The death of Micheal Larsen, aka Minneapolis rapper/singer Eyedea, was announced earlier this morning via a Facebook post by his mother, Kathy Averill. He was 28. The cause of his death remains unknown as of my writing this, but Averill later wrote the following on a Facebook event page for a memorial fund-raiser in his name:
It is with great pain and sadness that I tell you my son Mikey (Eyedea) has passed away.
At this time we kindly request your respect and our privacy as we process this devastating loss.
You can learn more about the memorial by going to the Facebook event page.
Larsen’s career began blossoming in the late ’90s and early 2000s thanks to a series of epic freestyle battle wins and a heavily conceptual rapping style. He took home top honors in the 1999 Scribble Jam and a year later defeated all opponents at the Rock Steady and Battle Blaze Chicago events. During those years he was also honing his writing skills, which he showcased on several underground classics with frequent collaborator DJ Abilities under the moniker Eyedea & Abilities.
Together they would record three progressively different, intensely lyrical albums for Twin Cities underground label Rhymesayers from 2001 through 2009. Their last project, the rock-oriented By The Throat, was built on layers of distorted guitars and live drumming. This change in sound was likely rooted in Larsen’s work with his band, Face Candy. He also released a solo album under the name Oliver Hart in 2001 called The Many Faces of Oliver Hart.
Above you can stream a personal favorite of mine, “On This I Stand,” off Eyedea and Abilities’ gritty, lo-fi debut, First Born. And below that is Larsen’s performance on the Wake Up Show in 2002 with close friend Slug, of Atmosphere.