Larsen was seen hanging out and appeared to be in good spirits at 7th Street Entry on Friday night, when Abilities performed with another rapper from Los Angeles, Pigeon John.

Check out a bit of interview footage with Eyedea from Rock The Bells festival last year, where I caught Mike moments before he went onstage and crushed the masses: