Open Mike Eagle - Component System With the Auto Reverse Music Album Reviews

Open Mike Eagle - Component System With the Auto Reverse Music Album Reviews
The rapper’s eighth solo album is a stroll down memory lane, summoning the ‘90s boom bap aesthetics he grew up on. It’s a nostalgic trip that further cements his witty, introspective, and singular style.

For music fans of a certain age, the home stereo was more than just a convenient way to listen to music: It was a recording studio, a pressing plant, and a portal to other worlds. All-in-one component systems, the affordable stereos that contained all the pieces of a hi-fi system in one compact black box—an amplifier, AM/FM tuner, CD player, dual-cassette deck, and often an equalizer—minted myriad amateur engineers in the ‘90s, democratizing access to the tools needed to record, duplicate, and listen to mixtapes.

As a kid, the rapper Open Mike Eagle used one of those component systems to craft mixtapes spliced together from radio recordings. Replete with commercials and DJ monologues woven between his favorite songs, the tapes were the soundtrack of his youth, the score for countless bus rides across Chicago’s South Side. It was one of those tapes, cobbled together from broadcasts on the local college radio station WHPK Chicago, that inspired Eagle’s latest LP, Component System with the Auto-Reverse. The record is a nostalgic trip through the rapper’s musical genesis and an exploration of the psyche of an artist who recently lost his wife, his job, and some of his closest friends. If 2020’s Anime, Trauma, and Divorce was an unflinching examination of all that he’d lost, this album answers the question of what remains.

In rediscovering his old mixtapes, Eagle finds that he’s the same man he’s always been: a whip-smart comic with acerbic wit, a “grown man with toddler habits” (a quality that he gets from his father), and an old school hip-hop head who can rap his butt off, but can’t dance. He has long written from a comedian’s POV, and on this album, he once again leverages a bittersweet sense of humor to soothe his painful awareness of the world’s absurdity. His cleverness requires a certain degree of pop culture literacy, and some of his references—like 2Pac’s curious collaboration with smooth, sensitive ‘90s R&B crooner Jon B—might feel ancient to a zoomer. But these are the bars of a middle-aged man who still shares memes (“Who Among Us is mega sus?” he asks on “i’ll fight you”); they are tightly packed nerd raps from a dad who’s quick-witted enough to keep up with his adolescent son.

The songs here reflect both his embrace of Los Angeles (“crenshaw and homeland”) and his Chicago roots (“79th and stony island”); after college, the rapper left his hometown and has since toiled in the headier spaces of L.A.’s hip-hop underground. There is also plenty of room for poignant introspection (“the song with the secret name”) and unabashed fandom of hip-hop greats (“for DOOM”). His choice of collaborators feels less like clout-boosting streaming bait and more like homies who can rap well, which makes for a laid-back cipher vibe that reveals the album’s raw but carefully considered aesthetic. Its most frequent guests are Video Dave and Still Rift, two rappers with backpacker flows and few credits that don’t involve Eagle. But even when he operates with more well-known entities like New York’s acid-tongued duo Armand Hammer, he shows he can coalesce disparate styles.

The pace and tone of the album ebbs and flows—too clunky to be mixed by a DJ, but still sequenced with intention. On “burner account,” the aforementioned collaboration with Armand Hammer, the three MCs meet each other halfway between Eagle’s self-deprecating one-liners and billy woods and ELUCID’s vivid imagery. It amounts to a tongue-in-cheek spoof of Griselda Records’ trafficking raps, one that somehow feels more reverential than derisive.

In the process of building Component System with the Auto Reverse, Eagle originally pulled samples from a tape featuring a rant from a WHPK DJ. On it, the host waxed philosophical about Diamond D, the New York producer and MC who co-founded the infamous Diggin’ In the Crates crew, home to Big L, Fat Joe, and Showbiz & AG. Eagle has spoken at length about his veneration of the East Coast legend, and although the recording didn’t make the final cut of the album, it was the impetus for his exploration of the Uptown rap scene, which has informed his own aesthetic since childhood. It’s all the more momentous that Diamond D has production credits here on three tracks, and even a guest verse on the album closer. Like DITC, part of Eagle’s genius lies not just in lyrical skill or head-bobbing beats, but a strong sense of self—an identity shaped by communities as unique as those who survived them.

Component System with the Auto Reverse sits at the geographical and spiritual nexus of Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles, tracing a map of people and places that have shaped Eagle’s experience with hip-hop. To that end, Component System’s coda “cd only bonus track” closes the loop on Eagle’s stroll down memory lane, with a beat and a verse from one of the New York heroes that sent him on the path away from Chicago in the first place. On his last LP, Eagle was riddled with self-doubt. But by looking even further in the rear view, through all the years, all the bars, and all the trauma, he seems to have returned to his original sense of self. Even as he grows, he’s always been exactly who he is supposed to be.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Open Mike Eagle - Component System With the Auto Reverse Music Album Reviews Open Mike Eagle - Component System With the Auto Reverse Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on October 24, 2022 Rating: 5


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