Review Summary: “I’m pretty sure I self-deprecate for your benefit.”
Over the past couple of years, rap collective and label out of Los Angeles Hellfyre Club, founded by rapper and producer Nocando, have been gaining steady momentum. Members of Hellfyre Club include abstract spoken word rapper milo and genre bending hip-hop scientist Busdriver. Open Mike Eagle has emerged as one of Hellfyre Club’s strongest members with his witty word play and clever name dropping. In the albums proceeding Dark Comedy, Open Mike has been no stranger to experimentation in his music. 2011’s Rappers Will Die of Natural Causes
and 2012’s 4NML HSPTL
featured many “broken” sounding instrumentals giving his music a lingering dark atmosphere, even when the lyrical content isn’t such. Dark Comedy
comes off similar to Open Mike’s previous efforts, but sharper which makes this album one of the better rap projects of 2014.
opens with the title track “Dark Comedy Morning Show,” featuring vocals from experimental R&B artist Toy Light. This song exemplifies Open Mike’s rapping style. “For those who haven’t heard of me / I’m as bad as sarcasm so I work in absurdity” and ”Cause Google knows what’s in my cabinets / And Facebook logs all of my favorite sandwiches / And what they need the damn data for / To analyze the *** they’d need a whole ‘nother labor force” are just some of the satirical and intelligent rhymes the listener will come across in this song and throughout the album. The instrumental on the track is atmospheric and optimizes Open Mike’s delivery. “Thirsty Ego Raps” is another song jam packed with amusing lyrics like how Open Mike wants to dress like jazz artist Sun Ra and claiming that he is the president of rappers that don’t approve of date rape, in response to the infamous Rick Ross verse on “U.O.E.N.O.” Easily one of the funniest songs off Dark Comedy
, “Doug Stamper (Advice Raps)” has Open Mike spitting joke after joke and also has an impressive guest verse from comedian Hannibal Burress. Burress on the song hilariously calls out LeBron James for using Human Growth Hormones and people who pay for porn websites, amongst others.
The second track on Dark Comedy
, “Qualifiers,” has Open Mike singing and is definitely one of the brighter songs on the album. His singing at first may seem hit and miss and does take some getting used to, but the lyricism makes up for when the singing does fall short and adds a catchier quality to some of the songs, such as “Very Much Money (Ice King Dream).”
The production on Dark Comedy
does take characteristics from previous Open Mike records, but refines them into a more complete product. The beats on this album have some of the best instrumentals I’ve heard Open Mike go over, like “A History of Modern Dance” and “Big Pretty Bridges (3 Days off in Albuquerque).” They stay true to his sound, but fit comfortably with his rapping style.
Some of the tracks do lack execution, especially towards the second half of the record. Songs like “Jon Lovitz (Fantasy Booking Yarn)” and “Deathmate Black” sound a little too similar to the rest of Dark Comedy
for me to enjoy them to their fullest, but these tracks are still very listenable.
shows Open Mike Eagle at his best, at least so far in his young career. His personality and presence at the microphone is extremely entertaining. This album possesses a good amount of substance lyrically and production wise and warrants multiple listens. Every time this record gets a spin the listener is bound to pick up something new, whether that be a clever quotable or an interesting beat even if the music does lose some steam when listening front to back. With this album, Open Mike Eagle has cemented himself as one of the most valuable players in the Hellfyre camp.