Rapper Milo reflects on violence, identity

By DUBRAY KINNEY
For The News-Letter

Hip hop musician Rory Ferreira, who goes by the stage name of Milo, performed on Friday, Oct. 23 alongside a number of other rappers at The Crown, including local talents such as Hemlock Ernst and Al Rogers, Jr.

As the third stop on Milo’s Late Sleeping Utopian tour, the show itself took place at the Crown’s Red Room, and the audience for the sets ranged from sparse to somewhat packed.

Milo, originally from Wisconsin, is known for his affiliation with the label Hellfyre Club, which features other contemporary alternative hip-hop artists such as Busdriver, Open Mike Eagle and Nocando.

Helming three new projects, Milo has had a big year in 2015. He appeared on a compilation with other Hellfyre Club members, Catcher of The Fade, and released an EP under his pseudonym, Scallops Hotel, entitled “Plain Speaking.” Yet his biggest project this year has to be his sophomore full-album release, “So the Flies Don’t Come,” which dropped in September.

According to Milo, this latest release came about as a spontaneous collaboration with Kenny Segal, a Los Angeles hip hop and electronic music producer.

“I was sleeping on Kenny Segal’s couch, and he’s a beat-maker, and I’m a rapper. So a rap album might get made,” he said.
Milo took the stage as the second-to-last act, and he garnered the largest audience. As his set started, the audience moved from nodding their heads slowly while the rhymes of the 23-year-old rapper meshed and flowed, dancing frantically as he played more up-tempo beats.

The rapper’s songs expressed existential feelings on a wide range of subject manners from race to identity. Throughout multiple portions of the show, opener Hemlock Ernst joined Milo on stage to rap his parts to songs featured on Milo’s latest release.

One moment that stood out in particular was when Milo paced back and forth as he rapped the chorus to his album’s closer, “Song About a Raygunn (An Ode to Driver).”

“I don’t even really have to rap, my n***er, it’s about if you can talk good,” Milo rapped.
This lyric became a sort of chant among the audience and also served to highlight a performance that featured poems and a wide range of sounds.

“I would say that every eight hours a black American is killed by a cop,” he said on what influenced “So the Flies Don’t Come,”

In an unfortunate turn of events for the rhythm of the performance, the majority of the audience left after Milo finished. As a result, the crowd missed the surprise final act. Al Rogers, Jr. followed Milo, and he looked out with disappointment when he noticed that the crowd that previously numbered at least 50-deep had fallen to only about eight persons.

The mass exodus is even more disappointing since Rogers, Jr. is a real standout within a growing Baltimore rap scene. Rogers, Jr. was backed up by another local musician and producer Drew Scott, whose work with Rogers, Jr. includes the upcoming “Luvadocious,” an album that serves as a collaboration between the two.

Although the show’s audience started out small, the energy and pace of Rogers, Jr.’s set gradually increased. With that increase in energy, a set that had been shortened to just a few songs garnered an encore.

A real highlight of Rogers, Jr.’s performance was midway through his third song when he threw down his microphone and began dancing frantically among the audience members.

As his performance came to an end, this reviewer was left with a really positive opinion of him and the manner in which he took a negative situation and managed to change it into a great performance nonetheless.

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