Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Open Mike Eagle [extended]

  • Unapologetic Art Rap [Mush, 2010] **
  • Dark Comedy [Fat Beats, 2014] **
  • Hella Personal Film Festival [Mello Music, 2016] B+
  • Brick Body Kids Still Daydream [Mello Music, 2017] A-
  • What Happens When I Try to Relax [Auto Reverse, 2018] A-

See Also:

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Unapologetic Art Rap [Mush, 2010]
"Ain't no party like an art rap party 'cause an art rap party's so smart" ("Helicopter," "Mole in Your Ministry," "WTF Is Art Rap?") **

Dark Comedy [Fat Beats, 2014]
Beatwise enough to prop up his unpretentious absurdity-trumps-sarcasm, but not to put it across ("Informations," "Dark Comedy Morning Show") **

Open Mike Eagle + Paul White: Hella Personal Film Festival [Mello Music, 2016]
Alt-rapper Eagle dominates this meeting of the oddballs, as vocalist-lyricists will. But it's the rockish samples of outlying London beatmaker White that define it, because their blatant indifference to hip-hop or EDM align Eagle with talky singer-songwriters like Jeffrey Lewis and Charlie King as much as with Kool A.D. or Serengeti. "All my heroes is singers that can't sing," he ventures amid thoughts on cellphone dependence, barstool codependency, Obama flying by in a drone, and the skin he's in. So figure he already knows that the most powerful sonic here is a snatch of Lenny Bruce. That man had a sound. B+

Brick Body Kids Still Daydream [Mello Music, 2017]
The meek shall inherit the rubble of the Robert Taylor Homes, demolished because drugs even though most of the 27,000 who resided in a development designed for 11,000 were ordinary Chicagoans surviving as best they could. So this rap nerd who rhymes this band he likes called the Kinks with a refrigerator that don't stink makes up songs for these Chicagoans. In one he's a superhero he thought up himself who protects his neck with magic jewels; in another he celebrates a holiday he thought up himself by extinguishing garbage fires; in yet another he's so brave he had an asthma attack last bar and you didn't even notice. Hey, he's even got a They Might Be Giants beat. Why would any bedroom music fan deny him? A-

What Happens When I Try to Relax [Auto Reverse, 2018]
On six tracks overseen by five producers, the deepest music is built into the sayings of a guy conversant in the same ballplayers, wrestlers, videogames, and alt-rock you are. "When I get nervous I say something relatable." "I hate when I'm late because I try to be punctual." "Everything ain't great but I can do worse/Cause I can go to the dentist when my tooth hurt." "Everybody I know got a stomachache." "My lady ask am I good, I said hell naw." "The economy killed the rhyme star." "Sign an autograph and sell it to your own self." "And I'm so political, hella political." "A generation's been cursed, what that trauma do?" "How it both sides? We ain't both dyin." "Tryna reach black kids in a room full of whites." A-