About two years ago I went to my first NYC concert which was a gathering of Emcees that were gathered together by Homeboy Sandman. It was like watching different members of the Avengers assemble and hit the stage. But then everything changed when the Open Mike Eagle attacked the mic. With verses loaded with pop culture references, social commentary, and limber lyrical finesse that had folks lined up at the merch table saying “Shut up and take my money”. Based in Cali by way of Chicago and has a multitude of songs and albums, the latest of which is named “Dark Comedy“, Open Mike Eagle is just as hilarious off stage as he is on social media as well as insightful on current events. With these numerous factors and accolades it was a given that we had to have this emcee on the site for a Carcosa Interview.
Black Nerd Problems: Mike I wanna thank you for doing this interview. I knew you were down for the cause when I first heard you music then proceeded to raid iTunes for it (The non ski mask way). I’ma jump right into it and ask for the origin story. Did you consider yourself a nerd in your youth, if so at what point did you realize it?
Open Mike Eagle: Yeah I had zero social skills and was very sheltered. I lived in a high rise building that was mostly full of old people so there weren’t a ton of kids to commune with. I spent a lot of time playing Nintendo and watching cable television shows for adults. also my grandmother that raised me worked at K-Mart so 100% of my clothes were from there. My nerd recipe was quite sound.
BNP: You dropped a Naruto reference (shout out to the Hidden Leaf) on your track “Password”, so I gotta ask whose you a huge fan or do you keep up with other mangas / animes?
OME: Gotta say, I’m not the biggest Naruto guy. I’ve seen a few episodes but I’ve yet to start with episode 1 and dive in properly. We can talk about Bleach tho, or Fullmetal Alchemist or Death Note or Attack On Titan or Stein’s Gate. I’m getting down with Kill La Kill finally now. I’m trying to be about that three star uniform life.
BNP: In your song “Qualifiers” you say the line “I’m far too young to lead And way to old to die //I ain’t played Call of Duty, smoke you in Golden Eye//RPG, roll the die//JPG Kobe Tai//PG 13 Cobra Kai//PPG Luc Robitaille” IMO this is the perfect synopsis up the golden era of the gaming late 90’s and early 2000’s, Board Games, and the internet while paying homage to the 80’s. Can you talk about how you were able to come up with the verse and How did these vastly different eras influence you and your art… also your thoughts on Perfect Dark (Golden Eye’s unofficial successor)
OME: I actually played a lot more Perfect Dark than any bond game. I spent a lot of time in college strafing while holding two pistols at once while songs I downloaded from soulseek played in the background. And its interesting that you ask how I constructed it because it wasn’t that I was necessarily trying to consciously invoke images that tied together that way, I just happened upon that rhyme scheme starting with Golden Eye and because I am the age that I am and because I’ve had the experiences that I’ve had, every rhyming thing that I could think of to go with that scheme happened to be this very specific swath of nerddom and I was able to tie them altogether with PGs. I think the one I was most proud of was jpg Kobe Tai cause I really used to have to wait 2 hours to download a jpeg of her with my 2400 bps modem.
BNP: I still pour one out in remembrance of EarthLink. The modem struggle was real. I saw you live tweeting Wrestlemania this year (with no chill in sight)
cena could hit a springboard canadian destroyer and i’d still disapprove
— Open Mike Eagle (@Mike_Eagle) March 30, 2015
OME: ECW changed my life.
Man I’m stuck on that last one. I’m going to go WCW/NWO Revenge. I really want to give a special shout out to NES Pro Wrestling tho because back brain kicks
BNP: Honestly as long as you said Revenge or No Mercy and not Smackdown, you’re clear. Now, I know this next question might be a touchy subject but… what do you have against Hawkeye man? It’s Hawkeye dude! Is it the character or is it Jeremy Renner (cause Renner been fucking uuuuuup), why can’t the dude get your cosign? Also, What non powered hero do you fucks with then?
OME: Yeah, I just never really got the logic of powerless dude trying to hang out in space with irradiated monsters and norse gods. I feel like in every story they have to do something to show his worth just to overcompensate for his obvious uselessness. Also I think he’s great on his own. I love his attitude and tend to enjoy how he’s written, its just very audacious to me that he isn’t murdered immediately by a super villain.
BNP: I wanna touch on your song “Celebrity Reduction Prayer” and how the music video was Spielberg crafted as a reflection of the song’s social commentary on instagram likes, viral videos, vines and how we now make celebs out of everyday people. What brought this song to fruition and how did the vision for the music video come to be?
BNP: Now since you’re the first musician we’ve interviewed for the site, I crafted a special set of questions based off the game “Marry, Fuck, Kill” except I’m going to give you three names and you gotta tell me which of the three you would “Produce, Collab, or Battle” (with short explanation).
MF Doom, Jean Grae, Jenelle Monae.
OME: Well shit. I can’t collab with all of em? And when you say produce you mean I produce for them? I could battle Janelle Monae I think. She strikes me as the type that’s probably secretly good at everything. Like she’s prolly somewhere bowling a perfect game right now. I’mma say collab with doom cause thats very one of my life’s dreams. I love Jean too tho. I’d have to let her produce me tho cause she’s hella good too.
BNP: Expert Level: Taylor Swift, The Bellas (From Pitch Perfect), Kenny G.
OME: Battle Kenny G in whatever arena he chooses. If it was saxophone I’d just hit him with it and raise victorious arms haven’t seen Pitch Perfect but gotta go produce. Maybe that means we all go to a farmers market together, gotta collab with T-Swift. Must absorb some young white girl glow.
BNP: Highlander style. Nice. Alright Mike, thanks again for going through the gauntlet with us on the site and being an upstanding sport about all the random. Where can people check you out in the world and what are some upcoming projects you want folks to be on the look out for?