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Humor can conceal and alleviate the pain of trauma, but no joke will erase it. Even Wu-Tang Clan told you that tears come after laughter. Relief comes only from opening every emotional and psychological wound.
Open Mike Eagle spent the 2010s finding comedy in rap music and American nightmares. On albums like Brick Body Kids Still Daydream and Dark Comedy, he delivered hilarious socio-political insights via half-sung verses laid atop progressive production. Acclaim from media outlets like Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, and NPR coincided with headlining solo tours and top billing at events like Adult Swim Festival. Between studio sessions, Eagle co-founded the New Negroes, a standup-meets-music variety show that explores perceptions of blackness. He and co-founder Baron Vaughn brought the show to Upright Citizens Brigade, Comedy Central, and venues around the U.S. Since founding the record label Auto Reverse Records, though, Eagle has scaled back the jokes. He’s finally unpacking his traumas and acknowledging their impact.
Anime, Trauma, and Divorce is Eagle’s first full-length album on Auto Reverse and the most personal project of his career. On the verge of middle age, reeling from the collapse of his marriage, he probes the darkness of his past and searches for lights to guide him forward. This is the sound of a broken man sifting through the pieces while trying to rebuild—the struggle to self-critique while practicing self-care. Do you disassociate by envisioning yourself as the lead in your favorite anime or do you reflect on your headass behavior? Tattoos and beer or push-ups and smoothies? Executive-produced by renowned rock producer Jacknife Lee (U2, R.E.M.), the album’s few features include Auto Reverse artist Video Dave and Eagle’s son. Anime, Trauma, and Divorce finds Eagle virtually alone, doing his best to reject the humor that will not cure his ills. All is not well, but he’s never been better.
Serengeti is a rapper from Illinois who has released many albums since the 2000s. His latest song is called “a okey test,” featuring sicker man, and is streaming now.
Rapper, television producer, beat maker, and writer Video Dave has worked behind the scenes for some of the most impactful entertainment of the last decade. He’s produced for MTV’s Teen Mom, TLC’s 90 Day Fiancé, and Comedy Central’s The New Negroes, along with content for the Discovery Channel, freelance work for Hannibal Buress, and more. All the while, he’s been developing a music career that’s seen him work with Method Man from the Wu-Tang Clan and tour with Brother Ali, Open Mike Eagle, Serengeti, and more. He has released music both independently and on Open Mike Eagle’s Auto Reverse Records.