Max Bell believes the rules came from Slick Rick. 

Hellfyre Club stalwart and rap game P.T. Anderson Open Mike Eagle has inked a three album deal with indie rap label Mello Music Group for 2014 and 2015. The first of the triad will be Mike’s next album, Dark Comedy, which is slated for release this summer. If his last two LPs (Rappers Will Die of Natural Causes and 4nml Hsptl) are any indication, Dark Comedy should be added to the ‘Most Anticipated Rap Albums of 2014’ Google Doc you share with your Internet rap friends immediately.

When asked (via e-mail) whether signing with MMG would affect his relationship with Hellfyre, Mike had this to say:

Hellfyre black magic chess club

This year we’re putting pieces everywhere cause the rules came from the rulers and the club recognizes no authority

Wu-tang forever

Along with the announcement, Mike and MMG have released an official video for “Qualifiers.”

Arguably among Mike’s best songs to date (see also “Universe Man” and “Nightmares”), “Qualifiers” is the sound of industrial rap played by a nursery room mobile; equally soothing and head-nodding. Here Mike turns your temporal isolation into something both catchy and contemplative, packing his verses with enough punch, pathos and jazz/dad jokes to make you feel several types of ways simultaneously. The chorus is reserved for subtle commentary on rap’s love/hate affair with self-declared mic supremacy. I’ve written words about this track elsewhere, so I’ll end by saying that Mike remains inimitable in his ability to make soft-spoken raps as analytic as they are melodic and moving.

The visuals dress up Mike’s charismatic delivery with After Effects sparks, scratches, and brush strokes of every synesthetic hue. Sometimes they shoot across the screen, sometimes they fuse with Mike’s body. This is rap video balling for those who’d flip the Bugatti they woke up in for their child’s college fund.

If you weren’t already aware, Mike is currently on tour with the rest of the ‘black magic chess club’ (dates below). They will be rapping, showing off their exotic socks, and gorging themselves on Target sushi and almond milk.

2/26/14  – Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry tickets:

2/27/14 – Chicago, IL @ Schubas Tavern –tickets:

2/28/14 – Grand Rapids, MI @ The Pyramid Scheme – tickets:

3/1/14 – Cincinnati, OH @ Northside Tavern

3/3/14 – Montreal, QC @ Il Motore tickets:

3/5/14 – Philadelphia, PA @ The Barbary tickets:

3/6/14 – New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge – tickets:

3/7/14 – Boston @ The Middle East tickets:

3/8/14 – New Haven, CT @ Stella Blues

3/9/14 – Washington, D.C. @ DC9 tickets:

3/10/14 – Charlotte, NC @ Snug Harbor – Free Show

3/11/14 – Atlanta, GA @ Masquerade tickets:

3/13/14 – SXSW

3/14/14 – SXSW

3/15/14 – SXSW

3/16/14 – SXSW

3/18/14 – Phoenix, AZ @ Crescent Ballroom tickets:

3/20/14 – Tucson, AZ Opti Club/Congress

3/21/14 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Mint

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