During the Spring Break that immediately preceded this concert, I was on a downloading binge at my house, because that is pretty much the only place that I can download things relatively quickly. One of these artists was Eyedea, a rapper from Minneapolis. Some of the first tracks I downloaded of his were those from a rapping contest called the Blaze Battle, an annual gathering up in Detriot, and the track that really got me going was a battle of his against Shells, a rapper that was thoroughly dissected by Eyedea. Trying to find out more information about Eyedea, I tried to look up information about him, only finding websites that sold his latest cd â€œThe Life and Times of Oliver Hartâ€, and a host of European companies that incorporated the name â€œEyedeaâ€ into their nomen.
I look through the rhymesayers website, the organization that Eyedea allies himself with, and I see that he is tour with a slew of other rappers. There is even a concert in Indianapolis, but attending that one would be most difficult : it is a 21+ and up show, and last time I checked, the clique of people that I was talking into going with me averaged about 20. Another concert, the night before, is a slight distance away in Urbana, Illinois. The subject is dropped between me and my buddy Nate with the Twoopty for a while, until the night of the Urbana show. The night of the show rolls around, and not wanting to push the issue, I just figure that he will just blow it off. No, not my buddy Nate. He messages me later that night and informs me that Eyedea will do an instore in Indianapolis.
Noticing this turn of good luck, we immediately set up plans to go to Indianapolis, have a dinner there (a nice change of place from the same garbage they serve us at the campus resteraunts) at a cheap Cajun restaurant, and meet up with Nateâ€™s girlfriend and his girlfriendâ€™s friend. We caravan to the shop that Eyedea will be appearing at, being a few minutes late, and we immediate try to figure out what Eyedea looks like. I pick up the lone Eyedea disc at the store, the only purchase of a disc for full price that Iâ€™ve did for years, asking where he is at. Apparently, the whole rhymesayers clique is running a little late, so we look around the store some more.
Finally, about a half-hour after that (we are now talking at about 8 PM), Eyedeaâ€™s clew starts filtering into the store, and a man starts talking to the people in the crowd. At this time, I have no clue who he is, and only through listening to what he has to says I figure out that it is Eyedea. Surprisingly, Eyedea looks a lot like m yformerly racist buddy Shayne, and after learning that the show in Indianapolis was 21+, started harassing a very pale guy (who I would learn to be the albino rapper Brother Ali) to rap. After a few minutes of this banter, they get the store owner to put on a RJD2 disc (my buddy Nate, at hearing this, pretty much died as RJD2 is in his top 20 rappers) . Instructing the sub-21 crowd on how to properly group together in a freestyle circle, Eyedea and his crew (Brother Ali and Musab) begin to freestyle.
Eyedea controlled the flow for the longest period of times, and did not disappoint, his rhymers being fresh and fast, but Brother Ali, who I had never heard before, really blew me away. Each time he started flowing, he mixed tight raps with increasing intensity and vocal levels, creating this swelling among the crowd. Musab, maybe even the youngest in the entire crowd (being only 16 and looking not unlike Murray from Clueless or maybe even a young Lawrence Fishburne), was just there â€“ a part of the experience, but it becomes really hard to divide out specific accomplishments from the experience one gets when watching a freestyle. However, the high point of the night had to be when I was nodded to in the freestyle, as I was wearing this fly-as-fuck plaid jacket. But I digress.
After busting some fresh rhymers for about a half-hour, and only really losing the flow twice, the trio of rappers move behind a table and begin signing and selling things. Realize that I have left my ATM card in another pair of pants, I have to hit up Nate for $20, and I purchase both Brother Ali and Musabâ€™s CD. After waiting in line for like 10 minutes, I actually get a chance to shoot the shit with all three, and I make some very nervous comment about the Blaze Battles in which I was first introduced to Eyedea. Any good independent music store will stock their CDs, or (a better idea) find out when they are coming to your town and buy them directly from them (as they sell them for $10 instead of $16).