Open Mike Eagle

Michael W. Eagle II[1] (born November 14, 1980[2]), better known by his stage name Open Mike Eagle, is an American hip hop artist and comedian. Originally from Chicago, Illinois, he is now based in Los Angeles, California,[3] where he is a member of the hip hop collective Project Blowed.[4] He is also a member of Thirsty Fish and Swim Team.[5]

Open Mike Eagle
Open Mike Eagle in 2015.
Background information
Birth nameMichael W. Eagle II
Also known asMike Eagle
Born (1980-11-14) November 14, 1980
OriginChicago, Illinois, U.S.
GenresHip hop
Years active2004-present
Associated acts

Early life

Mike grew up in Chicago's Robert Taylor Homes and lived with his grandparents until he was 13 at which point he moved in with his mother.[6] Mike also has a younger brother and sister. He attended Whitney M. Young Magnet High School and went on to Southern Illinois University Carbondale where he majored in psychology. There he became good friends with Hannibal Buress after being his resident adviser.[6]

He did a year of grad school, but quickly moved to Los Angeles to live with his dad. He began working for AmeriCorps for six months before getting a job at a non-profit halfway house.[6] As he continued to work odd jobs, Mike rapped as a hobby before discovering Project Blowed and then creating Thirsty Fish.[6]



Open Mike Eagle, with Dumbfoundead and Psychosiz, formed the rap trio Thirsty Fish.[7] They released the first album Testing the Waters in 2007 and the second album Watergate on Mush Records in 2011. All three members of Thirsty Fish are also co-founders of the battle crew Swim Team. In 2008, Swim Team released the mixtape Ocean's 11.

In 2010, Open Mike Eagle released his first solo album, Unapologetic Art Rap, on Mush Records.[8] The album features Nocando, Busdriver, and Serengeti.[9] His second album, Rappers Will Die of Natural Causes, was released on Hellfyre Club in 2011.[10] It features vocal contributions from P.O.S and MC Paul Barman.[11][12]

In 2012, he released an album, 4nml Hsptl, on Fake Four Inc.[13] It is entirely produced by Awkward.[14] In that year, he co-authored and participated in a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health that observed the locations of increased brain activity during freestyle rapping.[15]

In 2014, he released an album, Dark Comedy.[16] In 2016, he released Hella Personal Film Festival, a collaborative album with Paul White.[17] In 2017, he released Brick Body Kids Still Daydream, a concept album about the Robert Taylor Homes, a public housing project in Chicago, Illinois.[18] It was placed at number 34 on Rolling Stone's "50 Best Albums of 2017" list,[19] as well as number 49 on Pitchfork's "50 Best Albums of 2017" list.[20] In 2018, he released an EP, What Happens When I Try to Relax.[21]

Podcasts and comedy

Mike Eagle has expressed his appreciation for the Cartoon Network animated television series Adventure Time.[22] In June 2015, Eagle along with John Moe, launched "Conversation Parade", a podcast in which the two discuss the show. The podcast has featured guests like Jeremy Shada, John DiMaggio, Hynden Walch, Adam Muto, Kent Osborne, Niki Yang, Olivia Olson, Jesse Moynihan, Jessica DiCicco, Elizabeth Ito, and Neko Case.[23] More recently, Open Mike Eagle podcasts regularly on his podcast Secret Skin.[24] Mike Eagle also co-hosts the pro wrestling podcast Tights and Fights with Hal Lublin and Danielle Radford on the Maximum Fun Network.[25]

Film and television

During the Adventure Time's ninth season, he appeared in the episode "Son of Rap Bear," voicing a rapping gingerbread man.[26] On April 18, 2017, Comedy Central announced they were greenlighting The New Negroes, a stand-up and musical series co-hosted by Open Mike Eagle and Baron Vaughn.[27] The New Negroes premiered on Comedy Central on April 9, 2019 and includes a new music video each episode in which Eagle collaborates with other hip-hop artists including MF Doom,[28] Danny Brown,[29] Phonte,[30] and Lizzo.[31]

Personal life

He met his wife Tiffany at a TransAfrica conference at UCLA and they have one son together.[6]

Style and influences

Open Mike Eagle has coined his own term for the style of some of his music, which he calls "art rap".[32] In a 2016 interview, he stated that They Might Be Giants influenced him.[33][34]


Studio albums

Extended plays

  • Art Rap After Party (Mush Records, 2011)
  • Extended Nightmares Getdown: The Dark Blue Door (Hellfyre Club, 2011)
  • Rent Party Extension (Hellfyre Club, 2012)
  • Sir Rockabye (Hellfyre Club, 2013)
  • A Special Episode Of (Mello Music Group, 2015)
  • Time & Materials (Mello Music Group, 2015) (with Serengeti, as Cavanaugh)
  • What Happens When I Try to Relax (Auto Reverse Records, 2018)


  • "I Rock" (Mush Records, 2010)
  • "Home Movies" (self-released, 2012) (with Dumbfoundead and Psychosiz, as Thirsty Fish)

