Eyedea vs. The World

The Smartest MC in the Room.  Dead at age 28.

Eyedea – Thanks for helping me with my shows when I was very young, with no thought of how you would benefit from it.  We didn’t always agree on everything but I appreciate what you did for St. Paul and respect your talent.    –    Larry Lucio, Jr. of Amplified Life

UPDATE #1:  Chris Riemenschneider of the Star Tribune wrote about Eyedea’s death.

UPDATE #2:  Star Tribune did this follow up, “No Answers Yet in Death of Eyedea“)

UPDATE #3:  The national media is covering the story, as they should, so here are some links…

UPDATE #4:  Ramsey County Coroner: Eyedea’s Cause of Death established… “opiate toxicity” / drug overdose (opiates are drugs like heroin, oxycontin, percocet, vicodin, Tylenol 3, things like that etc.)

Back in 2000 when Eyedea competed in the Blaze Battle, I didn’t have HBO, so I needed to find a way to see it when it aired.  Everybody in the Twin Cities already knew that he won, but due to the taping & TV production schedule, the TV battle aired long after the actual battle itself was over.  I ended up driving to my aunt’s house on the West Side and sitting in the dark in her kitchen.  She let me watch the battle while she slept upstairs and just told me to lock up when I left.  My aunt went to bed early so I had to sit there & be quiet the whole time.  Which was difficult because Eyedea was destroying these kids in the battle.

*NSFW:  Check out this video clip from the Blaze Battle broadcast on HBO.  The line that starts at 2:27 contains my favorite battle rap.  Why?  The thing to observe here is Eyedea’s IMPECCABLE TIMING.  Try to understand just how fast this man’s synapses had to be firing for him to catch the other MC with the line about being his “backup dancer”.  Why?  Because after he said “rap enhancer”, he immediately (using his PERIPHERAL VISION no less) turned his opponents movement in to a punchline.  Anyone who knows anything about true freestyle rapping has to respect that.  He came up with that… RIGHT THEREON THE SPOT, and IN THE MOMENT.  Go ahead.  You try it.  Say nothing but rhymes (with the lyrical equivalent of a gun to your head) for 60 seconds straight.  Now do it well enough to beat everyone else on earth.  That’s what Eyedea did.  True Hip Hop genius.

Eyedea ended up winning the Blaze Battle and shouted out the Twin Cities at the end.

Eyedea by B-Fresh Photography

The first time I met him, we were at the Artists Quarter and some people were talking about my father.  He (my father) had recently been receiving large amounts of media coverage for his political battle with the St. Paul Public School District.  Although my father’s situation was a well known story to the adults in my circle, it threw me off when I realized anyone my age knew about it too.  Someone introduced me to Eyedea and the first thing that he said  was, “Is that your Dad?  The principal of Humboldt?  That’s pretty cool.”   I told him that it was, and I asked him how he knew about it.  He simply smiled and said, “Uh, because I read the newspaper.”

Eyedea helped me with my 1st self-promoted event by being the special "celebrity" guest host

I won’t front, I couldn’t tell if he was being a smart ass or not (he probably was), but we exchanged numbers and he ended up hosting the first event that I ever promoted on my own.  I told him that I had an idea to throw a show where the main draw would be a special guest host that wouldn’t be announced until the day of the show.  He was down with my concept and agreed to be that host.  He didn’t ask for any money, he just said he was happy to get a chance to do some Hip Hop & Spoken Word at the Artists Quarter and thanked me for including him.

Eyedea was THE BEST battle MC I have ever seen.  I was there in person when he won Scribble Jam and beat Brother Ali in a preliminary round by pointing out that Ali was always begging him to practice with him.  That was cool.  I don’t remember a single other line from that entire Scribble Jam but… Eyedea was just that good.

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