White Rappers

Eyedea

white rapper eyedea

Eyedea, (aliases Oliver Hart)was an American musician, rapper and freestyle battle champion that won the 1999 Scribble Jam and Blaze Battle sponsored by and seen on HBO in 2000. He was in a hip hop group with DJ Abilities known as Eyedea & Abilities, and he was one of the original members of the Rhymesayers. In 2010 Eyedea died due to an accidental overdose. 

Years Active: 2001-2010 (deceased)
Label: Rhymesayers Entertainment
Best Known Song: “Man Vs. Ape”

Micheal David Larsen (November 9, 1981 – October 16, 2010), better known by his stage name Eyedea, was an American musician, rapper and poet. He was a freestyle battle champion and songwriter from Saint Paul, Minnesota. He had appeared as a solo artist under the pseudonym Oliver Hart, and as the MC half of the duo Eyedea & Abilities (along with longtime friend and collaborator DJ Abilities). Larsen was first signed under Slug’s independent hip-hop label Rhymesayers before founding his own record label “Crushkill Recordings”. Eyedea’s style of music is philosophical, abstract, political and poetic.

Eyedea first stepped into the hip-hop scene battling against other emcees at notable freestyle joints. His notable wins which included a victory at Scribble Jam (1999) and the televised Blaze Battle sponsored by HBO (2000), turned Eyedea into a hip-hop mogul. Notable hip-hop outlets have labeled Eyedea as a legendary freestyle icon. Eyedea has released numerous albums alongside DJ Abilities where the two performed under the duo name “Eyedea & Abilities”. In 2001, Eyedea & Abilities released their debut studio album First Born, which included their successful single “Big Shots”. The single was later chosen to appear on Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4. In 2004, Eyedea & Abilities released their second studio album titled E&A, which included the singles “Paradise” & “Man vs Ape”. In July 2009, Eyedea & Abilities released their third and final studio album called By the Throat, which was followed by highly acclaimed positive ratings.

In 2014, Eyedea ranked #2 on Abbey Magazine’s Top 25 ‘greatest freestyle emcees of all-time’. Eyedea died in his sleep on October 16, 2010 at age 28; the cause of his death was ruled as an accidental overdose. Eyedea was a member of the music groups Eyedea & Abilities, The Orphanage, Face Candy, Carbon Carousel, Puppy Dogs and Ice Cream, and Guitar Party.

Rhymesayers Entertainment

Eyedea was signed to Rhymesayers Entertainment and collaborated with Slug of the underground hip hop group Atmosphere as well as Sage Francis, Aesop Rock, and Blueprint. He was also a member of a MC super group called “The Orphanage” along with Slug, Aesop Rock, Blueprint, Sage Francis & Illogic. Although never releasing a full CD to the public, songs were recorded and released.

After Eyedea released This Is Where We Were, recorded with his live freestyle rap/jazz group Face Candy, he created Carbon Carousel, an alternative rock band. They have released one EP, entitled The Some of All Things, or: The Healing Power of Scab Picking. This brought on speculation that Eyedea & Abilities were no longer together. However, in August 2007, the duo announced on their Myspace that they would be at the Twin Cities Celebration of Hip-Hop performing old songs and new material.

In December 2007, Eyedea & Abilities embarked upon their Appetite for Distraction Tour with Crushkill labelmate Kristoff Krane and Minnesotan duo Sector7G.

The summer of 2009 saw Eyedea & Abilities joining the touring hip hop festival Rock the Bells for a limited number of dates, performing alongside such acts as Sage Francis, Evidence, M.O.P. and the Knux. E&A also performed at the first Rock the Bells concert in 2004, infamous for being Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s last performance with the Wu-Tang Clan.

In 2011, an EP of 4 of Eyedea’s freestyles, previously released in 2010 but only sold at live shows, were made available for ‘pay what you want’ download. Guitar Party a group consisting of vocalist (and first grader) Mijah Ylvisaker, drummer J.T. Bates (Face Candy, Carbon Carousel, The Pines) and guitarists Jeremy Ylvisaker (Carbon Carousel, Alpha Consumer, Andrew Bird, The Cloak Ox), Jake Hanson (Halloween, Alaska), Andrew Broder (Fog, The Cloak Ox) and Micheal Larsen (Eyedea & Abilities, Carbon Carousel, Face Candy) released a recording of the only live show they had managed to play before Eyedea’s death called ‘Birthday [I feel Triangular]’ .The second Face Candy album was released on May 24, 2011 on Rhymesayers. This album was recorded in two days at the Winterland studios and one night in front of an audience at St. Paul’s Black Dog Cafe.

Death

Eyedea died in his sleep on October 16, 2010. He was found dead by his mother, according to a friend. Cause of death was released November 18, 2010 and ruled an accident, from “opiate toxicity,” according to the Ramsey County medical examiner’s office.

The specific drugs found in Larsen’s system have not been revealed to the public. The day after her son’s death, Larsen’s mother, Kathy Averill, said Eyedea did not suffer from any addictions.

Discography

  • First Born (2001) (with DJ Abilities, as Eyedea & Abilities)
  • The Many Faces of Oliver Hart, or: How Eye One the Write Too Think (2002) (as Oliver Hart)
  • E&A (2004) (Eyedea & Abilities)
  • This Is Where We Were (2006) (with Face Candy)
  • By the Throat (2009) (Eyedea & Abilities)
  • Waste Age Teenland (2011) (Face Candy)
  • Grand’s Sixth Sense (2011) (with DJ Abilities, as Sixth Sense, recorded in the 1990s)
  • The Many Faces of Mikey (2015)
  • The Whereabouts of Hidden Bridges (2000) (with Oddjobs)
  • The Some of All Things, or: The Healing Power of Scab Picking (2006) (with Carbon Carousel)
  • Duluth Is the Truth (2009)
  • When in Rome, Kill the King (2010) (as Micheal Larsen)
  • Freestyles (2010)

Mixtapes

  • E&A Road Mix (2003) (Eyedea & Abilities)

Live albums

  • Birthday (I Feel Triangular) (2011) (with Guitar Party)

Singles

  • “Pushing Buttons” 12″ (2000) (Eyedea & Abilities)
  • “Blindly Firing” 12″ (2001) (Eyedea & Abilities)
  • “Now / E&A Day” 12″ (2004) (Eyedea & Abilities)
  • “Carbon Carousel Single Series #1” (2007) (Carbon Carousel)
  • “Nervous” (2007) (Carbon Carousel)

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