Album Review | R.A.P. Ferreira – Purple Moonlight Pages

This album was released on March 6th this year. I was personally super late to the R.A.P. Ferreira party. Well, that’s not true. I was late to the milo party though. That’s who this is. I’m pretty sure the main reason he changed his stage name is because of that alt-right troll who blew up around the time of Donald Trump’s election. His first name was Milo. I don’t remember what his last name was. I think it was some long ass complicated shit that I couldn’t pronounce. I don’t know. Fuck that dude. Anyway, the artist in question is named Rory Ferreira, and his current stage name is R.A.P. Ferreira. The first project I ever listened to by him was budding ornithologists are weary of tired analogies. I liked that album, but I’ve gone back to all his other solo albums since then, and it’s actually my least favorite so far. It’s a good album, but Who Told You to Think??!!?!?!?! is easily my favorite. When I first started listening to him, I kinda felt like he was a super pretentious hipster magnet, which I guess could still be true, but I’m less apprehensive towards his style these days. I wasn’t really crazy about the Ruby Yacht album that dropped last year, but it had some dope shit on it. The nOstrum grOcers album was dope too. I’ve seen a lot of praise for this album already, and the two singles that I’ve heard were really stellar, so I’m honestly expecting this to be one of the best albums of the year. It’s entirely produced by The Jefferson Park Boys, which is a production trio consisting of Mr. Carmack, Kenny Segal, and Mike Parvizi. I don’t think I’d ever heard of Mike Parvizi before this album came out, but I already know these beats are about to be top tier.


1. Decorum

This is a really good intro. The entire track is pretty much an incredibly eloquent and verbose way of saying “hi, my name is R.A.P Ferreira, and welcome to my album. Also, The Jefferson Park Boys are here.” The way he said it sounded a lot doper than that though lol.

Of course it’s R.ory A.llen P.hillip Ferreira
None other than, the ignoble peon poet from nowhere
Joined by my family in funkonomics, the high vibrational minister
The Jefferson Park Boys

The production is very smooth and jazzy. Nothing about the song is really mind blowing or anything, but I don’t have any complaints. The lyricism is very pretty, and the same goes for the production to be honest. I love the way he closes the verse too.

This transmission is addressed to the fence building nihilists
Your soul writes, “come home”
Abandon them outdated strategies, namely hatred
Exile is no place for a person, or your compassion

This shit is dope.

2. Greens

Just like with the preceding track, this song has a super jazzy instrumental.

A so called negro stood there, spitting
Ten thousand lines of poetry
In conclusion, if I’m younger, you still not as old as me
This ain’t my first time

The first verse from Rory is great, and I love the quick Guilty Simpson sample that pops in right before the second verse begins. I think the second verse is even better the first one. These are my favorite lines in the whole song…

Since no point is fixed, more or less
I think my point is missed
I’ve decided to embrace what differentiates me from the anointed clique
Ruby Yacht land ownership
Let’s build a monument, and stand over it
Hand in hand, off-sides, odd pride
Like watching your kid’s first tantrum

I know I didn’t really say much about this song, but it’s because the structure is pretty straightforward. There are only two verses here, and there isn’t really a hook. I love this shit though. I don’t have any issues with the song at all. The jazzy production is very pretty, and the eloquent lyricism is quite stimulating as well. I wish I had something interesting and profound to say, but I’m not really sure my interpretation of certain things has any validity. I mean, obviously they are valid to me, but I feel like I’m kinda just pulling them from nowhere. The idea of greens vs. blues was really thought provoking to me though. At the end of the song, he said something about how the blues fade away, and the greens rush over you. He described the greens as “lush,” and I guess pervasive. It’s hard to tell if he was just rambling about random shit, or if the colors actually hold a lot of significance and are worth reading into. I thought about what these two colors can represent, not just in this song, but in general. The first thing I thought of with blue was the police. I then I thought of sadness, and waves. He said the blues will fade, so I pictured blue waves washing up on a shore. He said a wave of understanding washed over him, so I guess green is supposed to represent solace? I don’t know. I never really came to a full conclusion, but it’s just fun to think about. I’m leaning towards “blues” representing sadness and “green” representing solace and acceptance, but I obviously don’t fuckin’ know. Anyway, none of that really matters at all, but I feel like I should at least try to describe everything that pops into my head when listening to abstract music like this. I think the song itself is really awesome though. This shit is dope as hell.

3. Noncipher co-produced by Aaron Shaw

The instrumental on this track sounds a lot more lighthearted and upbeat than the preceding couple. I feel like I’m at a fancy bar listening to a live band play. I’m not sure if bars like that exist. I don’t drink, so I wouldn’t know. That sounds dope though. The additional saxophone contribution from Aaron Shaw is really nice. Honestly, this song isn’t one of my favorites overall. I don’t think anything about it is bad, but Rory’s performance didn’t really stand out that much to me to be honest. It’s certainly good, but it’s exactly what I was expecting. It just sounds like more of what he always does. My favorite aspect of the song is definitely the production, but everything about it is pretty good. I think it’s a dope track.

