Open Mike Eagle impresses with new EP What Happens When I Try To Relax

Marvin Villanueva, Senior

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The Chicago raised, Los Angeles based rapper, Open Mike Eagle (OME) returns to the limelight with his latest EP, What Happens When I Try To Relax.

Since 2010, with the release of his first studio album, Unapologetic Art Rap, OME has consistently tried to raise the bar for himself along every turn.  

The amusingly, well-titled Dark Comedy proved this, with its biting dark lyricism mixed with the rich, synth that the sound and with his next EP, A Special Episode of, OME’s humor and political beliefs defined the personality of his craft.

Plus, coming out of the success of arguably his finest piece of work, last year’s thematically bold, Brick Body Kids Still Daydream, OME takes an even starker approach to his music.

Kicking it off with the unabashedly open “Relatable (peak OME),” the pragmatic artist does not fret to bare his emotions from the get-go rapping: “Sometimes when I’m social I feel incompatible,” all under a building chime synth loop. Along with revealing his fears and social anxieties, OME also repeats the lyric is “relatable” and “accessible” in the same way music publications would as a tongue-in-cheek joke of his status as an indie rapper.

In a recent interview with Billboard, his sediment about his career was shared, with him stating: “I’m a national and international rapper and I’m never typically a part of conversations about rap music… this isn’t the truth, but it is how I feel.”  

What Happens When I Try To Relax shares his realistically pessimistic outlook through songs like the personal “Microfiche,” where he points to the flaws of society and his own being or on the painfully honest “Southside Eagles (93 Bulls),” where he expresses a blatant criticism on capitalism and the toll its taking on his personal life.

Ultimately, even after the turmoil, OME paint, a gleam of hope across his EP.

On the final track “Maybe Gang (An Initiation),” through its bare instrumentation, OME raps: “We the Bulls triple-seven magnificent/with no authority and self-written etiquette.” NO matter the unfair card life has dealt, anyone can persevere.

By creating one of his most personal releases yet, OME not only bared his soul but also effectively produced another work of sheer art that should be held up to the same pedestal as other works of modern hip-hop. The fact that it hasn’t already, is a real shame.

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