R.I.P. Eyedea

Derek Evers

Eyedea and Abilities

Impose is saddened by the news of Eyedea's death. He was 28.

The news report was confirmed by his mother, Kathy Averill on
Eyedea’s personal Facebook page. “It is with great pain and sadness that
I tell you my son Mikey (Eyedea) has passed away. At this time we
kindly request your respect and our privacy as we process this
devastating loss. On behalf of Mikey’s family, close friends and fans,
thank you.”

Born Michael Larsen, Eydea was one-half of the Rhymesayers' duo Eyedea & Abilities. A regular on the battle-scene, Eyedea grew in popularity after strong showings at the Scribble Jam in 1999 and HBO’s Blaze
Battle in 2000. Though often classified as “backpacker hip-hop”, teamed with Abilities — who was a two-time DMC champion — Eyedea garnered respect by everyone in the hip-hop world.

Old Impose writer Alex Rosado and I interviewed Eyedea with Abilities back in 2004. We ate dinner prior to a show they were doing at Irving Plaza in support of their now Rhymesayers classic E&A. I remember it well because the two were both extremely nice, yet Eyedea was filled with a cynical anger that struck me as a bit more than typical, even for a touring suburban white rapper. It was nothing alarming, but I remember thinking it wasn't odd that we didn't hear another Eyedea & Abilities album until 2009's By The Throat. (Eyedea released an improv hip-hop album under the name Face Candy in 2006, and had another release under this moniker pending. He also sang for the Minneapolis rock band Carbon Carousel.)

In our last published issue, Impose did a label profile on Rhymesayers, with interviews done at their Minneapolis flagship store with locals like Slug, Brother Ali, and label president Siddiq Sayers. Abilities was there. Eyedea was not.

I do not want to speculate on the cause of Eyedea's death. Nor do I want to imply what happened had anything to do with the impression he left with me more than five years ago. Still, I can't help but think about the “emo-rap” tag that was branded upon self-reflective rhymers like Eyedea during this era, and wonder if maybe we should've paid closer attention to what he was saying.

Over the next few days we will publish that 2004 interview with Eyedea & Abilities. Until then, we tip our hat and say goodbye to one of hip-hop's best, and greatly under-appreciated, wordsmiths. If you would like to donate to Eyedea's funeral services, his mother has set up a pay-pal link here.

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