4. Omens & Totems

Rory’s always had kind of a Spoken Word adjacent flow and delivery, but it’s even more reminiscent of that style on this song. With that said, I feel like the lyricism is less arcane here, so I can actually pick up on what he’s trying to convey.

Most people try to delete their blues, and with it most of life
But, those are dirty thoughts on such a gorgeous night
This beat sound like a long walk to the dumpster
Funk like nostrils of muenster, made myself an apostle of wonder

By the way, this beat is fucking amazing. It’s a lot moodier and more low-key than that of the preceding song. I would’ve loved it even if it just stayed how it was at the very beginning, but it eventually evolves into a super layered and detailed instrumental. The percussion sounds fantastic, and Rory killed this shit.

My net worth is not material
This day began with flax milk and cereal
Prolly end with rice and beans
Fuck wealth and the hype machine
Rather have health and an icy spring, or electrician training
I can hear a rapper hesitating
But that won’t pay this car note, will it?
Out the barrel into the skillet

This is definitely one of my favorite songs on the album. I think this shit is dope af.

5. U.nited D.efenders of I.nternational G.oodwill

This track has another one of the best beats on the album in my opinion. I’m gonna be saying that a lot in this review though, so just prepare yourself for that. This instrumental in particular is a lot more hard hitting and Boom Bap influenced than most of the others. It kinda evolves after the first 10 bars and becomes more like something you’d hear in a crime thriller. I feel like I’ve become better at deciphering Rory’s lyricism in general, but I was admittedly pretty lost with this track. I mean, I knew what certain lines meant, but it felt more like an onslaught of non-sequiturs than anything. I’m not sure if there’s a specific point being made overall that I’m just not getting. Maybe it’s just not as deep as I think it is.

Helmet made of toothpicks starts rusting openly
Texas Hold ’em with only me
Well, Horace Silver was there grinning, but not playing
Praying, but not…

Even though I’m not really sure what he was getting at lyrically, I really enjoyed this song. The good thing about this album is that you can enjoy it sonically even while being completely stupefied by the abstract lyricism. This shit is dope as hell.

6. Laundry co-produced by DJ Prolifix

As the title of this track implies, it’s a song about doing laundry. J. Cole did it in the corniest way possible, but here Rory does it in a relatable and endearing way.

Another day, another load of laundry
Soon as I woke up, that feeling was hauntin’ me

The jazzy production here is absolutely amazing too. I fucking love this beat. The hook is pretty cool too. Honestly, everything about this track is fantastic to me; R.A.P. Ferreira is probably the only rapper who could make an enjoyable song about laundry to be honest.

We should have four or five hundred kids
I wonder how many loads of laundry that is
How many bottles of Gain will I gain in this game
Former rappers is fast dog walkers or podcast talkers

The scratches from DJ Prolifix were a really nice touch too. I of course loved the Childish Gambino sample as well. Obviously the song’s not super deep or poignant. It’s just a fun, enjoyable song. The production is absolutely phenomenal, and Rory killed it. This shit is dope af.

7. Dust Up

This is another major highlight on the album for me. The production here sounds almost ambient and ethereal, yet kinda jazzy at the same time. There’s virtually zero percussion here. The entire song almost sounds like a meditative Spoken Word performance. He was gettin’ fuckin’ busy on this joint too.

The map is the only territory
When I say out loud, “the world is my idea”
When I say out loud, “suede timbs on my feet make my cipher complete”
I am saying the same thing out loud
I find comfort in the allegory of the journey
Because I am in a literal search for brightness, voluptuousness
Brimming clarity in service of nothing else
I know that one’s resolve for life can be determined
According to translation errors inherited
My understanding itself being a summation
Of a suggestion of which the scope is beyond me
And I hope to only ever be utilized and in service of another’s journey

There’s no hook or anything. It’s just him goin’ off for three minutes over an enveloping, cold, kind of intangible beat. The beat makes me feel like I’m in a dark, cold cave. Once again, a lot of the lyricism doesn’t really sink in with me in terms of the literal message he was trying to convey, but even if I have no idea what the fuck he’s talking about, I just find it very interesting. I think this song is really fucking awesome. This shit is dope af to me.

8. Cycles

This song has one of the most beautiful, emotive instrumentals on the entire project. This is the type of shit that would fit perfectly in my depression playlist. I love R.A.P. Ferreira’s performance here too. The way he set it up on the intro was really cool, and the first verse is gorgeous.

At the end of the world, we was fightin’ back with brushes and pens
We decided that the suffering should end, no matter how good it feels
Wooden shields ain’t stoppin’ bullets
So we dropped those, quit lyin’ to ourselves
Started writin’ poems, got stronger by ourselves

The two verses on this track are divided by an excerpt of an essay by Susan Sontag called The Pornographic Imagination. The song pretty much just seems like an ode to artists in general. It’s really awesome stuff.

