Milo Talks Living Through Rap & Drops Visual For 'Take Advantage of the Naysayer' [Premiere]
“I rap because this is how young, Black people do philosophy in 2018.”
Rapper Milo has amassed a steadfast following of fans throughout a career spanning just shy of a decade. Having released upwards of 15 projects, in 2018 he’s solidifying his place in the pantheon of artists who’ve maintained independence at the crux of the music industry’s reckoning with large labels and gatekeepers.
Milo is the nom de plume of Rory Ferreira, the 26-year-old Maine-based rapper. A stint in Los Angeles for part of his career drained his spirit, but amplified his calling. Milo places his purpose in creating and craftsmanship. Opting out of the trite struggling-indie-artist narrative, Milo thrives off rap.
Fresh off last month’s tour, Milo is back on road this March in Europe. He’s maintained his momentum with his latest visual release of “Take Advantage of the Naysayer,” a track off Who Told You To Think??!!?!?!?!. The album is his most recent of his projects, which he often releases as limited edition cassette tapes through the Ruby Yacht record label he founded in 2015.
The video, directed by Ben Clarkson is a mixed media, psychedelic interpretation of lyrics that Milo says “lends itself to a non-literal visual vocabulary.” There are raps about frequenting art galleries with Open Mike Eagle, white people on spaceships, and a scene that looks like it was plucked from a classic anime film with a ruby yacht drifting over a dark sea, in what could sure enough serve as a hallmark of an artist’s willingness to continue creating; when the atmosphere of the industry appears bleak, a pulse is blood-red and still beating.
Milo spoke with Okayplayer for a brief conversation on creation, craftsmanship, passion and purpose:
In an interview with Touré, Blackthought lamented that new-wave rappers don’t read, and it’s apparent in the music. You’re heralded for the literary references within your lyrics. Looking back to the time when Who Told You To Think??!!?!?!?! drop
I would like to be heralded less for reference and more for the effect of the reference. In the modern time we communicate in SEO: that is keywords, inference, reference and scanning. For whatever reason people who write about music think it is astonishing that I have synthesized this.
Reading is one way to receive but listening is another. Having a kid has me out in the world in an entirely new way; actively searching and conversing for knowledge of a highly specific type. So while I was not reading as much as I did, in say, college, I was and am speaking more than ever, and by extension, receiving more than ever. You have to restore the well of inspiration, this is a rule. Reading is one method, but not the only. I would lament the death of listening before reading.
In an interview, you mentioned the need to “reclaim my narrative,” in response to comparisons being made between yourself and Earl Sweatshirt.
That was said in response to a ‘lil more than being compared to Earl. It was about outgrowing the niche of ‘college rapper.’ My career started in a dorm room, some folks expected it to remain there.
You described your current wave as “grown man indie-rap.” How has/does time affect[ed] your craft?
I have an abundance of time and so my craft is abundant too : )
How much do you think questions of your independent-artist-status and if you’d ever sign to a big label are grounded in the idea that music can only be made for the purpose of profit? In other words, why do you rap?
Music can never be made in purpose of profit. That’s the thing. Maintaining my independence means I never disrupt that equilibrium. I love living off my art and the lifestyle it affords me, but I do not cling to it. I don’t fear work. This is work. I rap because this is how young Black people do philosophy in 2018.
Check out Milo’s “Take Advantage of the Naysayer” visual and his March tour dates below: