Open Mike Eagle: Foreword to 4NML HSPTL

Open Mike Eagle

Open Mike Eagle is a resident of LA and is almost too smart to handle. When we finally met him in person, at our Austin Imposition this year, he blew everyone's minds with on-point, tight raps that spun hyper-literate webs of true storytelling. His new LP, </>4NML HSPTL</i>, is out 6/26 from Fake Four Records, and you can catch him on tour in July <a href="">nationwide</a>.

Open Mike Eagle

A few years ago I had the misfortune of spending a lot of time with someone who is emotionally disturbed.

If you’ve ever worked in or around this business you have an idea of how often one can come into close contact with extreme personalities. I have a bachelor’s degree in psychology, and was at one point studying to be a professional counselor in addition to having worked as a teacher to emotionally disturbed children. I often find myself on the receiving end of words that seem to be coming from another world. I’m either more equipped than most for dealing with it, or I’m slowly losing my own mind.

I’d go as far as to say that people in general tend to regard me as a ‘good listener’, and I embrace that role.

This particular set of interactions was not very enjoyable though. It was interesting, engaging, and sometimes enlightening, but it was never fun. there was always a fog of unease (disease?) in the air as he spoke because I could sense that I was never completely trusted. And if you could imagine how important trust is for communication between well-adjusted people, you should understand that trust for a person with emotional issues is everything.

You could hear it in how he called people ‘satanists’.

His eyes would squint and his mouth would curl to one side as if he were disgusted that there were really enough of them in the world to justify having a name.

And I saw that face a lot. Because at anytime, anyone from the most well-known celebrity to a bum rummaging through a deli trash can could raise his suspicion.

And every now and then I could tell he was toying with the notion that I was a satanist. He wouldn’t say it out loud but you could see it in his eyes when we spoke.

I'm glad he never said it out loud because I was a little worried that I would somehow deny it the wrong way. Maybe my agnostic reaction would be too close to what a real-life satanist’s weak denial would look like. The same odd blink of the eye or stutter that would only confirm my status and set him about executing a plan to stab me in the heart with a holy weapon or baptize me in a truck stop sink.

I got the idea that at some vulnerable point in his life some awful person had planted these notions in his mind. The satanic factoids always seemed like they were recalled from a memorized list rather than intuited in any way.

He’d insist we not listen to certain popular songs because there were frequencies in them that could open you up to mind control.

He informed me that, in fact, there was not a secret society controlling the entertainment industry.

There were actually two, he said. And that they were engaged in a clandestine war through the media. One side, he said, were satanists determined to destroy our society’s moral foundation until the idea of god was dismissed entirely. The other meant to “illuminate” the world through the spreading of lost knowledge that you had to receive “training” to understand.

He said that every celebrity was aligned with one side or the other, which meant that any celebrity that would come up in random conversation was either lauded with a seemingly misplaced amount of praise, or defamed viciously, instantly changing the mood of the conversation to heavy, dark, and foggy.

He would only eat shitty food.

He would never really say why, but everytime I wouldnt join him at McDonald’s he’d snicker and say “They got yo ass”.

That intrigued me more than anything else. I would try to imagine what you would have to tell someone to lead them to believe that fast food was not only a good thing, but the only good thing to do.

Had he gotten indoctrinated into a cult with a McDonald’s sponsorship? Did they get bonuses for including Big Mac hypnosis in their reprogramming curriculum?

I guess if you’re already being trained to think that everything anyone (except that one guy) tells you is a lie, it would be easy to convince you that the FDA was sinister enough to label ‘real’ junk food healthy in an attempt to ruin the brightest minds with the rottenest shit they could find.

Over time i started to understand how easy it could be to be brainwashed. Our minds process information logically. We’re taught to experience life in terms of cause and effect. but very much of what we experience doesn’t make sense in those terms. We don’t cause earthquakes, hurricanes, or volcanic eruptions but we’re sure as shit affected by them. So if someone comes along that seems to have an explanation for the chaos, we’ll listen. And if you’ve seen extreme chaos in your personal life, like abuse or the effects of addiction with a loved one, you’re even more thirsty for a line of logic to hold your world together.

There’s two things you should know, though.

One, the explanation will always be a lie. The truth is chaos. The truth is meteor showers, the asteroid belt, torrential rains, viruses, bug bites, and supernovas. We’ve overlayed the chaos with logic so that we may exist within it. Or else we’d go through each day only thinking about the only thing that’s certain. Death.

Two, nothing in the above story ever happened. Its all completely made up.

Welcome to 4NML HSPTL.

Second room on the left.

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