Background information
Birth name Micheal David Larsen[1]
Also known as Eyedea, Oliver Hart
Born (1981-11-09)November 9, 1981
Origin Saint Paul, Minnesota, U.S.
Died October 16, 2010(2010-10-16) (aged 28)
Genres Underground hip hop, Alternative hip hop, Experimental hip hop
Occupation(s) Rapper, singer, producer, guitarist
Years active 19932010
Labels Rhymesayers Entertainment Crushkill Recordings
Associated acts Eyedea & Abilities, Oliver Hart, Carbon Carousel, Face Candy, Atmosphere, Sadistik
Website MichealLarsen.com

Micheal David Larsen (November 9, 1981 October 16, 2010), better known by his stage name Eyedea, was an American musician, rapper and poet. He was a freestyle battle champion and songwriter from Saint Paul, Minnesota.[2]

He had appeared as a solo artist under the pseudonym Oliver Hart, and as the MC half of the duo Eyedea & Abilities (along with longtime friend and collaborator DJ Abilities).[3] He was first signed under Slug's independent hip-hop label Rhymesayers before founding his own record label "Crushkill Recordings".


Eyedea first stepped into the hip-hop scene battling against other emcees at notable freestyle joints. His notable wins which included a victory at Scribble Jam (1999) and the televised Blaze Battle sponsored by HBO (2000), turned Eyedea into a hip-hop mogul. Notable hip-hop outlets have labeled Eyedea as a legendary freestyle icon. Eyedea has released numerous albums alongside DJ Abilities where the two performed under the duo name "Eyedea & Abilities". In 2001, Eyedea & Abilities released their debut studio album First Born, which included their successful single "Big Shots".

The single was later chosen to appear on Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4. In 2004, Eyedea & Abilities released their second studio album titled E&A, which included the singles "Paradise" & "Man vs Ape". In July 2009, Eyedea & Abilities released their third and final studio album called By the Throat, which was followed by highly acclaimed positive ratings. In 2014, Eyedea ranked #2 on Abbey Magazine's Top 25 'greatest freestyle emcees of all-time'.

Early life

Eyedea grew up near Saint Paul, Minnesota with his mother Kathy Averill. He is of Irish and Lebanese descent.[4] He attended Highland Park Senior High School.[3]

Eyedea became known as a battle MC, touring the circuit between 1997 and 2001. During this time, he won top prizes at Scribble Jam '99, the Rock Steady Anniversary 2000, and Blaze Battle New York 2000. He contributed a track to the Anticon compilation, Music for the Advancement of Hip Hop. He also toured extensively as second MC and support DJ for Atmosphere.

In 2001, he released First Born with his partner DJ Abilities (collectively, they were initially called the Sixth Sense, but later changed the name to Eyedea & Abilities). In 2002, under his pen name "Oliver Hart", he released the self-produced The Many Faces of Oliver Hart, or: How Eye One the Write Too Think. In 2004, he reunited with Abilities to release the self-titled album E&A.

All of Eyedea's releases have been on the Rhymesayers record label, with the exception of the Carbon Carousel EP, which was released on his own Independent music label, Crushkill Recordings. In addition to touring independently and with Rhymesayers labelmates and members of Face Candy, Eyedea & Abilities participated in the Def Jux-sponsored "Who Killed the Robots?" tour, titled by Eyedea.

Music career

He was signed to Rhymesayers Entertainment and collaborated with Slug of the underground hip hop group Atmosphere as well as Sage Francis, Aesop Rock, and Blueprint. He was also a member of a MC super group called "The Orphanage" along with Slug, Aesop Rock, Blueprint, Sage Francis & Illogic. Although never releasing a full CD to the public, songs were recorded and released.[5]

After Eyedea released This Is Where We Were, recorded with his live freestyle rap/jazz group Face Candy, he created Carbon Carousel, an alternative rock band. They have released one EP, entitled The Some of All Things, or: The Healing Power of Scab Picking. This brought on speculation that Eyedea & Abilities were no longer together. However, in August 2007, the duo announced on their Myspace that they would be at the Twin Cities Celebration of Hip-Hop performing old songs and new material. In December 2007, Eyedea & Abilities embarked upon their Appetite for Distraction Tour with Crushkill labelmate Kristoff Krane and Minnesotan duo Sector7G.

