Zondag werd plots bekend dat Micheal 'Eyedea' Larsen op slechts 28-jarige leeftijd was overleden. De rapper was een begenadigd freestyler en verwierf faam in de underground met DJ Abilities. Oud HIJS journalist Bora schreef in het Engels een persoonlijke ode aan de rapper.
I met Eyedea for the first time in the summer of 2004 in Amsterdam. I was 20 years old. He was 23. I was an aspiring music journalist. He was already touring the world. It also happened to be the first assignment of my journalistic career.
I could not have wished for a more false start. The interview was scheduled to last 20 minutes but after a good hour we were still talking. Even though he was obviously worn out, hungry, and had not showered for a few days, he put in more energy and enthusiasm into that interview than the countless number of interviews I have done over the years. All of this was happening during his lunch break. The interview manuscript to be found on this website, which was done by others, does not serve the day well. I still hope to find the MiniDisc to relive that day.
I will not pretend that I knew Eyedea personally or that we were close. To get a sense of what he meant to people closer to him, I recommend you read the Sage Francis forum. What I can illustrate is the importance of Eyedea’s music and how big of a loss his passing away is for every underground ‘head’. What Eyedea and DJ Abilities were doing (especially in 2004) was unmatched. Still to this day. No other underground rap performers have been able to put elements of Jazz into their live show like these two. I am not talking about a horn sample here or a sax cut there. I am talking about completely living in the moment and accentuating your skills to create something only a handful of people can do on this planet. The near-perfect combination of turntablism with freestyle vocals, linking an energy so real that it makes you wish the show would never end. Believe me when I say that I am not exaggerating.
There are people who believe that Eyedea ‘perfected’ the art of rap. I am one of them. When it comes to pure vocal skills on record or the ability to truly freestyle, Eyedea’s understanding and combination of rhythm, word play, and sense of humor were unparalleled. His more recent projects such as Face Candy and Carbon Carroussel did not garner the critical acclaim he received for his past work. We will only know in a few years if these projects were ahead of their time. Eyedea’s death also stirred ‘strange’ emotions inside of the ‘twenties’ crowd. Having recently lost a grandmother myself, my two feelings for these two deaths were very different from each other. News of old people’s deaths is expected. The death of 28-year-old rappers is not. Especially of ones who inspired on so many different levels. At the risk of sounding corny, I want to make this statement: a piece of all of us died on October 17, 2010. Eyedea represented exactly what the music industry needed: freshness, a sense of self, and boundless creativity.
In 2007 I spent three months in Prague after finishing University, living completely by myself in a house without a television, computer, or any other time-wasting piece of technology. One of those ‘find yourself’ type of things. An entry from my diary from those days states: “The fireplace is on, it’s cold outside, and I’m in here by myself writing in my journal while Eyedea and Abilities are pumping into my earphones. Does it get any better than this?”
Update Ook Rhymesayers, het label van Eyedea, heeft de rapper herdacht in een artikel. Onder meer zijn moeder, Slug, DJ Abilities, Brother Ali, Murs en Evidence komen aan het woord. Klik hier om Remembering Michael ‘Eyedea’ Larsen te lezen.
Foto door http://rhymesayers.com