5 Must-Hear Eyedea Tributes

Categories: Rhymesayers

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YouTube Screen Capture
Eyedea and Blueprint from Blueprint's New Video

This year marks a half-decade since the world lost cherished Minnesotan and underground hip-hop icon Michael "Eyedea" Larsen. Whether you were a fan of his experimental recorded work, his razor-sharp battle rhymes, or his jaw-dropping innovative freestyles, Eyedea excelled in every way one could measure an MC.

His passing left a void in rap circles that will probably never be filled, and with each year providing more distance from his unexpected passing, more artists who knew Eyedea are finally feeling comfortable enough to process their grief and memorialize him in song. Given that two of the most touching, from Murs and Blueprint, were released in the past month, we've assembled some of the most touching Eyedea tributes.


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Eyedea's 10 Best Deep Cuts

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Photo by Dan Corrigan
Micheal Larsen -- known to the hip-hop world as Eyedea -- was one of the greatest talents to ever emerge from the Minnesota music scene. An exceptionally prolific writer, he lent verses to dozens of artists and DJs, all the while performing as Eyedea, Oliver Hart, and Michael Larsen, and as part of Eyedea & Abilities, Sixth Sense, Face Candy, Guitar Party, Carbon Carousel, Puppy Dogs and Ice Cream, and the Orphanage.

Mapping Eyedea's discography is a daunting task, one that several determined fans have undertaken, all imperfectly. And these don't even attempt to chronicle the celebrated battle rapper's many freestyles.

And more Larsen cuts keep worming out of the woodwork. A collection of his demos and rarities was released at the end of March and, last week, Blueprint confirmed there's an unreleased Orphanage album that may surface. This Saturday, Rhymesayers is re-releasing Eyedea & Abilities' classc E&A as a gorgeous double picture disc. Beyond all that, 2015 is both Rhymesayers' 20th anniversary and the fifth anniversary of Eyedea's death.

With all the hype and nostalgia swirling around, now seems as good a time as any to comb back through Larsen's scattered catalog to see if we can unearth some of the hip-hop titan's most esoteric highlights.

See Also:
Slug's 10 Best Deep Cuts

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Slug's 10 Best Deep Cuts

Categories: Lists, Rhymesayers
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Photo By Erik Hess

Atmosphere frontman Slug -- known to his parents and the IRS as Sean Daley -- is one of the most prodigious artists working in the Minnesota music scene. In his 26-year career, the Rhymesayers Entertainment co-founder has released 26 LPs and EPs, along with a slew of features that runs the gamut from DJ Murge to MF DOOM.

During that time, Slug's become an almost ubiquitous presence in the Twin Cities, headlining bonkers homecoming gigs at First Ave as well as his perennial Soundset festival in Shakopee. Even if they're not fans of hip-hop, most Minnesotan's recognize the charismatic emcee and his marquee songs, like "Modern Man's Hustle" and "Always Coming Back Home to You." However, not as many are familiar with the beatnik mood music he made with Deep Puddle Dynamics, or the rough cuts he tracked alongside members of the Orphanage.

In our ongoing celebration of Rhymesayers' 20th anniversary, Gimme Noise decided to look back through Slug's catalog to find some of the lesser-known greatest hits.

See Also:
Rhymesayers Turns 20: The Best Songs of Each Year


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Rhymesayers Announces 2015 Record Store Day Plans

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Photo by Sarah White
Greg Grease is one of the acts set to perform at Fifth Element on Record Store Day

Soundset isn't the only thing on Rhymesayers' radar these days. In addition to celebrating its 20th anniversary throughout 2015, the tastemaking local hip-hop label has some exciting plans in the works at Fifth Element for Record Store Day on Saturday, April 18.

Along with cool in-store performances, deep discounts on albums and merchandise, and free giveaways and RSD exclusives, Rhymesayers is also putting out a double picture disc vinyl set of Eyedea & Abilities' landmark 2004 album, E&A, the first time it's been released on vinyl in over five years.


