#Bandcampgold-Brick Body Kids Still Daydream by Open Mike Eagle
I am so much more excited about BBKSD than my circle. Everyone likes it. People at this point have heard of Open Mike Eagle due to the breakout success of 2014’s Dark Comedy (and 2016’s huge improvement Hella Personal Film Festival). He is officially on the bubble of everyone who follows music and BBKSD shows yet another improvement. That is a good enough take but not from my angle. If you follow the incredible X-Men references in the opening track (Legendary Iron Hood https://genius.com/Open-mike-eagle-legendary-iron-hood-lyrics ). The song is a perfect example of Mike pushing everything to the hilt. He’s always had great hooks and this time they are prettier, better sung, catchier (see Hymnal) the beats are full of strange sounds coming together over his buttery flow. His lyrics take comic imagery and push it 38 degrees to the left so that they become intensely meaningful.
On Happy Wasteland Day he is slick and smooth weaving zombie imagery and the connotation of dystopia into his everyday life “When the king is a garbage person/I might wanna lay down and die/Power down on my darkest urges/Keep my personal crown up high.” As the song goes on his tone gets more and more urgent as the terror of everyday violence punctures the force field. The last verse his voice is post mortem, dead monotone and fading. It is as much an emotional journey as Velvet Underground’s Heroin.
If you’re a strict rap guy who needs BARS just press play on Brick Body Complex which is a sensational set fire to the BS hook with dizzying skill from his pen in the verses “Chi Town in my building code/Stood here for ten million snows/wind chill is all in my bones/ Indivisible in divisible kids and criminals young and old/No radiator my dungeon cold.” That song sets my sensory on overload and it isn’t even my favorite.
I would change nothing on BBKSD but boy do I come back specifically to 95 Radios. Toy Light and Has-Lo created a beat that chimes a spotlight on the verses (Has-Lo destroys verse 1). Mike’s second verse teases fun growing up references but can’t run away from the hard thoughtful personal truth “I miss my old hood/ miss my homies/is lonely/ The radio host is like they know me.” The pain isn’t just in the verse it’s in the delivery, the chorus drips with the visual image of a kid closing his eyes and trying to hear a rap song so he doesn’t have to think so damn much.
When I was in school (trying to become a better writer) teachers routinely told me to ignore what I did well and focus on improving my faults. As a natural antagonist the first thing I did was push even harder on my strengths leaving the rest for later. Sometimes if I pushed hard enough I could accomplish something really surprising and that was the best feeling. Brick Body Kids Still Daydream gives me that feeling for Mike. No one gets to show him his lane.
Bandcamp link below:
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Tagged #BandcampGold, BBKSD, Brick Body Kids Still Daydream, Charles Xavier, Chicago Hip Hop, Dark Comedy, Exile, Has-Lo, Hella Personal Film Festival, Juggernaut, Open Mike Eagle, reviews, Toy Light, X-Men
#Bandcampgold review-Hella Personal Film Festival by Open Mike Eagle & Paul White
Dark Comedy put Open Mike Eagle on the map for a lot of listeners. While I still listen and enjoy that album it feels like a battle of Dark v. Comedy and in that sense Dark wins. By the time you hit track 8 Idaho anything you could possibly laugh at is crushingly sad; the kind of album that leaves you wanting to send the artist a get well card.
My constructed narrative is that Eagle sinks into the beats if they are muted. His agile humor and exuberance get swallowed by depression and anxiety; he feels the mood of the beat more than most. Enter Paul White; the UK producer who did valuable work on the near-classic Danny Brown album Old. From the first song of their collaborative album Hella Personal Film Festival you feel the difference in energy. Admitting The Endorphin Addiction really moves and feels important, Eagle is engaging and funny, lacing buttery sung vocals. His collaboration with Aesop Rock is real rap (I Went Outside Today) where he spits with impressive skills as well as hilarious moments “Rick Martel’s perfume can blind you HOGAN!” I love love love that Eagle was that focused because he knew Aesop was going to slay his verse. He brought his best pure rapping out of straight up hip hop instincts and respect.
Eagle is sneaky good at rapping and funny in ways you might not catch until a few seconds after the line but man he has a talent with hooks. Dang Is Invincible has a hook that won’t leave my head. His music is carefully linked to the anxiety of civilized living, even on Dang Is Invincible while enjoying the chorus you’ll hear verses with statements like “…feel good without being a narcissist did the whole tour didn’t get a parking ticket, looked in my heart and there wasn’t no darkness in it.”
White is fantastic dishing straight up old school hip hop jams like Check To Check and the jazzier whistle based The Curse of Hypervigilance. When the intelligence of the two comes together you get a straight up masterpiece in Smiling (Quirky Race Doc). The song is a real discussion about how people are afraid to smile at black men. It’s sharp and funny “I don’t want you, your purse or your pocket book; them dumb yoga pants boots of fur with the octopus. I’m not tryin’ to polish your toes, take your wallet or phone or follow you home.” The song also is done with a lot of genuine emotion, even his joking is poignant. The problem he’s addressing is real as thunderstorms. My two year old waves at strangers, all strangers (I know, what are you gonna do?) and my favorite is when he waves at a black man because they always light up like no one else. The promise of a little white kid possibly being raised not to fear them is in the sweet smile and wave they return to him. The song is a perfect commentary on that small but important interaction, Smiling is bold and funny but it also has a great hook that incorporates ghost farts.
Every song means something and ends up somewhere real. I love when Eagle is energetically wiping out the line between comedy and seriousness, between novelty rap and musicianship. Paul White found the right elements to get the right reaction (example: the piano in Insecurity P.II) and got the best out of him. Long live the Hella Personal Film Festival.
Stream or purchase(I did!) Hella Personal Film Festival below: