One of indie rap’s funniest and most incisive artists discusses his career, collaborators, Chicago and LA rap history, and much more.
Open Mike Eagle is one of the hardest working men in rap. In addition to making music, he does everything from podcasts (Secret Skin, Tights and Fights) to co-hosting a live comedy show (The New Negroes, with comedian Baron Vaughn). After growing up on Chicago’s South Side and attending college at Southern Illinois University, Mike moved to Los Angeles and became immersed in the city’s burgeoning indie-rap scene. He spent countless hours freestyling at the famed open-mic nights known as Project Blowed, and, along with fellow Blowedians Dumbfoundead and Psychosiz, formed the rap trio Thirsty Fish. Since 2010’s Unapologetic Art Rap, Mike has released one solo project after another, each improving upon his singular combination of left-field forward-thinking production, keen social insight, poignant personal revelation and hilarious absurdity. 2014’s Dark Comedy, which graced top spots on many year-end music lists, remains a standout in his catalog, a tragicomic tableau that tackles everything from race to social media addiction. Open Mike Eagle is one of the few in rap, indie or otherwise, capable of making the pain so cathartic and enjoyable.
Remember that time that Eminem and Rhymefest sparred in a rap battle – and Rhymefest won?
Listen to hip-hop trio Thirsty Fish’s 2011 aquatic-themed Watergate in full.
Comedy Central will air the first season of Open Mike Eagle & Baron Vaughn’s The New Negroes, adapting the live show for the screen. Mike’s no stranger to television gigs: He made an appearance on the Eric Andre Show in 2016.