Twin Cities rapper Eyedea died of drug overdose

  • Article by: PAT PHEIFER and CHRIS RIEMENSCHNEIDER , Star Tribune staff writers
  • Updated: November 18, 2010 - 8:16 PM
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St. Paul rapper Mikey (Eyedea) Larsen died of an accidental drug overdose, the Ramsey County medical examiner's office said.

Larsen, 28, was found dead Oct. 16 in his apartment in the 300 block of Laurel Avenue.

The cause of death was opiate toxicity, the medical examiner's office said. The manner was accidental, according to the office, which did not disclose the specific drugs involved.

Larsen's mother, Kathy Averill, said the day after his death that her son did not suffer any addiction issues. She could not be reached Thursday.

More than 2,000 people attended a public memorial service at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in downtown St. Paul on Oct. 28. A sellout crowd came out for a musical tribute to him at First Avenue in Minneapolis on Nov. 9, his birthday.

Larsen was half of hip-hop duo Eyedea and Abilities, which got its start touring with the Twin Cities' best-known hip-hop group, Atmosphere, and was one of the cornerstone acts of the internationally distributed Rhymesayers record label. He also led the freestyle jazz group Face Candy and experimental rock act Carbon Carousel.

While far from angelic, the Rhymesayers hip-hop crew that fostered Larsen since his teens has been recognized by industry watchers as a smart, positive alternative to the drug-dealing gangsta rap that permeated mainstream hip-hop in the past. Part of the Rhymesayers inner circle is made up of practicing Muslims known to avoid alcohol, including national star Brother Ali.

The Twin Cities music scene has seen a couple drug-related deaths in the past five years: St. Paul singer/songwriter Jeff Hanson, 31, in June 2009, and guitarist Bryan Ottoson of the metal band American Head Charge in 2005.

chrisr@startribune.com • 612-673-4658 ppheifer@startribune.com • 651-298-1551

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