Kevin “Earleybird” Earley returns with a new, high-concept rap album to coincide with his appearance in a new documentary on Mental Health in America from Ken Burns. As a person who now successfully lives with the serious mental illness of bi-polar disorder, Kevin Earley has been hospitalized five times for experiencing psychotic delusions, and was shot by police with a taser while experiencing a mental health psychotic break as a young adult. The documentary shines a light on America’s Mental Health crisis and helps to facilitate discussion and reduce stigma.
Over the course of 17 tracks, his new album, “The Divine Comedy” takes the listener on a memorable journey through the realms of Hell, Purgatory and Heaven, as a metaphor for spiritual growth and reconciliation through hardship. The album features legendary Dungeon Family orator, Big Rube, who has recited poetry on several classic OutKast albums, as the narrator of the epic story.
Big Rube helps guide Earleybird, who stars as the main character Dante, first through the levels of the Inferno. With assistance from DJ Ragz, who stars as Dante’s guide Virgil, Earleybird explores the themes of the Seven Deadly Sins, with one song corresponding to each sin. Then after a brief interlude in Purgatory with Big Rube, Earleybird makes his way to Paradise, with a song addressing each of the Seven Heavenly Virtues with the singer Maria playing the role of Beatrice. Finally the album comes to a conclusion with the arrival in the Empyrean, the actual dwelling place of God, where Earleybird realizes the point of his journey and the story ends.
There are parallels between the story of Dante and the story of Kevin Earley, as Dante’s descent into Hell is similar to Kevin’s descent into the insanity and madness of living with a serious mental illness and likewise, Kevin’s eventual overcoming of that condition and work in the community is a message of hope that resonates like Dante’s arrival in Heaven.
In addition to his work with youth who live with serious mental illnesses, Earleybird has been writing, self-producing, performing and releasing music through the internet for over twenty years. He also is a nationally in-demand public speaker for his life story of redemption and perseverance through serious mental illness, speaking at colleges, hospitals, conventions , seminars and he even spoke once at an actual psych ward in Alabama.
Album comes in a clear, plastic, comic-book bag with white board. Album is contained on corresponding USB drive attached to 48 page lyric booklet. Only available in continental United States.