RIP Micheal “Eyedea” Larsen
The superbly-gifted rapper/singer/poet Micheal “Eyedea” Larsen, one of the largest mainstays of the indie hip hop scene, passed away this weekend a month shy of his 29th birthday. His mother, Kathy Averill, believes he died in his sleep after finding him Saturday and is awaiting autopsy results. Eyedea will be remembered as one this generation’s truly great lyricists and most remarkable freestyle performers. He made his way into the music business as a teenager via jaw-dropping battles that garnered him titles at Scribble Jam and HBO’s Blaze Battle amongst others. As a member of the Rhymesayers collective, he patented a rapid-fire delivery and released three stellar albums alongside DJ Abilities as well as a solo record under the pseudonym Oliver Hart. During a four-year hiatus from the Eyedea & Abilities outfit he recorded with the free jazz cum improvisational rap crew Face Candy and experimented with a Nirvanaesque rock sound with his group Carbon Carousel. His deeply personal lyrics dealing with mental illness, heartache, alienation, despair and everything in between resonated with a cult following worldwide. Prior to today, I never understood the grief fans feel when losing a revered artist whom they never knew personally. But the loss of Eyedea is tragic on so many levels. A fan by the name of Alex Ruddell summed it up perfectly:
What can I say that hasn’t already been said? I’ve never felt this degree of sadness for someone I never knew and I don’t think I will ever again. Another great artist gone poof! Vanishing as fast as they arrived. Why does this always seem to happen to the best? All I am left with are echoes of his past thought, a movie cut short, his transcendence of ideas and art left up to his audience’s imagination. Let’s let his work be an inspiration so we can pick up the pieces where he left off.
Eyedea’s mother has set up a paypal account for those wishing to help with the cost of services. To donate or share your memories of the St. Paul emcee, head over to the memorial fundraiser page on Facebook.
Innovative. Complex. Fearless. Brilliant. Eyedea will be greatly missed by family, friends and fans alike. His words will live on in the hearts and minds of many.