|Micheal David Larsen|
|Born||November 9, 1981|
|Origin||Saint Paul, Minnesota, U.S.|
|Died||October 16, 2010 (aged 28)|
|Genres||Hip hop, alternative hip hop, rap rock|
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.
Larsen 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). He was first signed under Slug's independent hip-hop label Rhymesayers Entertainment before founding his own record label Crushkill Recordings.
Eyedea first stepped into the hip-hop scene battling against other emcees at notable freestyle competitions. Notable wins included a victory at Scribble Jam (1999) and the televised Blaze Battle sponsored by HBO (2000), which was hosted by KRS-One. Following the win, he won an impressive portion of money, but was also offered a higher cut if he signed a record contract with hip hop mogul P. Diddy, to which he declined, instead helping build Rhymesayers Entertainment from the ground up.
Notable hip-hop outlets have labeled Eyedea as a freestyle pioneer. 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 grew up near Saint Paul, Minnesota with his mother Kathy Averill, who gave birth to him when she was seventeen years old. He is of Irish and Lebanese descent. He attended Highland Park Senior High School.
Eyedea became known as a battle MC, touring the circuit between 1997 and 2001. During this time, he won top prizes at Scribble Jam '99, the Rock Steady Anniversary 2000, and Blaze Battle New York 2000. These battles included him beating notable artists such as Immortal Technique, P.E.A.C.E and PackFM. In 1999, he made his first national appearance on the Anticon compilation, Music for the Advancement of Hip Hop. He also toured extensively as second MC and support DJ for Atmosphere.
In 2001, he released First Born with his partner DJ Abilities (collectively, they were initially called the Sixth Sense, but later changed the name to Eyedea & Abilities). In 2002, under his pen name "Oliver Hart", he released the self-produced The Many Faces of Oliver Hart, or: How Eye One the Write Too Think. In 2004, he reunited with Abilities to release the self-titled album E&A.
All of Eyedea's releases have been on the Rhymesayers record label, with the exception of the Carbon Carousel EP, which was released on his own Independent music label, Crushkill Recordings. In addition to touring independently and with Rhymesayers labelmates and members of Face Candy, Eyedea & Abilities participated in the Def Jux-sponsored "Who Killed the Robots?" tour, titled by Eyedea.
He 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 the hip hop collective and super group "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.
In 2007, Eyedea created a book of poetry and art with painter Louis N. LaPierre, who is also responsible for Face Candy's 'This Is Where We Were' album art. The book was titled Once A Queen... Always A Creep. Only 80 copies were made.
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.
Eyedea is widely known and praised for his battle rap skills, such as LA Weekly, who listed his 1999 Scribble Jam battle with P.E.A.C.E from Freestyle Fellowship as one of the greatest rap battles of all time. Despite the aggressive nature of MC battling, his music is often described as thoughtful, philosophical, yet still provides a live aesthetic.
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 respiratory depression, caused by opiate derivatives, according to the Ramsey County Medical Examiner's Office. The specific drugs found in Larsen's system have not been revealed to the public.
Fellow hip-hop artist and friend Murs paid homage to Eyedea on his track "I Miss Mikey" on his album Have a Nice Life. Also, the song "Flicker" from the album Southsiders by Atmosphere where Slug describes different sides of Eyedea and their relationship can be called a eulogy. In 2013, The Uncluded, a collaboration between folk punk singer Kimya Dawson and hip hop artist Aesop Rock paid tribute to Eyedea in the song "Bats" from their album Hokey Fright.
|P.E.A.C.E.||Win||won the tournament|
|Immortal Technique||Win||won the tournament|
|HBO Blaze Battle||Ali Vegas||Win|
|Shells||Win||won the tournament|
|2001||Cactus Club||Mic T||None||verdict unknown|
|2004||Scribble Jam||Murs||None||unjudged battle|