9 November 1981
17 October 2010 (aged 28)
Eyedea (born Micheal Larsen on November 9, 1981 – October 16, 2010) was a well-known freestyle battle champion and underground hip-hop emcee. His notable wins include the televised Blaze Battle sponsored by HBO (2000) and a victory at Scribble Jam (1999).
He had appeared as a solo artist and as the emcee half of the duo Eyedea & Abilities (along with long-time friend and collaborator DJ Abilities). His non-battle rhymes were generally very philosophically or thematically based, and often tell a definite narrative. His song "Bottle Dreams" is a well known piece about a young sexually abused violin prodigy who commits suicide.
For much of his youth, Eyedea lived with his mother in downtown St. Paul, MN. He attended Highland Park High School, with interests including psychology, physics, and yoga. Favorite authors include James Joyce, and Finnegan's Wake is a favourite text of his.
First establishing himself as battle emcee, Eyedea toured the circuit between 1997 and 2001, notably winning top prizes at Scribble Jam ‘99, the Rock Steady Anniversary 2000, and Blaze Battle Chicago 2000. He also toured extensively as second emcee for Atmosphere, with DJ Abilities sometimes filling in for Mr. Dibbs as tour DJ.
In 2001, he released "First Born" with his partner DJ Abilities (collectively, they were initially called the Sixth Sense, but more recently were known as Eyedea and Abilities). In 2002, under his pen name "Oliver Hart," he released the self-produced The Many Faces of Oliver Hart. In 2004, he and Abilities reunited to release the self-titled E&A (released March 23, 2004). All of Eyedea's releases have been on the Rhymesayers record label.
In addition to touring independently and with Rhymesayers labelmates, Eyedea and Abilities participated in the Def Jux-sponsored Who Killed the Robots? tour.
In 2006, Eyedea temporarily abandoned hip-hop writing and battle rapping for a new rock music project entitled Carbon Carousel.
As well as performing with Carbon Carousel, Eyedea and others had started a group called Face Candy. They released an album full of freestyles over free jazz percussion entitled This Is Where We Were.
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