Most people know Open Mike Eagle as a funny guy. The rapper/comedian is good friends with Hannibal Buress, has guested on The Eric Andre Show, titled his last solo album Dark Comedy, and has a stand up/musical series, The New Negroes, set to debut on Comedy Central later this year. But as suggested by the title of his last album, it’s not all fun and games for the Chicago-born, Los Angeles-based Eagle, who has mastered the art of embodying both muses of ancient Greek drama: Thalia (comedy) and Melpomene (tragedy).
His upcoming album, Brick Body Kids Still Daydream, seems like it’ll come out decidedly on Team Melpomene. Due out this Friday, September 15th, the twelve-track offering is based on Eagle’s experience growing up in the Robert Taylor Homes, a now-demolished housing project located on Chicago’s South Side. Similarly to the more nationally-recognized Cabrini-Green Homes, which were located closer to downtown Chicago, the Robert Taylor Homes were bulldozed within the past decade as part of the city’s initiative to shift low-income housing from high-rises to mixed-income low-rises. Having observed the negative impact of this on his family and others, Eagle now “brings the Robert Taylor Homes back to life--literally, with arms and eyes and a head like the dome of a stadium--and fights until the last brick is made to crumble,” according to a press release.
In keeping with the two previously-released tracks from BBKSD, “Brick Body Complex” and “95 Radios,” the latest blends comic book-inspired fantasy with crushing realism. “Legendary Iron Hood” has Eagle “running through walls, ‘cause [he’s] tougher than most,” but then bringing us back down to reality with lines like, “You think it's all good, but it's really a gradient.” The song chronicles the life of a kid who protects himself with an intriguing blend of realism and superpowers, who wears an “iron hood” and runs with the Gangster Disciples for protection, but has had to lock his “old self” away to adapt to this cold world. This is some real-ass magical realism.
Check out the three pre-release Brick Body Kids Still Daydream tracks and preorder the album on Open Mike Eagle’s Bandcamp page.