Guest appearances

  • Abstract Rude - "Thynk Eye Can (Blowedian Next Generation Mix)" from Rejuvenation (2009)
  • Nocando - "DSD2" from Jimmy the Lock (2010)
  • Busdriver - "Deer God" from Computer Cooties (2010)
  • Flash Bang Grenada - "In a Perfect World" from 10 Haters (2011)
  • Mega Ran - "Now Hiring" from Mega Ran 10 (2011)
  • Myka 9 & Factor - "5 Mikes" from Sovereign Soul (2012)
  • Zilla Rocca - "Full Spectrum 2" from Full Spectrum (2012)
  • Busdriver - "Werner Herzog" from Arguments with Dreams (2012)
  • Cars & Trains - "Stay Awake" from We Are All Storms (2012)
  • Sole - "Definition of Slave" from A Ruthless Criticism of Everything Existing (2012)
  • Premrock & Willie Green - "Jogger" from Premrock & Willie Green (2012)
  • Ras G - Kampala Blackouts (2012)
  • Random - "Super Move" from Language Arts Volume 2 (2012)
  • Illogic & Blockhead - "From Scratch" from Preparing for Capture 2 (2012)
  • Curly Castro - "My Beloved" (2013)
  • Loden - "An Evening with Open Mike Eagle" from The Star-Eyed Condition (2013)
  • Milo - "The Otherground Pizza Party" from Things That Happen at Night (2013)
  • Kool A.D. - "Red Wine" from 63 (2013)
  • Billy Woods - "Fool's Gold" from Dour Candy (2013)
  • Steel Tipped Dove - "Hyperbolic Chamber Music II" (2013)
  • Gregory Pepper & Madadam - "Stirring Dead Leaves" from Big Huge Truck (2013)
  • Factor - "Stone Cold" from Woke Up Alone (2013)
  • Armand Hammer - "New Museum" from Race Music (2013)
  • MC Frontalot - "Much Chubbier" from Question Bedtime (2014)
  • Megabusive w/ Awkward - "Apexes and Peaks" and "So Much" from Hell on Hell (2014)
  • Drummachinemike - "The Anti-Socialite's Theme Song", "Bowling Tips" and "The Kids Don't Like Me" from Drum Machine Music (2014)
  • Busdriver - "When the Tooth-lined Horizon Blinks" from Perfect Hair (2014)
  • Milo - "Objectifying Rabbits" from A Toothpaste Suburb (2014)
  • Eligh - "Get Like Me" from 80 Hrtz (2015)
  • Abstract Rude - "Kan of Whoop Ass Reprise" from Keep the Feel: A Legacy of Hip Hop Soul (2015)
  • L'Orange & Kool Keith - "Meanwhile, Back Home" from Time? Astonishing! (2015)
  • Memory Man - "Funtastic" from Broadcast One (2015)
  • Milo - "True Nen" from So the Flies Don't Come (2015)
  • Aesop Rock - "Syrup" from The Impossible Kid deluxe edition (2016)
  • Blu & Fate - "Oblivia" from Open Your Optics to Optimism (2016)
  • Factor Chandelier - "Dozer II" from Factoria (2016)
  • P.O.S - "Infinite Scroll" from Chill, Dummy (2017)
  • Uncommon Nasa - "Extra Lives" from Written at Night (2017)
  • Buy My Drugs - "American Robot" from Buy Muy Drugs (2017)[35]
  • Czarface & MF Doom - "Phantoms" from Czarface Meets Metal Face (2018)
  • Left at London - "I Split My Ribs Open" from Transgender Street Legend Vol. 1 (2018)
  • MC Paul Barman - "Echo Chamber" and "Believe That" from Echo Chamber (2018)
  • The Skull Eclipses - "Gone" from The Skull Eclipses (2018)
  • Blockhead - "Slippery Slope" from Free Sweatpants (2019)
  • Two Door Cinema Club - "Nice To See You" from False Alarm (2019)

Compilation appearances

  • "Silent Protest (A Modest Proposal)" on Prometheus (2011)[36]
  • "Celebrity Reduction Prayer" and "Dark Comedy Late Show" on Persona (2015)[37]


