On October 16, 2010, the world lost one of its best-kept secrets. Michael “Eyedea’’ Larsen was only 28-years-old when he passed away, and there’s been an unfillable void left in music ever since. As an emcee he was one of the greats, wearing his heart on his sleeve with every bar and often giving the listener something to ponder and even some life-affirming comfort. He was loved by both his fans and peers and those who knew him bestowed him with high plaudits as both an artist and human being. Eyedea was one of the good ones. His music is introspective, philosophical, socially conscious and profoundly human. And like all great music, it’ll never be irrelevant.
At the tail-end of the ‘90s and early 2000s he rose to prominence on the battle circuit, winning notable freestyle competitions like Scribble Jam and HBO’s Blaze Battle and facing some notable opponents such as Immortal Technique, Slug, P.E.A.C.E. and Brother Ali. His performances naturally created some buzz and attracted the attention of some big hitters – including Diddy, who offered him a record deal – but Larsen chose to stick to his ethos and build his own label, Rhymesayers Entertainment, from the ground up.
The song I’d like to share my love of is “Here for You,’’ taken from his 2002 album The Many Faces of Oliver Hart. Not only is it probably my favourite song of his (“Smile’’ is also up there), but it’s also a showcase of what he was all about, and that was imparting the wisdom of a man who’d truly lived and survived. There’s a tortured soul there, but he channeled it to create positivity, and “Here for You’’ perfectly reflects that.
“We gotta learn to see the beauty in each moment of life
Everyone has different pasts and we’re seeking the light
The world is divided between peasants and kings
But the truth is everyone is looking for the same thing
Now I want you to know
The role you play is part of the whole
Without you it couldn’t be, and I mean that with compassion
So if you need anything, I mean anything at all
I’m here for you; all you gotta do is ask man
I’m here for you, in the same way that you’re here for me”
The song is serene and soothing, but hearing it now and being reminded that he’s no longer with makes it even more powerful, at least for me. It reminds me that even though he’s gone, he’ll never truly be gone, because his music boasts a special power to connect with me on a deeper level. Eyedea has songs for all types of moods and occasions, and that’s how I know his music will be important to me for the rest of my life. He shunned the mainstream and stuck to his convictions, using his platform to create art that matters – whether teaching, comforting, humouring, or reflecting on experiences we can all relate to in some form.
“Here for You’’ is the type of song that makes us want to appreciate the beauty in the world. It advocates appreciating the simple things. It encourages us to reach out to people and be there for them, whether they’re friends or complete strangers. It’s easy to wax lyrical about these themes on a record, but this is how Eyedea lived his life and the outpouring of sentiments of those who knew him can attest to that. Songs about promoting love, compassion and appreciating beauty are often corny, but when they’re genuine like this they’re pretty hard to beat. “Here for You’’ is one of the best songs of all time.