So I know it is a Friday and I usually try to post more upbeat, “party” jams. However, I’ve been listening to a lot of Eyedea lately and just thinking about the artist who I admired so much and passed away this past fall. I really hope in 10, 20, 30 years from now, Eyedea’s genius will have been discovered by everyone. Not knowing the man himself, all I can speak to is what I think his music means to the hip hop community.
Yesterday, I had the unsavory task of telling a rapper that I wouldn’t be able to promote his music because it is too commercial — that it wouldn’t do well on college and indie radio. And as I tried to explain to him the difference between commercial and underground hip hop, it really came to me that underground rap is really only underground because it *typically* tries new things that aren’t accepted by casual listeners. This rapper asked me what I thought he should do to appeal to the underground audience and why commercial rap is no longer viable. I pretty much ended up telling him he shouldn’t TRY to appeal to anyone and to try not to ever emulate any other hip hop artists. It seems that what makes most artists interesting is their uniqueness. And yeah, a lot of these artists fail because they aren’t understood by the audience. But then they grow and are honest. Enough of that and you are bound to attract a following.
I think that is what Eyedea is for hip hop. He talked about things other rappers would never touch, the beats he and Abilities (the beatsmith) used were sometimes really different, even bizarre at times. I mean, I don’t like some of his music still but it keeps me coming back and I keep trying to understand it. Eyedea was the quintessential artist in a genre of music that, in my humble opinion, has very few true artists (going by the definition in the above paragraph).
The video below is a montage of the Eyedea tribute concert a month or two after his death. The song in the video is also an Eyedea song and I find it really beautiful. Check it.