Friends and family of late Minneapolis underground rapper Michael "Eyedea" Larsen will gather in his hometown Thursday to honor the Rhymesayers MC, who died Saturday at home at the age of 28 of yet-undetermined causes.
A public wake for Larsen will take place from 7:30 to 10 p.m. Thursday in the Grand Ballroom at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in St. Paul, Minnesota, with the family asking that any flowers be set to arrive on the day of the event, care of the hotel. Those wishing to make donations for the funeral can visit a PayPal site set up by Larsen's mother, Kathy Averill.
A week later, fans and fellow rappers will gather for a celebration honoring Larsen at Minneapolis' famed First Avenue club, slated to take place November 9. The show begins at 5 p.m. and is open to all ages with a $20 suggested donation; tickets will go on sale Monday, with a limited amount available to out-of-town fans through Etix.com.
There will also be a radio tribute Saturday from 9 to 11 p.m. CT, available on 90.3 FM in Minneapolis, 106.7 FM in St. Paul, or online at Rhymesayers.com, Facebook.com/rseradio or KFAI.org. The show will feature Larsen's music and memories from friends. If you would like to participate, send stories or anecdotes to Twitter.com/rseradio, Facebook.com/rseradio or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Since his death, a number of tributes have poured in to the nimble MC known for his razor-sharp battle rap and freestyle skills and unpredictable storytelling gifts. One of the most touching was from his longtime musical partner and childhood friend, Greg "DJ Abilities" Keltgen. "Mike was the closest friend I ever had," he said. "He was as caring as he was brilliant and was a true prodigy. I am honored to have been in his life and to have created with him and help spread his messages. He was a great human being and he will be missed."
Another Minneapolis rap fixture, friend and collaborator Sean "Slug" Daley of Atmosphere, said Larsen was one of his inspirations. "My friend, my brother. I do not know who I would be without your influence in my life," he said. "You challenged me without tearing me down. You pushed and encouraged me to be a better person. You had my back even when I didn't have my own back. Your words, thoughts, and ideas impacted me in ways that I probably haven't fully realized yet. You made me laugh and cry. You made me look and question. Thank you for everything. I love you Mikey."
Fellow Rhymesayers rapper Brother Ali called Larsen a "precious soul," adding, "We're better artists for working with him and better people for knowing him. He added so generously to our lives and his passing leaves an empty space in our hearts. His spirit will forever be entwined in our life changing moments. Thank you, Mikey for sharing your light with us. We love you so very much and your music, insight and laughter will never leave us."
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