Before Eyedea & Abilities became the renowned MC/DJ pair, they were Micheal "Eyedea" Larsen and Gregory "Max" Keltgen, two friends from Minneapolis. In their high school days in 1997, they entered the battle circuit, gaining recognition with significant wins, including the 1999 Scribble Jam and the 2000 HBO-televised Blaze-Battle World Championships. Opting to sign with fellow Minnesotans Rhymesayers Entertainment, they released their debut album, "First Born," in 2001, an introspective concept album reflecting on hip-hop and life. Their second album, "E&A," came out in 2004, and "By the Throat" arrived in 2009. Tragically, on October 17, the following year, Eyedea passed away in his sleep due to an apparent drug overdose.