Chicago rapper balances heart, humor on excellent 'Brick Body Kids Still Daydream'

Chicago rapper Open Mike Eagle certainly knows his way around a punchline (there's a reason he titled his 2014 album Dark Comedy). But on Brick Body Kids Still Daydream, from 2017, the laughs carry considerably more weight.

The album, on which Eagle details life within Chicago's Robert Taylor Homes (a South Side housing project that was demolished in 2007), resists easy categorization, its dozen tracks offering different shades from within a community that is too often demonized, with outsiders calling for its destruction rather than attempting to understand or repair the societal ills fueling the rot. Indeed, the pain on the album-closing “My Auntie's Building” is palpable, with Eagle describing the implosion of the complex's final building in physical terms — “That's the sound of them tearing my body down” — and reminding listeners that this type of destruction rarely visits other communities. “They say America fights fair,” he raps. “But they won't demolish your timeshare.”

Be sure to arrive early to catch excellent local openers Sarob and Wyd, too.