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This album was released on June 10th in the year of Our Lord 2014. I haven’t really gotten into any of Open Mike Eagle’s music yet because I was planning on doing a marathon for him at some point, but, in all honesty, at the rate I’m going it probably never would’ve happened. I’ve heard really amazing things about him tho, and he’s signed to one of, if not my favorite record labels, Mello Music Group. This review was requested by Buffalo Staple; if you’d like to request a specific album/mixtape/EP for me to review, it’s 5 dollars to my Patreon. Anyway, I’m pretty sure this is Eagle’s most critically acclaimed release to date, so I think I’m gonna love this shit. By the way, THANK YOU to the Patrons who have supported me so far for not intentionally requesting shitty albums just to see me shit on them. I really appreciate you not only for supporting me and giving me good music to listen to, but for also just caring enough about good music and my thoughts on it.
Track 1: Dark Comedy Morning Show Feat. Toy Light (Prod. Toy Light)
Alright, it’s starting now. Oh fucking shit. Ohhh… Okay… It’s gonna be THIS kinda album. Okay. I’m gonna love this shit. Seriously… This production is fucking incredible. Bruuh… Lmao. He opened this album up with one of the most relatable lines I’ve ever heard.
Dark comedy cold as the ocean / Add a “lol” ’cause nobody seems to know when I’m joking.
Actually I guess it’s kind of the opposite for me because I’m actually NOT joking when I say “lol.” Whatever. I still like that line. Man… Okay, I fucking love this guy. He’s really good at making every single thing he says super interesting. I also really love his calm and melodic delivery on the first verse. It sounds so awesome when he switches to a more traditional delivery on the second verse. Every line is a really interesting, kind of morbid punchline. It’s kinda depressing. He has the same dark sense of humor that I have. It’s like if he looked at my twitter profile and turned every tweet into a couplet. That allusion to Slug of Atmosphere was cool. This fucking beat is amazing. God. This is fucking amazing. Lmao. Thank you Buffalo Staple. Everything about this song is perfect to me. I’m not really sure why Toy Light is credited as a feature; maybe he (she?) did some background vocals or something. This song is fucking superb tho. I loved every single bar. This shit is dope af.
Track 2: Qualifiers (Prod. Taco Neck)
The fucking production on this album, man… This beat is incredible. Mike is killing this first verse too. I love the way his flow and delivery evolve as the verse progresses. The hook’s cool. His singing isn’t that great, but it doesn’t really affect my enjoyment of the song. He fucking slaughtered that last verse too. I loved the melody he used, and, like I said with the previous track, every bar has me sitting on the edge of my seat waiting to hear what he says next. This is dope af to me.
Track 3: Thirsty Ego Raps (Prod. Illingsworth)
Woah… This beat is weird as fuck. I love it tho. Those fuzzy synths sound so fucking good. The drum pattern is really glitchy too. Not in a bad way tho. I’m not crazy about this hook, but it’s not really bad. He fucking snapped on the first verse. He sounds so good over this beat, and his flow was awesome.
This is my emotional ape face / I’m president of the rappers that don’t condone date rape.
Holy fucking fuck… That last little verse with like 8 bars was fucking insane. Seriously, I think that tiny verse might honestly be better than the entire first verse. That was so fucking awesome. The fucking rhyme scheme he used sounded absolutely flawless. I definitely fuck with this shit. This song is dope af.
Track 4: Golden Age Raps (Prod. Cohen Beats)
Again, the fucking proDUCtion on this goddamn album is insane. The placement of this track makes a lot of sense instrumentally. It retains the fuzzy, Chiptunish synths from the previous track. Man… This dude is such a good fucking rapper. Lol. I might have to reconsider the list of my 10 favorite rappers… Hmmm… Okay, if I switch anyone out, it’s gonna be Busta Rhymes. I still love him, but he’s nowhere near as consistent as anyone else on that list. He can still murder anyone on the microphone, but anyone who thinks that the quality of Back on My Bullshit is in the range of that of The Coming is a fucking psychopath. I think I should listen to more of Mike’s music before I go that far tho. I’ve only heard 4 songs by him. Anyway, Mike fucking rapped his ass off on this shit. There’s not really a hook; there’s just a quick break between the two verses. He just spazzed for 2 minutes. His delivery when he started listing different candy bars was so fucking dope. This is definitely one of my favorite tracks so far. I love the production, and Mike fucking snapped. This shit is dope af.