  1. Kamegawa, Annalise (September 18, 2017). "Open Mike Eagle turns an American hero in 'Brick Body Kids Still Daydream'". The Daily Californian. Retrieved October 20, 2018.
  2. Jeffries, David. "Open Mike Eagle - Biography". AllMusic. Archived from the original on October 20, 2018. Retrieved October 20, 2018.
  3. "SXSW 2011: Politicking with Shabazz Palaces and Open Mike Eagle". Los Angeles Times. March 19, 2011. Retrieved February 16, 2012.
  4. "Open Mike Eagle Unapologetically Talks About "Art Rap"". LA Weekly. July 8, 2010. Retrieved February 16, 2012.
  5. Taylor, Patrick (July 31, 2012). "Open Mike Eagle - 4NML HSPTL - Fake Four Inc". Retrieved October 30, 2018.
  6. "BA #064:'Open' Mike Eagle". Box Angeles podcast.
  7. Bell, Max (June 9, 2014). "Fly Like an (Open Mike) Eagle: Soaring with Rap's Comedic Genius". Noisey. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
  8. Jones, Kevin (May 2010). "Open Mike Eagle - Unapologetic Art Rap". Exclaim!.
  9. 319 (May 10, 2010). "Open Mike Eagle". UGSMAG. Retrieved February 16, 2012.
  10. Weiss, Dan (August 30, 2011). "Open Mike Eagle - Rappers Will Die of Natural Causes". The Phoenix.
  11. 319 (June 7, 2011). "Open Mike Eagle - "Why Pianos Break ft. P.O.S."". UGSMAG.
  12. Castano, Fred (June 19, 2011). "Open Mike Eagle – Rappers Will Die Of Natural Causes". Potholes in My Blog.
  13. "Premiere: Open Mike Eagle ft. Serengeti - "Universe Man"". Pigeons & Planes. May 14, 2012. Archived from the original on May 16, 2012.
  14. Sullivan, Matt (July 2, 2012). "Open Mike Eagle, 4NML HSPTL". Impose.
  15. Liu, Siyuan; Chow, Ho Ming; Xu, Yisheng; Erkkinen, Michael G.; Swett, Katherine E.; Eagle, Michael W.; Rizik-Baer, Daniel A.; Braun, Allen R. (2012). "Neural Correlates of Lyrical Improvisation: An fMRI Study of Freestyle Rap". Scientific Reports. 2: 834. Bibcode:2012NatSR...2E.834L. doi:10.1038/srep00834. PMC 3498928. PMID 23155479.
  16. Weiss, Jeff (December 24, 2014). "Open Mike Eagle Is Indie Rap's Sharpest, Funniest Social Critic". LA Weekly. Retrieved October 30, 2018.
  17. Matera, C. G. (February 4, 2016). "Open Mike Eagle and Paul White Team for Hella Personal Film Festival, Share "Check to Check"". Pitchfork. Retrieved October 30, 2018.
  18. "Open Mike Eagle's New Album 'Brick Body Kids Still Daydream' Due This Year - XXL". XXL. Retrieved August 26, 2017.
  19. "50 Best Albums of 2017". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 14, 2017.
  20. "The 50 Best Albums of 2017 (page 1 of 5)". Pitchfork. December 12, 2017. Retrieved October 30, 2018.
  21. Maicki, Salvatore (October 18, 2018). "Open Mike Eagle shares new EP What Happens When I Try To Relax". The Fader. Retrieved October 20, 2018.
  22. Staggs, Matt (June 13, 2014). "Rapper Open Mike Eagle Talks Adventure Time, Art Rap, and XTC". Suvudu. Retrieved June 27, 2015.
  23. Eagle, Mike; Moe, John (2015). "Conversation Parade: An Adventure Time Podcast". Infinite Guest Podcast Network. Retrieved June 27, 2015.
  24. "Secret Skin ® | Podcast | APM Podcasts". APM Podcasts. Retrieved February 3, 2017.
  25. "Tights and Fights". Maximum Fun Network. August 5, 2016. Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  26. Lafyatis, Diana (supervising director); Sandra Lee (art director); Seo Kim & Somvilay Xayaphone (storyboard artists) (September 17, 2017). "Son of Rap Bear". Adventure Time. Season 9. Episode 17. Cartoon Network.
  27. "Comedy Central Picks Up 'Corporate', 'The New Negroes' & 'Taskmaster' To Series, Orders 9 Pilots". Deadline Hollywood. April 18, 2017.
  28. "Open Mike Eagle & MF Doom - 'Police Myself' (Music Video)". YouTube. April 25, 2019.
  29. "Open Mike Eagle & Danny Brown - 'Unfiltered' (Music Video)". YouTube. April 15, 2019.
  30. "Open Mike Eagle & Phonte - 'Woke as Me' (Music Video)". YouTube. May 2, 2019.
  31. "Open Mike Eagle & Lizzo - 'Extra Consent' (Music Video)". YouTube. May 9, 2019.
  32. Weiss, Jeff (July 8, 2010). "WTF Is Art-Rap?!". LA Weekly. Retrieved February 16, 2012.
  33. Caswell, Estelle (June 7, 2016). "How They Might Be Giants influenced art-rapper Open Mike Eagle". Vox. Retrieved October 30, 2018.
  34. Dart, Chris (June 23, 2016). "Put a little birdhouse in your rhymes: How They Might Be Giants influenced Open Mike Eagle". The A.V. Club. Retrieved October 30, 2018.
  35. "Buy Muy Drugs sells community and chaos | Atlanta Creative Loafing". Atlanta Creative Loafing. Retrieved June 19, 2018.
  36. "Pop & Hiss premiere: The Hellfyre Club's 'Prometheus' mixtape". Los Angeles Times. March 11, 2011. Retrieved February 16, 2012.
  37. Kaye, Ben (February 27, 2015). "Open Mike Eagle teams with Oddisee for "Celebrity Reduction Prayer" — listen". Consequence of Sound.
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