Open Mike Eagle - Big Body Brick Kids Still Daydream

Story posted September 20, 2017 in Arts & Entertainment, CommRadio by Zach Hall

Open Mike Eagle has continued to be a pioneer for the abstract rap style and his newest effort is no exception. During his career, each solo outing holds its own vibe and oozes with unique rhythms and rhymes. His off the wall style, coined himself as “art rap,” offers a ton of emotion and introspection that rewards multiple listens. Brick Body Kids Still Daydream stays true to the style that Open Mike Eagle has done so well with in the past and at times sees him dipping his toes into a harder rap style.

During the album's 12 tracks, OME dances around boom-bap style drums, thick synthesized chords and lush instrumentation, helping each line make an impact. Themes of gentrification, oppression and the willingness to stay imaginative despite trying times are what dominate the project. OME uses a series of metaphors and euphemisms to get his point across. His rhyme scheme stays consistent throughout the album while also never feeling stale. Each song is filled with witty one liners that show his skill as both a writer and a comedian while staying true to the serious nature of the overarching themes of the album.

OME has the skill to craft complex rhymes that delve into very real concerns of the modern era, while at the same time making each line feel upbeat and happy. OME’s tone throughout proves this point further by giving real issues a lighter feel, making for an enjoyable listen from start to finish. The idea of Brick Body Kids Still Daydream is that of imagination and wonderment despite difficult times, namely the destruction of the neighborhood he grew up in following the continuing gentrification of Chicago. OME’s skillful bars and soft tone evoke these feelings beautifully giving the audience a sense of that vast imagination they all had as kids. “Daydreaming in the projects,” which hits right smack dab in the middle of the album, represent all of these themes together in one song, talking of kids growing up in the projects during a time where it seems like those trying to gentrify the neighborhood are killing their spirit and stomping on their creativity. This song serves as an anthem for all kids growing up in projects and is dedicated to those who stay imaginative and creative. This song is the most on the nose while the rest bury these themes a little deeper, adding to the replayability of the album.

The thematic elements are what give Brick Body Kids Still Daydream its character, but the instrumentals are what give it color. The instrumentation shines throughout, offering a variety of styles that give each line a distinct vibe. The album has an impressive lineup of 10 different producers, giving each song its own atmosphere. The amount of producers also keeps the album as a whole from feeling redundant as every song feels unique. The drum samples on “No Selling” and “Daydreaming in the projects” are raw and authentic and perfectly complement OME’s abstract style. The thick cut synths on “Hymnal” and “Brick Body Complex” allow the lyrics to soak into the chords, giving the minimalistic drums their own distinct space within the instrumentation. Songs like “Happy Wasteland Day” and “Tldr” are the few that feature live instrumental sampling, namely guitar and piano, that are mostly absent between the largely synth influenced songs on the rest of the album. To put it simply, the production on “Brick Body Kids Still Daydream” is top notch.

Open Mike Eagle’s eye for unique style and aesthetic is more evident than ever in this most recent outing. The flourishing instrumentals offer an exciting listen from start to finish and the dense, witty lyrical content remind listeners why they started listening to OME in the first place. With his next release, hopefully he can continue to dazzle fans with his abstract rap style while still pushing himself forward as an artist.

Rating: 8/10

 

Zach Hall is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email zth5043@psu.edu.