One day, there will be a book written about how, exactly, Southern Illinois University was a breeding ground for immense artistic talent during a wildly specific time frame. That was the late ‘90s and early 2000s, when Open Mike Eagle, Hannibal Buress, Serengeti, and Video Dave were all making their way through college, putting on rap shows for anyone willing to listen and comedy shows for anyone needing a laugh. Until that day arrives, though, we’re left to consume their work and try to figure out what was happening to the water in Carbondale, Illinois throughout this period.
While ‘Geti, OME, and Hannibal are household names (at least for those that know), Video Dave is a late arriver to the scene. He’s been rapping since his college days, but a false start and a successful foray into reality TV production postponed his career as an MC by a decade or so. But with Week 1560, Video Dave has helped usher in Open Mike Eagle’s new label, Auto Reverse Records. Dave’s own Bandcamp page is populated with old releases from his early days as an MC, but this record feels like a rebirth, a concept album about Dave stuck in a seven day cycle. Dave began working on the record in 2010, recorded it in 2012, and finally updated it earlier this year when Eagle solicited Dave for an Auto Reverse release.
Video Dave is a known entity for fans of Open Mike Eagle, as Dave has been an integral member of the OME tour unit for a few years. He started videoing all the shows, helping with footage for YouTube and Twitter, the sort of extra media you need to be providing when you’re an indie rapper. Then, Dave would occasionally rap a few verses during OME sets before eventually arriving as an opening artist in his own right. To unknowing fans, Dave’s impressive skills on the mic may come as a surprise, but with a back catalogue of albums, the MC’s rise and growth is easy to put into context. On the heels of Week 1560, we spoke with Dave about constantly retiring, trying to escape Open Mike Eagle’s shadow, and living the same week over and over. — Will Schube