For a duo that often paces its beats and rhymes like a greyhound running on Red Bull, MC Eyedea and DJ Abilities certainly take their sweet time between releases. Their impressive 2001 debut, First Born, introduced free-styling phenom Eyedea’s breakneck vocal delivery and Abilities’ signature scratching. Their follow-up, E&A, came three years later and is, unfortunately, still the most recent offering from these Minneapolis-based Rhymesayers mainstays.
Luckily, E&A has staying power. A bit more traditional in structure and sound than First Born, this 13-track effort keeps the emphasis on the duo’s strengths. The album’s standout single, “Now,” starts with Abilities filling every possible hole by deftly abusing his turntables before Eyedea steadily ramps up his rhymes to a veritable verbal assault. It’s impossible to track most of the lyrics, but things pop when he rolls off constant alliterations like, “Success ain’t only based on self esteem/It takes a sense to differentiate between/What’s yours and someone else’s dreams/I heard the screams…”
After three more years of side projects the duo has announced a new tour and plans to, finally, return to the studio. Here’s hoping the new material—which will be previewed on the road—has as much staying power as E&A. (Skylar Browning)
Eyedea & Abilities play The Other Side Thursday, Dec. 13, at 10 PM. $12.