My man Eyedea was an artist in every sense of the word. I still remember being a part of the Hip Hop Union at Roseville Area High School. Me and Snakebird ran into Eyedea then, and were very well aware of the genius he’d become. Every now and then we’d run into each other and just talk about those times back in the day. It wasn’t until Spring Jam ’98 at the U of M when I’d see him again, and more and more he was becoming a true genius. Every freestyle was with clarity and self-awareness, and his uncanny rhyming ability definitely made his rise continuous. I still remember stories when me and Mike Lover started hosting The Beat Box on Radio K, Eyedea would come on to freestyle and would just blow us away each and everytime. He was definitely one of the best talents the Twin Cities have come to know. I still remember going to Mike Lover’s house after a night class once he told me that he recorded the Blaze Battle, which Eyedea won, and staying at his house until 10:30pm avoiding calls from my parents while I sat and rooted all the way for Eyedea, as he delivered his lines standing tall and making us all in the local scene proud.
After my travails in radio, and starting up Background Noise, we were honored to be graced by Eyedea twice. Phingaz was working with him on Carbon Carousel, and was beyond elated when he contributed a verse to “Dead Wallets” off Sinthesis’ Movement 4:6 album. I still remember the moment myself, Phingaz and T.Q.D were all sitting in my car listening to “Dead Wallets” and being blown away by Eyedea’s verse. Little did we know that kindness would return when Eyedea gave his blessing to Phingaz to cover “Here For You” from Oliver Hart’s How Eye One The Write Too Think for Everybody Does This, Vol. 1. Just recently I included his song, “Coaches” featuring Carnage for my Definitive Minnesota Playlist for Reviler. The freestyle prior to the song was still the main reason why I included such a tune on my list.
While I am devastated and saddened about the loss, and grieving for his family and friends who knew him so closely, I want to be selfish enough to say that I wish he was still here. I continue to be in sadness, disbelief and shock that we lost such a wonderful and amazing person, a person who pulled me and many others to the side to catch up and see how things were going. As I sit here, blasting my vinyl of the “Pushing Buttons” 12″, I recall the greatness and amazing person that Eyedea was. He was one of the most kindest and down to earth people I ever knew in the local scene and was part of my inspiration (along with the rest of Rhymesayers) to pursue my dreams of doing radio and hip-hop. Michael “Eyedea” Larsen, may you rest in peace. You might not be here in the physical sense, but you are still with us, in every waking moment. Especially when you recited the following from “Hay Fever,” which I would say is fitting:
”Winter takes the warm away, spring takes the cold away, summer takes the rain away and fall took away my friend.”
Thank you Eyedea, for everything.