As snow flurried through the air on a bone-chillingly cold Wednesday night, rap fanatics from all over Madison crowded into High Noon Saloon to watch 25-year-old rapper Rory Ferreira, rapping under the name Milo, show off his lyrical — and comical — prowess. Milo’s 2017 project Who Told You to Think??!!?!?!?! was among the best of the entire year, and he used his return to Madison as a way to show why he’s one of the best in the game right now.
Maryland-raised and Midwest-based rapper CRASHprez kicked off the show by imploring the scattered crowd to move in closer to the front. He bounded through several tracks before diving into an off-the-top freestyle, most notably focused on his notoriety for still being part of the “android gang.” To finish off the set, CRASHprez got the crowd to sing back the chorus to his song “ILLEGAL” followed by a mosh-pit inducing rendition of “Fascists Don’t Cry.”
“Thanks for coming to the rap show,” Ferriera finally said to the audience when he emerged on stage.
Ferreira began his performance as Scallops Hotel, the alternative, experimental side project to his work as Milo. With the lights dimmed to their absolute minimum, he was but an outline on the stage as he manufactured and layered beats in live time while layering rhyme after rhyme. He drew closer to the finale of his Scallops Hotel set and vanished into the back room for a brief intermission.
Those unfamiliar with Ferreira seemed confused by the short set devoid of Milo material, but after roughly ten minutes, he returned as Milo. Part three of the rap show was underway.
Ferreira began his set the same as his latest project, with the lines, “Ghiath Matar is dead/ Roses are not armour/ In my neighborhood, it was become a poet or a farmer.” From that point on, Ferreira played some of the highlights from Who Told You to Think??!!?!?!?! including “Landscaping,” “Magician” and “Sorcerer” in addition to favorites from his 2015 record, So the Flies Don’t Come.
With no shortage of jokes and jabs at the audience (all well-received), his set was pure fun. As always, Ferreira’s lyrical dexterity seemed effortless. His rhymes, flows and delivery seemed second nature to him — a sign that he is nothing but comfortable with his craft. Despite playing more than a full album’s worth of material, the set felt like it lasted no more than 20 minutes. Much to my dismay, my favorite deep cuts didn’t make it into the final setlist, but the show was incredible without them. Ferreira showed that he’s one of the most talented MC’s out there right now. We can only hope he comes back to Madison sooner rather than later.