In the 2010s, Rory Allen Phillip Ferreira became a national force in underground hip-hop rapping as Milo. He retired that name in 2018 and now performs as R.A.P. Ferreira, but the whimsical, introspective spirit of his work as Milo remains intact. Ferreira builds his raps like Rube Goldberg machines, so that his tongue-twisting lines move like a chain of mechanical doodads executing flamboyant flourishes. This helps him cast simple mundanities in an unfamiliar light, as he does on “Laundry,” from the 2020 double LP Purple Moonlight Pages. He won’t make laundry feel like less of a chore, but you may reconsider what running the dryer means to your life: “You know the devil is a liar, silk pants don’t go in the dryer / Hang ’em on the back of boppa’s recliner,” he raps. “I feel inspired by the shuffle of my fold / Cut a jib, born of my rib / We should have four or five hundred kids / I wonder how many loads of laundry that is.” Ferreira is a Chicago native, but he’s led an itinerant life for the past decade or so: he lived in Los Angeles, Milwaukee, and Maine before settling in Nashville a few years back. He’s built a collective of like-minded rappers and producers called Ruby Yacht, and the collective’s label operation released two R.A.P. Ferreira albums in 2021: January’s Bob’s Son and November’s The Light Emitting Diamond Cutter Scriptures. On both full-lengths, Ferreira drops verses that move like Slinkys as they walk the line between diaristic and impressionistic; many of the songs have a dreamlike quality, thanks to their gauzy instrumentals and his understated performances. Ferreira packs his music with arcane and obscure references but also keeps it grounded in daily life—sometimes daily life in Chicago. The only mention of jibaritos in “Humboldt Park Jibaritos” is the title, but he raps like he lives here and can tell you the best out-of-the-way spot to order one.
R.A.P. Ferreira, Open Mike Eagle, Blax, Udababy, DJ Taye, Thu 6/9, 7:30 PM, Epiphany Center for the Arts, 201 S. Ashland, $27, $25 in advance, 21+