Over his extensive hip-hop career, Open Mike Eagle hasn't really proved why he should be regarded as highly as others in a similar vein of conscious (and self-conscious) hip-hop. Busdriver's manic delivery and off-kilter song progressions, milo's convoluted philosophical musings, and Elucid's performances with billy woods as Armand Hammer all serve as figureheads of this alternative style, while Mike plays second fiddle with comatose, almost expressionless rapping and meek beat selection. With his eighth album here, nothing seems to have changed, and Mike still fails to really impress with these repetitive, uninspired, sometimes annoying hooks and an underlying, pleading necessity for relatability and attention that makes this 35 minute album feel stretched to 50. The only moments when this album hints at something worthwhile is when Mike deviates from his usual formula (except the dissonant and grating Black Mirror Episode), namely Asa's Bop with its driving, bassy beat and interesting performances from both Mike and his guest. If Mike were able to continue this energy for an entire project, I'd have no doubts it would be great, but instead, this release feel handicapped by an inability to craft compelling progressions or an interesting rap flow, leaving Anime, Trauma and Divorce with an encroaching feeling of unavoidable ennui.
The Edge of New Clothes
Least Favourite Tracks:
The Black Mirror Episode
WTF Is Self Care
I'm a Joestar (Black Power Fantasy)