Indie rap that marches to own beats in Black Mountain

From staff reports

Rap in the Swannanoa Valley is a pretty rare thing, so the Aug. 14 show by Open Mike Eagle and Serengeti at White Horse Black Mountain is fun on a lot of levels.

The two rappers share a wryly satirical sensibility in rhymes that explore the existential absurdities of life.

Open Mike Eagle (Michael Eagle) grew up in Chicago listening to alt rock and underground rap, eventually attending college and honing his freestyling skills at Southern Illinois University. After graduating with a degree in psychology, he moved to Los Angeles and quickly immersed himself in the experimental hip-hop scene. He positioned himself as a witty outsider with strong links to the comedy world, and has appeared on the Hannibal Burris show, among others. His work generated a major buzz in 2013 when he was named Impose Magazine’s Rapper of the Year, and his most recent album, “Dark Comedy,” was named one of Rolling Stone’s best rap albums of 2014.

“I’m bad at sarcasm, so I work for absurdity,” Eagle said.

Serengeti, aka David Cohn, is a product of both Chicago’s South Side and the suburbs, and his work reflects situations and characters from both worlds. His work references soul, pop, rock and psychedelia. With his 2006 release “Dennehy,” a character-based concept album filled with Chicago landmarks and sports references, Serengeti firmly established himself as an iconoclastic rap original.

His recent output is wide-ranging, from party rap to experimental electronics, unified by the artist’s gimlet-eyed worldview.

Poets with beats

Who: Open Mike Eagle and Serengeti

When: 9 p.m. Aug. 14

Where: White Horse Black Mountain

Cost: $15 advance, $20 door