Mikey Larsen, better known as Eyedea to his fans, passed away unexpectedly October 17, 2010 at the age of 28. His family, friends, and fans are left with many questions and broken hearts. The art of Micheal Larsen was as complex and captivating as the artist himself. In a 2008 interview Eyedea perfectly explained his multiple projects as “It all crosses bridges man. It’s still all me just trying to find something.” R.I.P. Eyedea.
The many faces of Micheal Larsen:
“It’s still all me just trying to find something”
Mikey Larsen, better known as Eyedea to his fans, passed away unexpectedly October 17, 2010 at the age of 28. His family, friends, and fans are left with many questions and broken hearts. The art of Micheal Larsen was as complex and captivating as the artist himself.
He came to prominence as a battle rapper and notably won HBO’s Blaze Battle in 2000. The battle circuit honed Eyedea’s rhyme skills but it was his introspection and thoughtful analysis of life through lyrics that separates his work from a myriad of forgettable artists. Eyedea was a truth-seeker, artfully he skewered emcees along with the absurdity of the American dream, and human arrogance. He shed a light on the beauty and pain of everyday life and set an example for rational introspection. In a 2008 interview Eyedea perfectly explained his multiple projects as “It all crosses bridges man. It’s still all me just trying to find something.”
The philosophical Rhymesayer
In the late nineties Rhymesayers came together and established musical and personal roots that have grown into a vast network of diverse artists that make up the best label in hip hop. Eyedea and Abilities performed with Slug and Ant on early Atmosphere tours building up to the release of E&A’s ‘First born‘ in 2001, a classic album of dense hesitant rhymes framed by perfectly unembellished production. Eyedea followed up with the reflective ‘The Many Faces of Oliver Hart‘ or ‘How Eye One The Write Too Think‘ and really came to terms with his complex and sometimes challenging lyrical delivery. This comfort propelled E&A’s seminal masterpiece ‘E&A’ which has the perfect balance of Eyedea’s elaborate verses and Abilities flawless production. Eyedea kicks off the album with a bravado filled intro where he exclaims “What? You thought our second album wouldn’t be live, surprise!” and sets the tone for a frantic and multifaceted record that lives among the best in hip hop.
Eyedea: The missing years
After 2004 Eyedea explored solo side projects including a freestyle jazz group Face Candy releasing ‘This is Where We Were’ in 2006. He followed up with an alternative rock band Carbon Carousel, releasing 2007’s ‘The Some of All Things or: The Healing Power of Scab Picking.’ These side projects along with Eyedea wearing shirts proclaiming ‘Eyedea is Dead’ led to premature speculation that Eyedea & Abilities had disbanded. Eyedea and Abilities regrouped after Carbon Carousel and begun working on 2009’s ‘By the Throat’ which marked another major evolutionary step for the group. The drastic change in style upset many fans who were awaiting ‘E&A 2’. The change wasn’t drastic to fans of Larsen’s side projects, but instead a logical step forward for the group. ‘By the Throat’ was unforced dazzling art made by two veteran hip hop artists. Eyedea’s flow was his unique voice in the world, he made hip hop his, it was his thing and he mastered it like very few artist have.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported on Larsen’s passing saying “His mother, Kathy Averill, said she did not know the cause of death and is awaiting autopsy results. She found him on Saturday and believes he died in his sleep. ‘He was doing great and had a lot of things going on in his life,’ she said.” The hip hop community deeply mourns the loss of Eyedea, many artist and fans have taken to Twitter with tweets of both loving memories and condolences. Eyedea’s mother has established a memorial Paypal account that will help his family with expenses.
Eyedea’s brutal honesty and uncompromising sincerity made him a special artist with a beautiful gift of explaining the world that surrounded him. We, his fans, only wish we had him now to make sense of this tragic loss. Eyedea’s words and music remain, on ‘Music Music‘ Eyedea said it better than any of us will:
“But I pay homage to my melody ‘cause she’s the sweetest
The core of our spirit is naked
The form of its lyrics are sacred
Blanketed by the original sound of the inner vibrations
I’m floating on the soft clouds of positive creation
See, I can look at a painting and admire the colors
Or appreciate any type of art that I discover
But what I dig’s invisible
It’s my teacher and I’m its student
I tell ya
Ain’t nothing quite as beautiful as Music.”
Words by: Nate D