This year marks a half-decade since the world lost cherished Minnesotan and underground hip-hop icon Michael "Eyedea" Larsen. Whether you were a fan of his experimental recorded work, his razor-sharp battle rhymes, or his jaw-dropping innovative freestyles, Eyedea excelled in every way one could measure an MC.
His passing left a void in rap circles that will probably never be filled, and with each year providing more distance from his unexpected passing, more artists who knew Eyedea are finally feeling comfortable enough to process their grief and memorialize him in song. Given that two of the most touching, from Murs and Blueprint, were released in the past month, we've assembled some of the most touching Eyedea tributes.Blueprint - "Great Eyedeas Never Die" As Blueprint told our sister paper OC Weekly, ever since Eyedea passed in 2010 members of the Rhymesayers roster were constantly asked by fans when they would be doing a song about Eyedea. While it's taken him a few years to make it, Print says in the lyrics he had to make "Great Eyedeas Never Die" in order to properly mourn. A very frequent tourmate of Eyedea, Print writes from a perspective that's as heartbreaking as it is inspiring. Also special is the video, which shows several photos of Eyedea over the course of his life and multifaceted career. Murs - "I Miss Mikey" On the closing track from Murs's recently released Have a Nice Life, Murs invokes Eyedea's real name in the title as he raps over a 6/8 beat to discuss the fleeting nature of mortality and coping with grief while the world continues to spin. Also including references to a few other friend's Murs has lost over the years, including Definitive Jux rap artist Camu Tao, the track is primarily about continuing on in wake of the ever-looming presence of death. Sadistik - "Michael" A frequent collaborator in Eyedea's later years, Sadistik has the distinction of having Eyedea's final guest verse appearing on one of his projects. But two years prior to its release, Sadistik put out "Michael," a heavily emotive tribute that describes both Sadistik's trip to Eyedea's house on the day he passed, as well as recalling what interacting with the rapper was like and the impact he's made on his life. C-Rayz Walz - "BLVCK ROSARIES" One of the earliest tracks to be released in wake of Eyedea's passing, "BLVCK ROSARIES" was performed by New York rapper C-Rayz Walz at the second Eyedea memorial tribute event in 2012. With the perspective of knowing Eyedea as someone who came to his scene as an outsider and stole the show, including an infamous decisive victory over then-New York battle champion Immortal Technique, the East Coast vibe of the track is a very different take on Eyedea's legacy, but helps complete the picture of what the artist meant to the world. Atmosphere - "Flicker" Eyedea passed halfway through the making of Atmosphere's 2011 album The Family Sign, immediately resulting in "My Key," a tribute that had to be created in the immediate aftermath of his death. Three years later with the clarity that comes with time, Atmosphere recorded "Flicker," a track that not only speaks for itself in regard to memorializing who Michael was as a longtime friend, but takes the self-aware activeness at the end to speculate on how Eyedea would have critiqued the song itself.