Formerly known as Milo, R.A.P. Ferreira has been one of the prominent figures in the lo-fi hip hop scene for the better half of a decade at this point. Over the years, he’s progressed in every sense of the word, and that’s what led to him the illustrious 2020 he had, which was headlined by his acclaimed Purple Light Moon Pages. Kicking off the new year, Ferreira has already released a new album titled bob’s son: R.A.P. Ferreira in the garden level cafe of the scallops hotel. Fusing together his two alternative personas (R.A.P. Ferreira and scallops hotel), will this project be able to show this gifted MC’s artistic arsenal to the fullest?
Going into the LP, it may be confusing trying to comprehend what the various skits and lyrics are alluding to. From the spoken word intro “battle report” to the climactic pinnacle “rejoice,” there are subtle references embedded in every moment, but it’s hard to grasp the overall message. While the Chicago native’s songwriting is well thought out and proficient, it’s not until the outro “Abomunist Manifesto” where this complicated picture finally starts to get painted. After analyzing the previously stated track thoroughly, the project’s core narrative becomes clearer than ever, and things finally start to make sense. Taking inspiration from a manifesto written in 1959 of the same name, we see Fererria try to take down the modern world with these age-old teachings. Written by African beat poet Bob Kaufman, this controversial but well thought out document’s main principle is to attack corrupt governments in an array of ways. Coming back to this 12 track allegory, R.A.P. Fererria attempts to flesh this out with his illusive pen game.
Possibly the most significant asset Fererria has going for him is that he doesn’t rap, he converses with you. Highlighted on moments like “Skrenth” and “Bobby Digital’s Little Wings,” the mellow delivery of this bold MC puts him in a class of his own. While his vocal creativity is off the charts, this isn’t always a good thing as cuts like “Yamships, Flaxseed” feel a little too dull and lifeless to be anything of notability. Still, most of this record consists of pretty solid moments like the satirical “High Rise In Newark” and the rhyming exercise “Sips of Ripple Wine”. Going back to the project’s core ideals, there’s a handful of tracks, including “The cough bomber’s return” and “Redguard Sniper,” which feel completely meaningless in the grand scheme of things. With this and the previously stated minor issues, bob’s son feels like it’s working towards a whole lot of nothing.
Sonically, the lo-fi style utilized by Ferreira on his previous record and many of the other visionaries in his lane is utilized and forged by his alter ego, scallops hotel. Each song is well produced and unique, making at least the instrumental side of things feel interesting and distinct. Whether it’s the minimalistic “Diogenes On the Auction Block” or the oddly satisfying off-kilter riffs on “Sips of Ripple Wine,” the sonic abstractness honestly shows how far hip hop and the entire “post rap” wave has come. “Listening” was a definite sonic standout with its distorted piano melody and its soft but rowdy background drums. Another touch that comes into play in many of the songs are the various insertions of vocal clips relating to the previously stated Abomninusist Manifesto. A bunch of philosophical principles are preached about in these breaks, and while it should be adding cotext to the ever-building universe of the project, it just feels like it’s trying to rub in your face that the record is a concept album. Overall, every instrumental here is multi-layered and well crafted, but with holes in both the vocal performance and conceptual exploration, there’s only so much weight it can hold up.
Walking away from bob’s son: R.A.P. Ferreira in the garden level cafe of the scallops hotel, I still think the R.A.P. Ferreira era of Milo’s career is nothing mind-boggling. The ideologies behind this LP certainly raised my interest, but after unfolding the project for an entire week, I’ve still found nothing of significance outside of a few spoken word skits. Going forward, R.A.P. Ferreira certainly has the skills to achieve greatness, but as it stands right now, he’s just another MC putting out decent releases in the lo-fi wave.
- R.A.P. Ferreria is a great lyricist
- Lo-fi production is diverse and intuitive
- Great idea for a concept
- Poorly executed concept
- Ferreria’s delivery is lifeless a lot of the time
- When Ferreria tries to sing or harmonize it throws off all established momentum
- Solid music but with no strong message or overlying narrative, it’s just very forgettable
Written by: Marc Dator
Scored and edited by: Marc Dator founder and owner of Fantastic Hip Hop