Last year’s ‘Dark Comedy’ was one of the most down to earth and brilliant Hip-Hop records of the year. Open Mike Eagle has the ability to craft songs that are witty, down to earth and touch on topics that can be relatable or personal to him without sounding like he’s just telling us his life story. All the songs on the album were crafted to the best that they could have been, sounding like an artist hitting their creative peak, creating something that sounds strange without having to do anything overtly out-there. Open Mike Eagle truly secured his place as one of the more exciting songwriters in underground music and not just underground Hip-Hop.
‘A Special Episode Of’ is a little project that sounds as if it’s intended to be accompanied with ‘Dark Comedy’ as it stands side by side with it brilliantly – even though stylistically there are some differences. For one, there are a lot less spots where Open Mike Eagle is singing on this EP and is instead just straight up giving us bars. This is evident from the opening track on the EP ‘Dark Comedy Late Show’ which is a sequel/reinterpretation of the opening song from his last album, ‘Dark Comedy Morning Show’ and has him manipulating the upbeat instrumentation from that song and playing it over the top of some trap beats instead. It actually turns out to be better than the original with him having a chance to dive into more subjects in his typically witty manner. He talks about an array of different subjects on this track ranging from things that have been happening about race in Ferguson, the different news channels and the corporations behind them, the music industry itself and mixed feeling on going to College. All the topics are covered with such wit and self-awareness that there’s many hilarious lines throughout the song such as when he’s talking about all the Iraq wars and says he ‘clicked the Constitution’s terms of service agreements’ in an attempt to show us how nobody bothers to read into anything these days and instead we blindly agree with whatever we’re told.
It’s not just outside issues that Open Mike Eagle talks about though; much like on ‘Dark Comedy’ he deals with personal issues with himself like on the track ‘Raps For When It’s Just You And The Abyss’. On this track he spits over the top of a haunting beat about the things he thinks about on an everyday basis that make him anxious, including everything from his girlfriend going to the hairdressers worried about ISIS to not being able to grow a beard. Even though part of Mike’s charm on his last album was his slightly off-key singing, it’s hardly missed on here as even the guest rappers bring their A-game delivering verses that are equally funny, if not more so. Even though Mike is still fantastic on the track ‘Trickeration’ with lines like ‘They like to say that we’re post-racial/So they can give us MGK and take Ghostface’ it’s the guests Milo and MC Paul Barman that steal the show. Milo delivers some genuine laugh out loud moments on this track talking about how he’s the ‘poopiest’ when it comes to collecting rubies on Zelda and how he’s the ‘nudiest’ when he appears in male photo-shoots. He also cleverly references an MF Doom song at the end of his verse, which is ironic because the way that they’re flowing over the beat on this track sometimes sounds similar to the way Doom would rhyme on tracks like ‘All Caps’.
In a lot of ways this EP continues to show that Open Mike Eagle is one of the most exciting names in underground Hip-Hop. This is an EP that stands side by side with last year’s ‘Dark Comedy’ perfectly complementing it and even bettering it in places. It’s another project that’s funny, dark and relatable with production that’s as consistent and as engaging as ever. The stream of projects that he’s putting out at the moment will be sure to put him onto a lot more people’s radar as he’s becoming a more concise and diverse artist as time goes on. Keep doing what you’re doing Mike, it’s fantastic.
Best Tracks: Dark Comedy Late Show, Trickeration, Ziggy Starfish