Previous Industries is three Chicagoans of a certain age—Open Mike Eagle, Video Dave, and STILL RIFT—who currently reside in LA. In a city where transplants often say they find it hard to connect with new people, these guys found a way around that by delving into the past to rekindle old connections. When that connection was made, they seemed to stay in the past, rapping about anything and everything but always bolstered by nostalgia and shared memories.
The innate chemistry between them as rappers could only be achieved because of their long-standing friendships, something that is evident in their multiple previous collaborations. It is only now that they have officially formed a group around this commonality. Previous Industries marks their official debut as a group by sharing a preview of what 2024 has in store with their double single “Showbiz” and “Braids”
Showbiz” (produced by Child Actor) is an intentional song designed to be an introduction, a handshake, and an offer to buy you a drink. It’s a declaration of who Previous Industries is and what they are all about: “Gather round / We’re the new fools in town / And our sounds lay down by the underground.”
“Braids” (produced by Quelle Chris) harkens back to the era of freestyle ciphers where a group of people make a circle and make up rhymes on the spot that usually follow the rhyme of the last person. It’s the three-man weave in basketball. It’s braided-rope Double Dutch in a church courtyard.
Open Mike Eagle needs no introduction. An emcee, comedian, and podcaster, Open Mike Eagle coined the term “art rap” to describe his whip-smart, literate style of hip-hop, which draws inspiration from Freestyle Fellowship and De La Soul as well as They Might Be Giants and Pavement. While he has ten albums to his name, a few of the many critically acclaimed highlights are Brick Body Kids Still Daydream (2017), Anime, Trauma and Divorce (2020), and Component System with the Auto Reverse (2022). All the while, he has become a respected figure in the comedy world, co-hosting several podcasts as well as the Comedy Central series The New Negroes.
Video Dave first met Mike on the campus grounds of Southern Illinois University where an innate creative bond was formed on campus while honing their skills alongside other notable figures Hannibal Buress and Serengeti. For the uninitiated, Video Dave is a Chicago-bred rapper, TV producer, beatmaker, and writer who notably worked with Open Mike Eagle on The New Negroes where Dave was a musical guest with both Mike and Method Man as well as working on the production of the show. In 2023, he released ArticulatedTexTiles which includes features from OME and STILL RIFT. That album earned a slew of critical praise including being named one of July’s best hip-hop albums by Bandcamp. A true multi-hyphenate artist, he has had a creative hand in seemingly disparate corners of modern-day culture—from sewing to reality TV shows to Prince performing at the Super Bowl, somehow Dave has a connection.
Enter STILL RIFT, a high school friend of Mike’s whom he has lovingly described as “a mystery wrapped in an enigma.” While he has not released his own music, he has made numerous appearances turning out memorable features on others’ projects. He was most recently featured on OME’s 2023 album Another Triumph of Ghetto Engineering, as was Video Dave.