Track 5: Very Much Money (Ice King Dream) [Prod. Ultra Combo]
This instrumental is pretty nice. It sounds even more ethereal than that of the previous track. It’s my least favorite beat on the album so far, but it’s still pretty good. The first verse was cool. The hook’s decent. This is definitely the most underwhelming track on the album. I still really like it tho. Maybe “underwhelming” wasn’t the best word for me to use… It’s relatively unexciting, but it’s still a really enjoyable track on its own. The content of this song revolves around the idea that no matter who you are and what you may be capable of, you’re nobody if you don’t have any money. I really like the way his flow changes for the second verse. The song just ended. Yeah. This is easily my least favorite song on the album so far. I still like it tho. It’s just that nothing about it really jumped out at me, especially when you compare it to the other songs I’ve heard so far. This is still a good song tho. I fuck with this track. It’s dope.
Track 6: Doug Stamper (Advice Raps) Feat. Hannibal Buress [Prod. Alpha MC]
I don’t really watch standup comedy as much as I used to, but I saw a little bit of Hannibal Buress’ work right before he started getting really popular, and I’ve always liked his personality. Oh shit. This beat is dope af. It kinda reminds me of The Cool Kids’ early work. I really like Mike’s toned down delivery on this first verse. It pretty much sounds like what I would expect to hear if Hannibal Buress himself was actually rapping. The first verse was great. I’m not crazy about the hook tho. The second verse was dope af. The only aspect of this song that I’m not crazy about so far is the hook. Holy fuck. What the hell? LMAOOO. This is fucking awesome. Hannibal Buress is rapping on the third verse. Jesus. I did NOT see that shit coming. Lmao. He actually killed that verse. That was awesome. Haha. I’m so glad this song exists. This shit is dope af.
Track 7: Jon Lovitz (Fantasy Booking Yarn) [Prod. Dibiase]
This beat is fucking awesome. The hook’s fine. I’m not really crazy about Mike’s melodic delivery on this first verse. His flow isn’t bad tho. It sounds like he’s rapping from the perspective of somebody who’s trying to get him to rap at a specific location. So this is basically Mike’s way of describing his dream venue. The subject matter isn’t super interesting to me personally, but I definitely give him credit for originality. Oh shit. The song just ended. There’s only one verse. That’s fine. This is easily my least favorite song on the album so far, but I still enjoyed it. Nothing really impressed me that much. I liked the production a lot, but as the song progressed I became less and less entertained by it. It’s still an enjoyable song tho. I like this track.
Track 8: Idaho (Prod. Kenny Segal)
Woah. The percussion on this track is REALLY fucking sonorous. This beat is awesome. I actually like the off-kilter, melodic delivery and flow Mike’s using on the first verse. Ugh. I have a runny nose… Anyway, the first verse was fucking awesome. Mike’s pretty much just rapping about being lost in an obscure town, and I really fucking love his unorthodox flow. Gotdamn. The dark synths that come in during the second verse sound so fucking dope. I feel like there’s a metaphor in this song that I’m not reaching. I guess it can really apply to anything. It could just be a metaphor for a new, unfamiliar experience. The second verse focuses more on the feeling of abandonment from someone who was initially somewhat of an ally in this new experience as it were.
The only thing fueling me is that I’m scared to die / And I’m scared for you ’cause you could die, and never said goodbye / Why you trust me so? Why’d you let me lead / When I don’t know where I’m going, and I speed?
The way the production transforms throughout this song is crazy. I love how the distorted synths fizzle out at the beginning of the outro. This song honestly isn’t anything special when it comes to the melody and the sonic aspects of Mike’s delivery, but it’s one of the most interesting songs on this album conceptually. This shit is dope af.
Track 9: Sadface Penance Raps (Prod. Alpha MC)
This beat is fucking incredible. This is probably my favorite beat on the album so far. It’s a tie between this and the first track. There’s nothing super unique about it. It’s just really good. Mike’s flow on the first verse is great. This feels a lot more uptempo than the majority of the other tracks on this album. This is the shortest song on the album, but it’s one of my favorites so far. It carries a really pessimistic attitude, as you could’ve assumed from the title.
I’m in the hood hearing sirens, and the beat tried to make me feel good, but it’s lying / So I stood in defiance; I’m only in it for the pain, and the truth is you’re lonely and ashamed.
The content of this song could pretty much be summed up by saying “fuuuck.” I love this track. It’s dope af.
