I understand life is short. That point comes across everyday. Seems like each year more people I know pass on to the other side. Always coming close to my inner circle, but managing to stay just outside of it enough that I can go on another day. I can say a prayer, shed a tear, and let it go. Circle of life.
But this year has been something different. It’s begun to creep in closer and faster, so the bite is getting more difficult to swallow. More difficult to understand that “everything happens for a reason”. Within the last year, my mom lost her brother, my mother-in-law lost her husband, my dad his mother (my Grandmother), my Auntie lost her son (my cousin), my close friends lost close friends, and music lost Guru and Eyedea (amongst many others).
This week both Micheal “Eyedea” Larsen and my cousin Lamont “Toni” Thomas passed young and quickly and it has left me with a mind to full of memories and questions to silence..
The thing is, I wasn’t that close to either of them but they both impacted me. My cousin Toni may have not been in my life in my most recent years, but he was a face I remember being a part of my life growing up. He was a sign and a feeling of family. A place to belong. In his face I could see the face of my Auntie, the face of my father, the face of my Grandma. I could feel the Chicago/Minneapolis connection just by looking at a picture with him in it. Made me think of those moments where I felt like I belonged with my family, as different as we all were.
Eyedea was a huge part of my musical journey. I may have not even taken freestyling or emceeing seriously if I hadn’t came across Eyedea on the mic. It may sound silly, all of the emcee’s in the world, that I felt so connected and inspired by a young St. Paul kid, but something about watching him completely destroy a mic, made it approachable. I thought if this guy could so it in Minnesota, I had to at least give it a shot. Eric Sermon, Guru, Keith Murray, my other influences at the time were on TV, Radio.. but not in my city. Not at Bon Appetit on a weekend night, fueling my adolescent flame. For us, growing up in the independent hip-hop scene in the Twin Cities, it was like family. We watched each other grow on stage and off. Id sit in a room with a pen and pad and listen to “Monster Inside” that was burned on a cassette tape, on repeat, to get inspiration from Eyedea’s lyrics and style… to write flo’s of my own. I never came close to speed, delivery or style of Eyedea, but I did get the courage to get on the mic.
If it wasn’t for Atmosphere, Kanser, Desdamona, Oddjobs, Heiruspecs, Abstract Pack, Battlecats.. I wouldn’t have found my hip-hop family. Until then, I never felt a connection so strong and loving between peers. The love for Minneapolis Hip-hop, as small scale as it may have seemed to the rest of the world, it was the life for us.
I guess the point of all of this rambling is to say thanks to Mikey, for killin’ the mic SO nice, for any time I was able to share the stage or a laugh, for that time Indigo and I came to your studio to record those funny lines for that album (as humbling as that was lol!), and for putting yourself and emotions into your lyrics. Those moments will be what I remember when I think of you. Thanks for all you did for music.
To all of my blood family and extended that have left this year and before, I know you are still with me in spirit.
I miss Minneapolis today.