Like many artists, LA-based, Chicago-bred “art rapper” Open Mike Eagle is grappling with the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent shutdowns on his life, as well as those of ongoing civil unrest and a looming, critical election day. In response, he has issued the cathartic and defensive “Neighborhood Protection Spell (Lana Del Biden Nem).” Over a slow-churning beat, Mike incants his thoughts on the unnerving vibes 2020 has brought on. Incidentally, though, the song was written before the worst of the news unraveled, yet accurately responds to much of it, if obliquely.
In a statement explaining the new track, Mike elaborates, “When I wrote this song the world was not on fire yet. I had felt subtle attacks on Blackness from Joe Biden and other public figures. Notions that were harmful about authenticity. Notions that called our behavioral and consumption choices into question without any reference to the historical context that they are couched in. I made this song as a spell to ward off subtle social attacks at Blackness. I put a lot in it to make sure it works.”
Mike’s 2020 stands in stark contrast to 2019, when his New Negroes show with Baron Vaughn sparked one hilarious video after another for several weeks, including “Eat Your Feelings,” “Woke As Me,” and “Extra Consent.” Hopefully, his protection spell works and we can all get back to chuckling at the idiosyncrasies of everyday life rather than fretting about the end of the world soon enough.
Listen to Open Mike Eagle’s “Neighborhood Protection Spell” above.