The hard-partying, harder-working Slaine has never been more exhausted than he was this Monday. It’s no wonder; he’d been draining booze and hibernating in his Brockton lab for 17 straight days and nights recording his new The Devil Never Dies mixtape.
Slaine’s looked weathered in the past. But in the wake of this most recent marathon session, his eyes were glassier than than they were on the tail end of his two-month tour with Tech N9ne, and after he completed months of filming for his roles in “Gone Baby Gone” and “The Town.”
“Wouldn’t it be funny,” he said, “if I was playing you The Devil Never Dies, and I died right in front of you from the hell I put myself through recording this fucking thing.”
By now, Slaine was supposed to be relaxing. His three-years-in-the-making project, A World With No Skies, was completed weeks before he walked the Fenway Park red carpet with Ben Affleck, and had been slated to drop this Tuesday. Other than giving interviews, Slaine’s immediate plan was to hang with family before heading back on tour.
But plans changed when his imprint tried to clear samples for A World With No Skies. For the most part, independent hip-hop artists release music, and then handle lawsuits as they come. And that’s the problem; while Slaine’s subterranean savagery is hardly commercial, his exposure leaves him with the same clearance issues that only major label artists typically address up front.
With A World With No Skies in limbo – he says the project should drop early next year – Slaine remained determined to release something this week, and decided to compose an (almost completely) original spread with the quickness. All he needed was some help.
In addition to rookie producer-engineer Silvamore, who drove to Brockton for a midnight interview just minutes after Slaine solicited assistance on Facebook, both Amadeus and Jaysaun stabbed three tracks apiece, while Hartford MC Blacastan smashed two. Other Boston cats including Chilla Jones and Esoteric swung through, with local comers Falside and C-Lance joining beat bosses like Stoupe and Statik to rock backdrops. All that plus a heavy cut with Termanology that was recorded two years ago but shelved (more on that here).
In the end, Slaine and friends yielded a mixtape that’s both impressive and immediate. His current situation bleeds across the track list – from relationship to label problems – while Slaine rides his roller-coaster stream-of-consciousness the whole way through. The Devil Never Dies is far from an afterthought; it’s a tough and focused portrait of a no-holds-barred MC wrestling with the proverbial next level.
“115 hours a week for two weeks straight in the studio to do this record,” slurs Slaine in his outro. “I ain’t gonna let you forget about me tomorrow. I went in this fucking studio, and I made this record because I felt like I had to scream on people…The Devil Never Dies is not The White Man is the Devil volume three. You know what is? A World With No Skies.”
Been listening to this new Celph + Buckwild album.. it’s really fucking good. Fuck I miss the 90s
Nineteen Ninety Now is finally here and a hip-hop renaissance is about to begin! The art form is brought full-circle through this groundbreaking collaboration between underground giant Celph Titled and production legend Buckwild (D.I.T.C.)! Showing that the lessons from the past can be combined with the innovations of the present, these two heavyweight artists have joined forces to create a neo-classic. By having uninhibited access to Buckwild’s original mid-90’s production, Celph Titled was able to select and record to over 16 unreleased D.I.T.C. bangers; bringing his charismatic flow and lyrical prowess to each one.
Those of you who follow Slaine’s Facebook page and interviews are by now aware he had some setbacks with clearing samples for his long-awaited A World With No Skies. But while that mighty opus has been pushed back to early next year, he’s literally been living in the studio so as to give fans something this month, as promised. Here goes the track list; from the look of things, Slaine appears to have put together yet another mixtape that could trump 99 percent of proper hip-hop releases.
