Today in Hip Hop History: October 16, 2010
This day five years ago, Michael Larsen, also known as Eyedea, died in his sleep due to opiate toxicity. The young MC, poet and freestyle battler was only 28 years old at the time of his death.
The Minnesota-based MC appeared under the solo pseudonym Oliver Hart alongside being one half of the hip hop duo Eyedea & Abilities. He was originally signed by his mentor Slug (of Atmosphere) under Rhymesayers Entertainment, but went on to create his own record label titled Crushkill Recordings.
Eyedea gained popularity among the hip hop scene through his come up doing battle raps. The below televised Blaze Battle, sponsored by HBO, launched the young MC into battle rap stardom almost overnight.
Eyedea participated in numerous rap battles during his time, winning against notable opponents Immmortal Technique, Brother Ali, Optimus Prime and Shells. Additionally, he won the Scribble Jam tournament in 1999, the Rocksteady Anniversary tournament in 2000 and the above HBO Blaze Battle tournament in 2000.
Alongisde his unquestionable freestyle and battle rap success, Eyedea & Abilities released their debut album, First Born, in 2001. The album featured the song “Big Shots,” which later appeared on Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4. Michael also collaborated with the MC super group The Orphanage, his rap/jazz group Face Candy, Carbon Carousel, and several other notable independent/underground MCs in his rap career.
Eyedea & Abilities performed at the very first Rock the Bells hip hop festival in 2004, which was infamous for being Ol’ Dirty Bastard‘s final performance with the Wu before his untimely death.
The sad story of Eyedea’s passing five years ago beckons the question of what the immensely talented MC could have done had he lived. As one of the best freestyle rap battlers and profound poets in hip hop history, Eyedea will forever be remembered. R.EYE.P. Michael “Eyedea” Larsen (1981-2010).