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Rhymesayers Turns 20: The Best Songs of Each Year

Categories: Rhymesayers

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Photo by Denis Jeong Plaster
Atmosphere

Now that Rhymesayers is 20 years old, the Minneapolis rap label's output has piled up into something monumental. This becomes even more impressive when you break down what the label has done each year.

While few rap labels even hit the single decade mark, what makes what Rhymesayers' done even more impressive is that they've never taken even a year off between releases. Here's a look back at the definitive songs year-by-year.

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The Top Five Rhymesayers Album Covers

Categories: Rhymesayers
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Rhymesayers Entertainment
The Cover of P.O.S.' Never Better by Eric Carlson

This year our hometown hip-hop heroes Rhymesayers Entertainment mark two decades of indie rap domination. But while Rhymesayers' legacy of music is rightfully spotlighted, one element that's overlooked in the digital age is the artwork.

From the early Headshots cassettes to countless singles and even their tour posters, Rhymesayers' visual elements have always been on point. Here are our picks for the top five Rhymesayers album covers.


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New Eyedea Documentary Will Answer All Questions

Categories: Rhymesayers
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Photo by Denis Jeong Plaster
It's sadly been almost five years since the world lost Michael Larsen, better known as the prolific and innovative multi-genre musician Eyedea. The legacy of his music has continued to find new listeners to a passionately devoted degree.

So much so that when south Minneapolis filmmaker Brandon Crowson launched an Indiegogo campaign to fund his documentary The World Has No Eyedea, its $6,000 goal was met within 24 hours. With that goal now doubled, we spoke to Crowson about why he's making the film and what impact Eyedea's music has had on his and other listeners' lives.


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Grayskul's Rhymesayers Debut Deadlivers Turns 10

Categories: Rhymesayers
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Rhymesayers Entertainment
This was, for many, the first time you saw Grayskul

This month marks 10 years since Rhymesayers ventured outside of Minneapolis for a full-length album from the also-vibrant Seattle hip-hop scene. Grayskul, a sub-division of Seatlle hip-hop super-collective Oldominion, had carved out their own dark niche of the Rhymesayers catalog.

With an ominous, foreboding and often-cryptic collection of stories and soliloquies, Deadlivers slapped an unsuspecting 2005 indie rap soundscape in the face and has since become a cult classic. Boasting guest appearances from Canibus, Mr. Lif and Abstract Rude, it's one of the most eclectic albums in the Rhymesayers catalog.

We spoke to members Onry and JFK about Deadlivers' legacy, what it was like joining a white-hot Rhymesayers touring roster in the mid-2000s, and how Deadlivers sits with them today.


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Five Aesop Rock Rarities You Might Have Missed

Categories: Rhymesayers
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Photo by Chrissy Piper
Aesop Rock stabs your rap conventions with his cutlery.

Aesop Rock | First Avenue | Wednesday, February 4
An icon of the independent hip-hop world, Aesop Rock's eclectic vocabulary has intrigued fans for so long that it's perhaps easy to overlook how prolific his output has been for over 15 years. For newer fans, starting at any one particular place in the Aesop Rock discography is daunting enough.

With the here-today-gone-today nature of the early 2000s CD-R and 2010s internet-abyss methods of music sharing, a handful of great Aesop Rock cameos and one-offs that rank among his best work have gone under-appreciated for far too long.

Here are five of our favorite Aesop Rock rarities.


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MF Doom Rice Bowl Debuts at World Street Kitchen

Categories: Rhymesayers
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@jeffRSE
Mmmmm... World Street Kitchen!
Few individuals can call themselves as enigmatic, prolific, and esoteric as rapper MF Doom. During one of his most-celebrated creative periods, the metal-faced master aligned with local rap label Rhymesayers to release the 2004 classic MM.. Food, and Gimme Noise recently celebrated a decade since its release.

For February, Lyndale eatery World Street Kitchen and Rhymesayers have taken Doom's album title one step further with a signature rice bowl.

See also:
MF Doom's MM.. Food: 10 Years Later

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