Open Mike Eagle – Dark Comedy


If Open Mike Eagle’s self-coined “art rap” designation means anything, it’s that the same reflexive musing and deprecatory tone which often typifies stand-up comedy can also apply to hip hop music. Dark Comedy is the 33-year-old’s fourth full-length album and first in a three-record deal with Mello Music Group that sees him continue a streak of successful releases dating back to 2010’s Unapologetic Art Rap. Mike is a central member of LA’s strong independent rap scene (think Busdriver and Nocando) and, like his contemporaries, blends conventional hip hop elements with topical subject matter and idiosyncratic delivery. Opener “Dark Comedy Morning Show” is a mission statement and manifesto all in one. Lamentations about the modern condition, internet “privacy” and the digital age rarely hit home so effectively: “Cause Google knows what’s in my cabinet/And Facebook logs all of my favourite sandwiches/And what they need the damn data for/To analyze the shit they’d need a whole ‘nother labour force.” Mike’s rapping purposefully avoids fever pitch, but his deliberate tonal fluctuations and discreet melodies invite listeners to pay careful attention to what’s being said. The effect couples nicely with high production value from eleven different beat makers, and the heavy bass lines and swelling electronic effects provide a balance to more traditional sampling and cutting. Despite features from popular comedian Hannibal Buress (who supplies a hilarious verse on “Doug Stamper (Advice Raps)”) and Kool A.D. (formerly of Das Racist), Dark Comedy sounds and feels like a bold individual statement. It’s cleverly written, intelligently relevant and also one of the best hip hop albums of 2014. (Mello Music Group, Harrison Samphir

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *