Posts from August 26th, 2011

Friday, 26 August 2011

New Article: Unboxing Open Mike Eagle’s “Rappers Will Die of Natural Causes”

Since you’re on the internets, you’ve probably heard of this “unboxing” thing that’s been happening the past few years. Basically, you film yourself opening the box of some piece of technology (like an iPad2 or Nintendo 3DS) and removing and cataloging all of the pieces in the box. The whole entire process. Yes, it’s ridiculous. Don’t believe me? Just search for unboxing on YouTube:

See? So of course I thought I’d try it.

BUT I’m not going to unbox a piece of technology, because that’s been done. I’m going to “unbox” a CD: Open Mike Eagle’s Rappers Will Die of Natural Causes. Because it’s awesome.

My apologies to Mr. Eagle:


By the way, those turkey burgers WERE pretty awesome.

Okay, okay, I did have a bit of fun with the video. But in all seriousness now: because the video is of such crappy quality, I also took photos of everything and present them here (click any of them for a larger version).

Here’s the CD as-is, in the jewel case and everything:

The back cover features the ghostly head of the homie Mike Eagle over a cityscape:

Here’s the inside of the insert, with a track list and a very cool illustration of the homie Mike Eagle:

Here in this two-spread inside of the insert is a technical illustration of the Mustang coffin, which is, by the way, completely badass:

Now the CD. Here we have a full-color illustration of three white people on a subway blatantly ignoring a black person lying on the floor of the subway, either passed out or dead. No way to tell. The illustration seems rather tongue-in-cheek with its faux-technical/instructional style:

Let’s pull that out of the case and take a look at it… There on the right you see Open Mike Eagle’s stylized double-arrow logo, which I think is a fantastic piece of graphic design:

The interior of the back-cover, what’s usually hidden behind the CD. It’s kinda hard to see it all while it’s still in the case…

So let’s pull it out and take a closer look–I can do that with two hands!

We see that the album is dedicated to the memory of Gil Scott-Heron, who was a musician who really and truly laid the foundations for hip hop as far back as the the early 1970s. He died just this May, likely from natural causes linked to his HIV infection. If you don’t know about Gil Scott-Heron, you’re truly missing out on one of the single most important musicians of the past 50 years. Read his Wikipedia article to get you started, but by all means do not stop there:

Anway, the rest of the interior back panel consists of more credits about the artists who contributed to the CD:

Produced by James McCall and Michael Eagle
Cover at by Nate James
Credit panel painting by Andrew Michael
CD art by Chris Harris
Mastering by Jim the Cleaner

Yeah, I had an ulterior motive for writing this article. I wanted to show off. I created the art for the CD of the subway scene. It’s based on an illustration that was in an educational pamphlet (from some Scandinavian country or the Netherlands or something) from a long, long time ago.

This is a big deal for me. Mike Eagle isn’t just some podunk musician who nobody has ever heard of; he’s one of the luminaries of hip-hop along with the likes of Busdriver, Dumbfoundead, and Blue Scholars. And if you haven’t heard of any of those, then why the fuck are you readin my website? Go get their music (preferably in a way that will actually put some coin in the musicians’ pockets) and listen to it! This album got up to at least #77 on the hip-hop chart on iTunes when it was released, beating albums by such superstars as 50 cent and Li’l Wayne. (of course, those people who got it from iTunes are unable to see my artwork on the CD since there is no CD involved in digital downloads…). It was the #3 selling album at access hip-hop. (

So I am inordinately honored to be a part of something so completely awexome. Yes, that’s right: so awesome that it’s awesome with an x: awexome.

So there you have it. An article about making fun of a ridiculous internet trend, an exploration of an excellent CD, and a bit of self-aggrandizing self-promotion all at the same time.

What do you think, Ocean Shores Pirate?

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