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Open Mike Eagle at Into the Night: Summer SOULstice @ the Skirball 7/8/16. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13)

Opening for Gavin Turek at the Skirball Cultural Center’s Into the Night: Summer SOULstice concert was Chicago born, but Los Angeles based, rapper Michael Eagle II p/k/a “Open Mike Eagle”.

Known for his clever lyrics and wry sense of humor, Open Mike Eagle is a rapper who has earned his stripes in the underground hip-hop scene. A very prominent member of the hip-hop collective Project Blowed, he is perhaps one of the most “slept-on” rappers of this era, which is a shame because people need to hear his music.

The sonics of his music is as intricate and brilliant as anything that’s out there, and his lyrics are those which, unlike most of the stuff you hear on the radio, could easily be typed out in book form and published as poetry. But maybe that’s what keeps radio stations, and critics, from giving his music its due props. Perhaps it’s music that’s too sophisticated for the ADD generation.

Armed with only his drum machine and his laptop, Open Mike Eagle’s performance all about listening. Before most of his songs, he would preface it with a little background. He wants you to know what the music is about before he performs it so you can decipher and comprehend, on your own level, the rhymes that he spits. For example, before he performed “Check 2 Check” he advised the audience that it was a song about the modern generations’ reliance on cell phones. I’ll guarantee you that had he not mentioned what the song was about, it’s meaning would have been lost on half the crowd.

But for those who were there to just enjoy the vibe, and maybe not take in the social critiques and messages that Open Mike Eagle was preaching, he did have one of the best hype men on stage during most of his performance: his son, Asa.

Asa almost stole the show, vibing with his father, dancing with the kind of reckless freedom that only a child can express. As a reward for keeping the audience on its toes, Open Mike Eagle gave his son the honor of picking his last song to perform. It was “Degrassi Picture Day”, a breezy song about school picture day.

“And I know they better not misspell my name homie
My momma probably thinkin’ what the frame gon’ be
My daddy better put me on his wall.”

Pretty appropriate if you ask me.

Follow Open Mike Eagle on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


The Skirball Cultural Centert has a series of FREE concerts this summer every Thursday from July 21 through August 25th. CLICK HERE to check out ther musical offerings this Summer!

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