Track 10: A History of Modern Dance (Prod. Jeremiah Jae)
This beat is weird as fuck. It’s dope tho. What the fuck… The way Mike’s rapping sounds like a fuckin’ ghost. It sounds really cool tho. I don’t know how to describe it. This sounds like a Horrorcore beat. What the fuck is this dude rapping about? Oh shit… Okay, I think I get it… “Modern dance” is a metaphor for sex? I think…? It sounds like he’s describing the process of hooking up with someone from Tinder… The hook is fine. The sonic atmosphere of this song makes sex seem really depraved and hedonistic. I like the way Mike’s delivery changed for the second verse. I’m enjoying this song, but the content isn’t really that engaging to me personally. In terms of the production, this is definitely one of the more unique tracks. It stands out sonically from the rest of the project. I can’t really say it’s one of my favorites tho. I like it, but it didn’t really blow me away. It’s a good song tho. I fuck with this.
Track 11: Deathmate Black (Prod. Busdriver)
I fucking love Busdriver. I’m more familiar with him as an MC than a producer tho. I’ll have to do a Busdriver marathon at some point. Anyway, this beat is really dope. The first verse was cool. The hook is nice. I don’t really have anything to say about this track. I like it. It’s got one of the best hooks on the album in my opinion. There’s just not much to it. The first verse was pretty short, and the second one is really similar. The hook is a little too long for my taste. I like the song tho. It just doesn’t really stand out that much to me in any way.
Track 12: Informations Feat. Kool A.D. (Prod. Elos)
I haven’t gotten around to checking out Das Racist’s work yet. I’ve heard some of Heems’ work before, but I don’t know if I’ve ever heard Kool A.D. rap. Oh wait… He was on the remix of Huzzah by Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire, right? Okay, then I HAVE heard him rap before. I can’t really remember it tho… Anyway, this beat is fucking amazing. This song is really fuckin’ weird lyrically. I can’t tell if he’s rapping from the perspective of a phone or a guy who has a weird obsession with technology. The first verse was really dope tho. This song contains Mike’s most expressive, charismatic delivery on the whole album.
This other hand is an old Wired magazine / When I pass gas it sounds like a fax machine / I be thinking of secret shit then deleting it / My mind’s on the internet; if I speak it I’m tweeting it.
I guess he’s supposed to be some weird cyborg or something? It seems like it’s supposed to be a commentary—though not necessarily a critical one—on the role that technology and media has played in the general public’s life. Kool A.D.’s verse was weird. He pretty much just completely ignored Mike’s original subject matter and did his own thing. I don’t really have a problem with it. I liked his goofy attitude. I feel like a Kool A.D. & Action Bronson collaboration needs to happen at some point if it hasn’t already. Anyway, this is a really great song. I don’t have any problems with it honestly. This is dope af.
Track 13: Big Pretty Bridges (3 Days Off in Albuquerque) [Prod. Toy Light]
Ohhhhhh FUCK. This beat is spectacular. The first verse is kinda depressing. He’s just rapping about being alone and unhappy in a hotel room. This is really good. The hook’s fine. Fuck, man. This is a really good song. I just listened to the whole thing. The final verse felt like a message to all of his listeners, kinda like Kendrick’s Mortal Man song. The more I listen to the hook the more I love it.
We’ll dig; we’ll still build big pretty bridges.
I feel like he’s saying he wants to feel closer to his audience, and that he wants his music to be a bridge between him and his listeners. My interpretation could be completely wrong tho. Whatever. It don’t make me no difference. All I know is I love this song. This shit is dope af.
This album is amazing. I will say this tho: the first few tracks were a lot more enjoyable for me than the remainder of the album. Tracks 5 through 11 didn’t really blow me away like the others did. They’re still really good songs tho. There’s not a single track on this album that I didn’t enjoy. I haven’t heard every single album from 2014, but from what I HAVE heard, this is definitely one of the best. Mike sings a LOT on this album, and he doesn’t really have that much talent as a vocalist, but it never really got to the point where I feel like it could have potentially ruined a song. I’m sure some tracks would’ve been slightly more enjoyable for me if he didn’t sing at all, but none of it was bad enough to turn me off completely. The album is exactly what the title implies: it’s a collection of songs that contain humorous, yet dark, cynical, occasionally critical statements on modern Hip Hop and society in general. He doesn’t have a super impressive flow or super in depth stories. He’s just really good at putting together enjoyable songs. He’s a super talented songwriter. Kinda like Oddisee. I really don’t think there are any consistent flaws with this album. It’s dope af.
Favorite Song: Big Pretty Bridges
Least Favorite Song: Jon Lovitz
Trippy project. But dope, dude has style and talent to back up what he’s doing. His production is certainly on point compared to a lot of indie cats.
I like this project, it’s unique and certainly isn’t a chore to listen to, will have to peep some more of his discography.
Good stuff Nick.
And shout-out to Buffalo Staple! He’s a cool dude!