04. Exhausted Love
05. Star Destroyer
07. One Twenty
08. Man Vs. Ape
09. Get Along
10. Two Men And A Lady
11. E&A Day
12. Act Right
Eyedea and Abilities is what you get when you combine the very best of two opposite ends of Hip-Hop's musical spectrum. On one end you have the M.C./Lyricist, Eyedea, who has proven himself time and time again not only as an extraordinary song writer, but also as a master at battling and the art of freestyling. On the other end you have Abilities, the D.J./Turntablist, who's talent from the battle, to the mix tape, to production has resonated on the underground for quite some time now. When you put these two extremes together, you get the new, innovative and exciting dynamic we like to call E&A.
All beats and scratches produced and cut up by DJ Abilities for
Low Budget High Class (ASCAP) additional production and cuts (victim, pan right) on "Two Men & A Lady" by DJ Infamous. Live bass on "Paradise", "Glass" and "Two Men & A Lady" by Sean McPherson.
All lyrics by Eyedea for Make Money & Die (ASCAP) additional lyrics on "Star Destroyer" by Carnage.
Engineered & Mixed by Eyedea at E&A Studios/St. Paul, MN
Mastered by Gene Grimaldi at Oasis Mastering/Studio City, CA
Artwork and Design by George Thompson for Burlesque.
Legal: Luke DeMarte/Seyfarth Shaw, LLP
Project Coordinator: Jason "J-Bird" Cook
Executive Producers: Eyedea & Abilities and Brent "Abu Siddiq" Sayers
E&A thank you.
Leave of Absence Tour featuring Eyedea... More
Eyedea & Abilities tour news plus... More
Confirmed dates for upcoming Eyedea... More
US Rel. Date: 03/23/2004
EU Rel. Date: 03/22/2004
What keeps E&A above the fold is variation rather than innovation. Musically, this record is all over the place. It's a sound collage with a variety of musical textures: plenty of samples (from movies to hip hop classics), kooky interludes a la Kid Koala, sudden jumps into double time, long scratching sessions, even just plain rapping. In Abilities' production you can feel the influence of both his battles at the DMC regionals and his work scratching on El-P's Fantastic Damage. He does a particularly excellent job of containing Eyedea, who might otherwise bring too much party to the party. Just when you start to feel bogged down with Eyedea's often grating voice, a long montage of scratches or classical music or a sample from Todd Solondz's Storytelling breaks up the monotony. Abilities even cuts Eyedea's voice into scratches, one obvious yet fruitful innovation that most hip hoppers rarely attempt.
Have no fear though, E&A is all about ego, and Eyedea gets to do his thing. When the beat suddenly doubles, our MC demonstrates an admirable staccato breath control, mimicking the scratches of the DJ, like trading fours in jazz form. He's got the gift of gab, and like most MCs he seems to be talking to himself as much as his audience, puffing himself up, manifesting the necessary braggadocio. The lyrics aren't exactly from the Compton streets, but they aren't hokey J5 positive shit either. There's just enough poetry about Eyedea's love psychoses and his 9-to-5 angst to keep it fresh. Indeed, Eyedea seems to have listened to his label boss Slug quite a bit: long breaths followed by short ones; echoed themes of bitterness, loneliness, lost love; an innate ability to tell a story; even the basic tone of his voice; it all mimics Mr. Daley.
Rather than exploding the hip hop genre, Eyedea and Abilities have chosen to be as creative as possible within it. There aren't that many pairs of one DJ and one MC left in hip hop, and these two bounce off one another as well as any duo currently working the circuits. Eyedea's style may alienate some, and Rhymesayers could do much worse than to release Abilities' beats sans vocals.
It begins with battle-champion MC Eyedea understating, "E&A in the house, bringing you some of that good hip-hop music."
With turntablist Abilities supporting Eyedea's silvery-tongued verses that braid braggadocio with thoughfulness, E&A renovate the old school with quirky inventiveness and audacious skills. Abilities fuses skewed funk beats with elastic jazz bass lines and effusive piano motifs that keep your noggin noddin' while spicing up things with warped instrumentation and wild-ass scratches. Over the disc's 13 tracks, Eyedea's flow changes up as often as Abilities' always-fascinating sample collages. And on "Man vs. Ape," the duo conduct the finest creation/evolution debate ever waxed on a hip hop release.
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