Milo Credit: Spencer Wells

Rory Ferreira, the rapper-producer better known Milo, who also records and performs as Scallops Hotel, is an artist who pushes himself endlessly. As a lyricist he packs scathing wit, emotive historical references, and magnetic pathos into easy-flowing lines. As a performer he’s in his element, further perfecting the way he rounds his syllables while retaining a natural amiableness even at his most ferocious; when he rips into the ugliest aspects of contemporary society it’s with a spirit that encourages his listeners to seek out something greater. He also frequently releases new music—August’s Who Told You to Think​?​?​!​!​?​!​?​!​?​! (released via his Ruby Yacht label) is Ferreira’s third full-length this year (though the only one he dropped as Milo)—and he constantly tours, which enables him to provide for his young family on his own terms. In addition, he finds time to share bits about his life with his fans: for nearly every song on the Bandcamp stream of Who Told You to Think, Ferreira wrote roughly a paragraph to detail its inception, such as how he wound up using local producer Harris Cole’s spacey instrumental for “Poet (Black Bean)” after meeting him at a show at Bric-a-Brac. These subtle touches have nudged me to dig deeper and pull back more layers of Ferreira’s music (an inevitability for many of his listeners), which often reveals elements in his songs I hadn’t previously picked up on. Beyond that, his work on Who Told You to Think stimulates me to critically examine the complexities of power dynamics, black life in the U.S., and—particularly as a white journalist who writes about music largely made by people of color—the role that I play in it all, and I’m still learning from the album.   v