Celebrating two decades since the landmark debut of the iconic duo Eyedea & AbilitiesRhymesayers Entertainment proudly presents First Born (20 Year Anniversary Edition), releasing on April 22, 2022. The highly-sought album has been long out-of-print on vinyl and CD, until now. The limited-edition 2xLP boasts two-color galaxy effect vinyl and includes a bonus 12” pressed on ultra-clear, laser-etched, and UV printed vinyl complete with four bonus tracks—“Pushing Buttons”, “Architect’s Theme”, “Before & After” (feat. Blueprint), and the “Before & After”instrumental. Not to mention, images of Eyedea’s original handwritten lyrics adorn the printed record sleeves. The CD packaging consists of a custom die-cut slipcase and a 6-panel wallet that also features images of those handwritten lyrics and includes one singular bonus track “Before & After” (feat. Blueprint), as does the limited cassette.
Pre-order the 20 Year Anniversary Editionand exclusive First Born merchandise HERE.
Eyedea & Abilities initially emerged out of St. Paul, MN in 2001 with First Born and immediately inspired tastemaker curiosity and praise. AV Club applauded, “With First Born, Eyedea and the Rhymessayers collective continue to rewrite hip-hop in their own iconoclastic image,” going on to hail it as “an album so rich in ambition, ideas, and humanity.” Meanwhile, Pitchfork dubbed it “dense, literate, focused,” and HipHopDX went as far as to christen it one of “The 30 Best Underground Hip Hop Albums Since 2000.” the outlet noted, “There are some great conceptual tracks including ‘Color My World Mine’ and fan favorite ‘Big Shots’.” This 18-track opus illuminated the deft and dynamic power of these Midwest indie trailblazers, shoring up their quiet legacy in the process.
If you haven’t experienced First Born, now is the time. Stream and download the original HERE.
Michael “Eyedea” Larsen and Gregory DJ Abilities Keltgen first met in the mid-90s and soon began a working relationship that would play a prominent role in the burgeoning Indie-Rap movement of the time. After numerous successes across nearly every notable MC or DJ battle of the late ’90s and early ’00s, including HBO’s Blaze Battle, the Rocksteady Anniversary, Scribble Jam, the DMC’s and more, they had already cemented their legacies both as individuals in the battle scene and as the dynamic duo, Eyedea & Abilities, for their live performances and showmanship. However, determined not to be dismissed as one-dimensional, they set out to prove they were to be taken just as seriously at writing and recording. Together, they developed a near symbiotic creative union that produced three albums—First Born; E&A; and By The Throat—before Eyedea tragically passed away in 2010, at the age of 28.
The release of their debut album, First Born, had revealed their talents to be much more versatile and expansive than previously expected. The boastful arrogance and punchlines that had become synonymous with battling were notably scarce on the album. Eyedea chose to tackle subjects that were more conceptual and philosophical in nature, focusing on matters of reality and altered states of perception while pushing his urgent, dense delivery into darker, more abstract terrain. Meanwhile, DJ Abilities was able to craft worlds of depth and emotion, pairing hauntingly suspenseful beats with meticulous turntablism. The resulting album was rich in ambition, ideas and humanity. First Born came at the forefront of an exciting new era of underground hip-hop, delivering messages that emphasized questions over answers, ambiguity over certainty, and self-expression over exploitation, to an audience that was eager to expand their horizons beyond the commercial programming and clichés of the time.