The summer of 2009 saw Eyedea & Abilities joining the touring hip hop festival Rock the Bells for a limited number of dates, performing alongside such acts as Sage Francis, Evidence, M.O.P. and the Knux. E&A also performed at the first Rock the Bells concert in 2004, infamous for being Ol' Dirty Bastard's last performance with the Wu-Tang Clan.

In 2011, an EP of 4 of Eyedea's freestyles, previously released in 2010 but only sold at live shows, were made available for 'pay what you want' download.[6] Guitar Party a group consisting of vocalist (and first grader) Mijah Ylvisaker, drummer J.T. Bates (Face Candy, Carbon Carousel, The Pines) and guitarists Jeremy Ylvisaker (Carbon Carousel, Alpha Consumer, Andrew Bird, The Cloak Ox), Jake Hanson (Halloween, Alaska), Andrew Broder (Fog, The Cloak Ox) and Micheal Larsen (Eyedea & Abilities, Carbon Carousel, Face Candy) released a recording of the only live show they had managed to play before Eyedea's death called 'Birthday [I feel Triangular]' .[7] The second Face Candy album was released on May 24, 2011 on Rhymesayers. This album was recorded in two days at the Winterland studios and one night in front of an audience at St. Paul's Black Dog Cafe.[8]


Eyedea died in his sleep on October 16, 2010. He was found dead by his mother, according to a friend.[9] Cause of death was released November 18, 2010 and ruled an accident, from respiratory depression, caused by opiate derivatives, according to the Ramsey County medical examiner's office. The specific drugs found in Larsen's system have not been revealed to the public.[10]

Various hip-hop artists went on their Twitter accounts to pay their tribute to him.[11][12]

On December 25, 2013, it was announced on Eyedea & Abilities' Facebook page[13] that a star was registered under the name Eyedea to commemorate Larsen on the web site Online Star Register.[14]

Fellow hip-hop artist and friend Murs paid homage to Eyedea on his track "I Miss Mikey" on his album Have a Nice Life.





Live albums


Guest appearances

Other media

Rap battles

This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it.
Year Competition/Event Opponent Result Notes
1998 Scribble Jam Slug Loss
1999 Otherwize Win
Unseen Win
Optimus Prime Win
P.E.A.C.E. Win won the tournament
2000 Rocksteady Anniversary PackFM Win
Immortal Technique Win won the tournament
HBO Blaze Battle Ali Vegas Win
E-Dub Win
RK Win
Shells Win won the tournament
Scribble Jam Propane Win
Brother Ali Loss
2001 Cactus Club Mic T None verdict unknown
2004 Scribble Jam Murs None unjudged battle


  1. Eyedea's death: The police report, citypages.com, 2010-10-20.
  2. "Eyedea Dead at 28; Michael Larsen, Indie Singer of Rhymesayer". Bloginity.com. 2010-10-17. Retrieved 2015-04-02.
  3. 1 2 Scholtes, Peter S. (2001-09-12). "What's the Big Eyedea?". City Pages. Retrieved 2008-07-20.
  4. Averill, Kathy (2014-12-10). "I'm half Lebanese, and mostly Irish otherwise" (Interview transcript). Facebook.com. Archived from the original on 2015-01-19. Retrieved 2015-04-02 via Facebook.com.
  5. "Legendary battle rapper Eyedea dies". FactMag. 2010-10-17. Retrieved 2010-10-17.
  6. "Eyedea Freestyles EP". Micheallarsen.bandcamp.com. 2011. Retrieved 2011-04-14.
  7. "Guitar Party Birthday [I feel Triangular]". Micheallarsen.com. 2011. Retrieved 2011-04-14.
  8. "Waste Age Teenland Out May 24th On Rhymesayers". Micheallarsen.com. 2011. Retrieved 2011-04-14.
  9. "Rapper Eyedea Dies at Age 28". Yahoo Music. 2010-10-19.
  10. Gottfried, Mara H. "St. Paul rapper Eyedea's death ruled accidental drug overdose". TwinCities.com. Retrieved 2015-04-02.
  11. Kaufman, Gil (2010-11-10). "Eyedea Died Of Accidental Drug Overdose". MTV.com. Retrieved 2015-04-02.
  12. "Rappers React to Underground MC Eyedea's Unexpected Death". Xxlmag.com. 2010-10-18. Retrieved 2015-04-02.
  13. "Eyedea and Abilities". Facebook.com. Retrieved 2015-04-02.
  14. "Eyedea | Registered in the Online Star Register for Kathy". Stars.osr.org. 1981-11-09. Retrieved 2015-04-02.
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