1.The Religion (produced by Silvamore)
2.My Girl, My Wife, My Mother My Bitch (produced by LüBalz)
3.The Deadzone (produced by Stoupe cuts by Reel Drama)
4.Black and Blue Flag Feat. Jaysaun (produced by Slivamore)
5.Thru the Rain Feat. Blacastan (produced by Silvamore)
6.Off The Sidewalk Feat. Cyrus Deshield (produced by Falside)
7.Goin Down Feat. Jaysaun (produced by Silvamore)
8.The Worst (produced by Statik Selektah)
9.Old English II Feat Esoteric (produced by Esoteric)
10.Burn Feat. Amadeus & Chilla Jones (produced by Sicknature)
11.Envy Feat Termanology (produced by Moss)
12.It Aint Happenin Feat. Amadeus & Blacastan (produced by Falside)
13.Its Too Late Feat. Amadeus (produced by Double Chamberz)
14.Science of the Trife Feat. ILL BILL & Q Unique (produced by C Lance)
15.Settin it Off Feat. Reks, JFK, Jaysaun, and Steven King (produced by Statik Selektah)
One thing about hip-hop tragedies is that heads do one hell of a job in the memorial department. In the event of Eyedea’s demise, I would expect nothing less from the good folks at Rhymesayers; more than any other influential rap label that I know of, the Minnesota clan really is like a family. After all; they did help raise one of the greatest battle cats to ever spit.
Rhymesayers publicists sent out an impressive email package late last week, featuring all sorts of information that one might need to know in the wake of this sort of passing (for funeral and subsequent show info, see the bottom of this post). I tend to avoid recycling press releases, but the sentiments from labelmates and close collaborators are much more insightful than a third party like myself could ever be on such a matter:
Mikey was the 15 year old kid sleeping on my couch at Scribble Jam, slaying MCs 10 yrs older than him. There was nothing anyone could do. I’ve never met a more supportive mother in my life than Kathy. Kathy is the shit. -Mr. Dibbs
Mikey was an artist in constant transition. If you blinked and missed a moment of brilliance he’d be sure to fill you in on what you missed. Now that he can’t be here to do that we will gladly do it for him. With the heaviest of hearts. -Sage Francis
Eyedea was a precious soul. We’re better artists for working with him and better people for knowing him. He added so generously to our lives and his passing leaves an empty space in our hearts. His spirit will forever be entwined in our life changing moments. Thank you, Mikey for sharing your light with us. We love you so very much and your music, insight and laughter will never leave us. -Brother Ali
I met Mikey when he was 14 and he was so full of energy, but so focused for his age. I have always been amazed at his knowledge and thirst for life being so young. On more than one occasion, I have had to remind myself how young he really was while we were all coming up. He was such a special individual, he mastered everything he touched and wanted to touch everything. He was the most free person I have ever known and he approached life like a scientist, wanting to dissect all of her meanings so he could share them with others. Mikey had an amazing spirit and a truly gifted mind and all of us who were blessed to experience this immediately became better people. This life couldn’t contain my friend and so he’s moved on to his next journey, but I know he’ll forever be in our hearts and minds pushing us to live life to the fullest, be better and be free.-Brent Sayers (aka Siddiq aka Stress)
My friend, my brother. I do not know who I would be without your influence in my life. You challenged me without tearing me down. You pushed and encouraged me to be a better person. You had my back even when I didn’t have my own back. Your words, thoughts, and ideas impacted me in ways that I probably haven’t fully realized yet. You made me laugh and cry. You made me look and question. Thank you for everything. I love you Mikey.-Slug
“I’ve won more battles than your bitch ass has lost”
While I didn’t have as many opportunities to interview Eyedea as I did many of his Rhymesayers comrades – I think we spoke two or three times – I can confirm that he’s indeed the kind and thoughtful person that his friends say he was. Two years ago, when I entered a rap battle for a Boston Phoenix feature story, he was happy to school me in the art of raw for more than a half-hour. And if there was one thing I learned in my freestyle experience, it’s that you’re either born with the gift, like Eyedea, or you’re not, like me.
For anyone who wants a closer look into Eyedea’s early career, I really recommend this 2001 City Pages profile (it’s the kind of story that alt-weeklies do – not the kind you find in hip-hop rags). He was a remarkable prodigy in every sense, even venturing through indie rock terrain before returning to hip-hop with DJ Abilities, and stepping back into his role at Rhymesayers, which dropped By the Throat just last year (amazing cover image below). On that note, Rest In Peace Eyedea – an esteemed underground legend in both life and death.
Tickets will be on sale: Monday, October 25, 2010 at 5:00PM CST
Tickets will be available at Fifth Element, 2411 Hennepin Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55405. For those of you that are not in the Twin Cities area; a limited amount of tickets will be available online at Etix.com.
There is no guest list. All donations will go to the family of Micheal “eyedea” Larsen.