Reuniting with the same Abilities and new Eyedeas

Rapper Eyedea and DJ Abilities reunite for a tour that fans hope will turn into more.

Megan Kadrmas

It has been three years since Eyedea and Abilities released their underground classic, “E&A.”

Eyedea, who gained recognition for his skills as a battle MC – most notably for winning Blaze Battle in 2000 and Scribble Jam in 1999 – partnered up with DJ Abilities in 2001 to release their first record, “First Born.”

Eyedea & DJ Abilities

WHEN: 9 p.m., Dec. 20
WHERE: Triple Rock Social Club, 629 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis
TICKETS: 18+, $10 advance, $12 at door, www.triplerocksocialclub.com

The hip-hop pair both hail from Minnesota and signed onto local Rhymesayers Entertainment to release “First Born” and “E&A.”

After gaining national attention, especially in the underground hip-hop club culture, Eyedea started experimenting with jazz and rock music.

He formed two bands that were definitely outside of the rigid classifications of hip-hop and spent most of the last year focusing on those projects.

Now, after Eyedea took some time away from the hip-hop scene to explore other musical genres, he is reuniting with DJ Abilities for a series of shows scattered around the country.

“We’re reconnecting musically with each other,” Eyedea said. “At the same time, we’re reconnecting with people who like our music.”

Although Eyedea said that he and Abilities remained friends while they were both exploring music outside of their band, this tour exemplifies a rejoining of the forces that made their first collaboration successful.

For many fans, some of whom stumbled upon the group during their artistic hiatus, the chance to see Eyedea and Abilities on the same stage is an opportunity some were not sure would arise.

“People are still just discovering the record,” Eyedea said. “People seem pretty excited.”

While Eyedea was creating rock and jazz music with his other bands, DJ Abilities focused on his own career. Abilities, who gained recognition in his own right as a battle DJ, won the 1999 and 2001 DMC Regional championships.

Although the two musicians have spent a considerable amount of time away from the studio together, Eyedea said their separation has positive outcomes as well.

“Taking what we’ve learned, him solo DJing and me with Carbon Carousel and Face Candy, we’re new people as friends and musicians and artists,” he said.

Besides having the chance to explore other musical genres, Eyedea said he had some important revelations about his role in hip-hop.

“Artistically, I needed to do other things,” he said. “But now I’m at this point where I have these other things and now I want to go back to hip-hop and make it successful.”

He added that he realized it would be unfair to his fans and selfish of himself to say that he would never do hip-hop music again.

Although every fan won’t be able to see the reunited Eyedea and Abilities – the tour is limited to select cities where their fan base is most concentrated – they can expect new music soon.

“I would say that it’s premature to announce an actual album in the making,” Eyedea said. “But we will be playing some new stuff on the tour.”