Chicago-born, LA-based Open rapper Mike Eagle is a seemingly endless source of hilarious one-liners, and he delivers as always on his latest album, Component system with automatic inversion (on his own Auto Reverse label). You must be careful drinking anything while listening to it, lest an uncomfortable snorkel ensue when the rapper comes to the best lines from “Peak Lockdown Raps”: “I received a code from discount for therapy / I pressed go and got Rickrolled, apparently / It was a big hit But funny as it is, fans don’t just listen to the laffs Inspired by the likes of De La Soul and They Might Be Giants, Mike writes goofy gags that float and sway and bind together in startlingly thoughtful musings about aging, mental illness, disappointment and hope. ‘he chews syllables at a rapid pace, like he’s a stoned nerd who almost has to apologize for popping whatever pops into his head. On “79th and Stony Island,” he starts daydreaming about watching the Kanye West documentary Jeen Yuhs, goes on to happily explain that he has “memories like flesh wounds”, and ends by listening to his son laugh. Throughout the album, Mike weaves his thoughts on COVID, racism and our grim political landscape in and out of pop culture references and nonsense – which he uses less as distractions than as ways to hold his humanity tight. threatened. “It will be endless, I will fight you every day,” Mike croons on the hook of “I will fight you”. It’s a joke, but he means it too.
Open Mike Eagle’s A strip called component system with automatic inversion is available through Bandcamp.