Hip Hop has a terrible reputation due in no small part to the tip of the derivative mainstream or more pointedly its gangster deviations. As is ever the case with any genre, the true visage can only be gazed upon when you dip your toe past that surface, digging deeper and deeper. There are countless names doing interesting things with the form, such as B. Dolan or Flying Lotus on opposite ends of the spectrum or digging deeper still with the likes of Jeremiah Jae and L’Orange. The duo up for discussion today is of great importance and influence with the tragically young death of its MC now subject to his own documentary – The World has no Eyedea. That can only lead to one collaboration, Eyedea & Abilities with their E&A record. By the Throat may be their definitive experience but some of the themes it touches upon make it hard as an entry point. Turning off life support in Hayfever being the most brutal of examples:
“I mean I know you’re sick, tired, and confused,
But sometimes letting the tired go to sleep is the best thing to do,
I will hold your head while the doctor sticks the needle in,
I’ll always remember our companionship and what it meant,
And on Sunday, October the 5th, you took your last breath
And you will be missed”
The easier intro is E&A with experimental yet entirely unforgettable turn-tableism from Abilities and a flow and wordplay from Eyedea born from battle rap and freestyle that has since inspired the pinnacle of Midwestern Hip Hop. That’s right, there is more to Hip Hop than just L.A and New York, Minneapolis has a scene that beggars belief. Referencing his background in battle rap and Free-styling, numbers like Exhausted Love and Star Destroyer (feat. Carnage), Michael Larsen had an eloquence and intelligence years ahead of his time and his loss left a vacuum in the front lines, the cutting edge of hip hop.