Fuck, I love rap. And I mean real shit not bitches, booze, bangers, boots, boody, ballers, beads, and bank. That shit’s easy. Shit like this? It’s personal, groovy, and goddamn smart. Why not listen to music that makes you smarter? You’d rather listen to music that makes you dumb? Why? What choice is that? Sure, I get it. It may not be “fun” to read lyrics, or to keep pressing pause when you’re listening to an album. But, fuck, man. There’s nothing like listening to an album through and knowing that you finally got it. That you understood it. And what’s more, that you’re not only smarter but a better person for it.
Anyway. Open Mike Eagle. This guy is fucking good. He was in a rap group called Thirsty Fish, then another group called Swim Team, then in 2010 he went solo. He raps smart, like really smart. His lyrics are as thick and as sharp as fibreglass mixed into mayonnaise in wintertime. Think Aesop Rock, they even work (ed) together. You’re going to want to take time with this one.
Things that help you understand the album
- 2007. Projects in South Chicago, Bronzeville, were called Robert Taylor Homes. OME (Open Mike Eagle) lived here. So did Mr. T actually. They were torn down in 2007 and thousands of families were displaced. One third of those families are still unaccounted for.
- A knowledge of X-Men. OME makes up a superhero in this album called Iron Hood. He bases his character on Juggernaut from the X-Men (strong body, but weak in mind so wears a helmet to protect himself from his brother Charles Xavier). OME’s character has a building for a body.
- OME does not like Trump … like at all.
So, my thoughts. The character of Iron Hood is fucking incredible. It not only brings depth to the character already in X-Men, but also explains the mentality of people who grow up in the projects: Keep your head down and keep walking. Act tough. Stay quiet. And if you gotta hide yourself, throw up that hoodie and then you’ll be all alone to suffer with your thoughts.
OME desperately wants to express what it’s like for children that grew up in the projects. Obviously, cause of the title, he wants people to know that brick body kids still daydream and that they’re still human. It’s by far his most personal album and it’s dope as hell. The beats are tremendous, the groove is spectacular. But, most of all, the story and the message behind are so fucking well done. Take your time, hell, listen with a notepad in hand and with your finger on the pause button. Like I’ve said before, this shit is the poetry of our day. So why not come listen to what the poet’s got to say.