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Milo: On a Horse with No Name

Dec 05, 2017

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“Yo, this the best rap show, tell everyone, tell everyone… the best rap show” proclaimed Milo, fiddling with his various effects knobs and midi keyboard, speaking with both the casual detached swagger of your cool uncle and the religious zeal of a preacher invoking the divine. I can’t disagree. I doubt anyone else there could either. St. Paul’s historic Turf Club was snugly populated, surprising for a 21+ venue on a Monday night. 

Milo, AKA Rory Ferreira, AKA Scallops Hotel, is a rapper from Kenosha, Wisconsin. Once a part of the art rap collective Hellfyre Club, which included frequent collaborators like Anderson .Paak, Busdriver, and Open Mike Eagle, Milo has gone solo, starting his own record label, the Ruby Yacht. Milo is known for his obtuse vocab-rich lyrics, referencing anything from philosophers like Schopenhauer and Hegel, to Anime and Videogames. Lyrically dense would be an understatement for Milo’s literary spoken-word delivery, making it difficult for most people, including me, to understand his lyrics without either a dictionary or a quick wikipedia search. The poetry and beauty of his words are evident, even if the meaning always isn’t, which is the appeal of Milo to me and the rest of his fans. Opening for Milo were Twin Cities natives Metasota and Greg Grease.

When the first opener, Metasota started earlier in the night, the venue was much sparser, however. Despite this, Metasota gave a lively and socially aware performance, rapping about police violence, racism, and spoke about the unequal treatment of women, to much fanfare from the audience. By the end of the impassioned performance, the room was taken by his performance and the hype was building for the next performer, Minneapolis native Greg Grease.

In the meantime, I decided to check out the merch table, stocked with cassette tapes, the preferred physical medium for Milo’s personal record label, Ruby Yacht. According to Milo in earlier interviews speaking about his choice of this now outdated medium, was that it was much more personal than a CD.; that the warmth of the cassette tape has a feeling of intimacy.

As I was checking out a zine of poetry called Silt Rifle, written by Milo’s labelmate Safari-Al, Greg Grease of afrofuturist R&B hip hop collective Zuluzuluu started performing his solo work. His performance was personal and comedic in tone at times, with a love song dedicated to the reefer and a song about his father called Rip Van Winkle. His flows rode and played with the beat effortlessly with some impressive rhyme schemes.

Shortly after, Milo casually sauntered in as Scallops Hotel, his side project. Scallop’s hotel is meant to be a more unfiltered and personal outlet for Ferreira-- rougher, rawer and completely self produced. Ferreira’s Milo projects are produced with an audience in mind as the polished canonized form of his work, with frequent collaborations from other rappers, singers, and beatmakers. He performed material from his new Scallops project, Over the Carnage Rose a Voice Prophetic, and previewed some music from his forthcoming scallops album. In between songs, Milo/ Scallops amusingly navigated his heckling fans asking him things like what his favorite Anime is (He reluctantly answered Hunter X Hunter), and after a short intermission and dress change, started his Milo set. By this time, the crowd was entranced by Milo’s performance, awkwardly and enthusiastically rapping along to his effortless bars.  He performed mostly from his new album Who Told You to Think??!!?!?!? As well as some tracks from his last LP So the Flies Don’t Come.

“Rap for mayor. Don’t vote, but rap for mayor,” Said Milo as he closed off his set.

I’ll lobby wholeheartedly for that.

Vishnu Namboodiripad