But things go backwards, the wrong people get placards
You get a collection of spatulas, heavy brow lines
Sacrificing down time for the wrong guys’ good graces
Shoulda held them aces and betted on self

The way everything comes together on this song during the outro is perfect. The production here is absolutely superb. Again, this is a major highlight on the album for me. I love everything about this one. It’s dope af.

9. Absolutes co-produced by DJ Prolifix

Once again, the production… Well, you know. The beats on this album are fucking incredible across the board. I feel like R.A.P. Ferreira’s performance on this track in particular is relatively aggressive.

My mind’s favorite yoga pose is pullin’ okey dokes
Heroes turn to hoagie rolls, it’s so laborious
I plot peace as a coordinate
My dojo taught insubordinance is glorious

The scratches from DJ Prolifix during the hook are a really nice touch. I loved that line about niggas becoming absurdists with dada flows. That was dope as hell. I think the very first verse on the song is my favorite, but all three of them are really great. I really don’t have any complaints about this track. It is pretty short, but it doesn’t feel incomplete or anything. This shit is dope as hell.

10. No Starving Artists

This track has a more Electronic sounding beat. Actually, I don’t know if that’s the right way to describe it. It kinda reminds me of something Mick Jenkins might spit over, almost like a KAYTRANADA beat. It doesn’t feel as thin and lifeless as the average KAYTRANADA beat though. I feel like it’d’ve been incredibly predictable for him to get Anderson .Paak to do a hook on this track. This just sounds like something he would float over. They used to be in the same crew too, so it’d would’ve made a lot of sense. Anyway, the first verse on this track is awesome.

Never have I ever been impressed with
How they compromise the message
For the spectacle of presence of the bespectacled heckler
I widen the vector, you clowns pine to be victor

There’s really only one verse actually. The song is almost as short as the preceding track, but it’s still really great. The production is great, and Rory killed this shit. The song is dope as hell.

11. Leaving Hell

Last month, R.A.P. Ferreira shared the lead single to his upcoming album, Purple Moonlight Pages, and I thought it was one of the better songs I’ve heard from him in a long ass time. However, I think I like this new song even more to be honest. Everything about this shit is fire. The commentary on the way artists are viewed by society is really dope, mainly because of the manner in which the ideas are presented. The actual subject matter on paper isn’t that interesting, but his signature verbose and eloquent writing style makes it fun to listen to.

In buildings where if I wasn’t a performer
They wouldn’t let me past the foyer
Here I am pulling spectacles for the uninitiated voyeurs
But being piss poor corrupted the discourse

The actual production is great too, and I really love his melodic hook on this song as well. I have to talk about that music video though. That shit is fire. That’s definitely one of the best music videos I’ve seen all year. It might actually be the overall best music video of 2020 so far. I’d have to think about it. Definitely check this song out if you haven’t yet, and be sure to watch the music video. Purple Moonlight Pages is scheduled for release on March 6th, so be on the lookout for that.

12. Doldrums co-produced by DJ Prolifix & Rob Araujo

This track was released alongside the announcement of an upcoming album entitled Purple Moonlight Pages. If I’m not mistaken, this will be the first widely available solo album since changing his name from milo to R.A.P. Ferreira. Last year he released the first album with his Ruby Yacht crew, which I still have to check out. Hopefully I’ll get to it before the release of this upcoming solo project. I really like this new track. The production is really fantastic, and he killed this shit. Should I just call him Ferreira for short? I keep wanting to type “milo” since that rolls off the keys easier. I’ll just stick with pronouns for now. I actually think I like this song more than anything that was on his last solo album. There’s really not anything I dislike about this track. It’s one of my favorite singles that I’ve written about in this post. It’s dope af.

13. An Idea Is a Work of Art featuring Mike Ladd

Mike Ladd is an artist whose work I’m not as familiar with as I’d like to be, but I’ve always found him to be a really interesting musician. I’ve only heard him on a couple features in the past here and there, but hopefully that’ll change some day in the near future. Anyway, this shit is fucking awesome. The way R.A.P. Ferreira’s rapping on this track seems pretty different from how he usually raps. His flow and delivery almost seem kinda Saul Williams-ish. The lyricism is pretty much on par with what he always does though. He slaughtered this shit.

I do as I please as it pleases me
Sneezed on the knee of an MC most egregiously
Never begged they pardon, calling my behavior modern
I circumambulate with the psychoactive animate
Basket case candidate for high stakes life, gambling

I feel like his performance here is far more aggressive and emotive than what he usually does. This is definitely one of my favorite verses from him on the whole album.

It’s the opposite of picking cotton
On the quest to get open and free

I love the production too by the way. The rapping is mainly what blew me away, but the instrumental is also fantastic. I love the horns from Mr. Carmack. This shit is fire. That Mike Ladd verse though??? Dog… That motherfucker slaughtered this shit.

Ponder this Einstein…
How does music fold space and time?
Realign locations with emotional space and verse stations
Less diverse is Hawking’s with the gate open

His performance here is absolutely stunning. I love this shit, man.

What if royalty despised us?
And there’s no chosen, no laws
Just Rakim on them mountaintops
Or Nasir at Harvards by Paul
We’re riding waves in centuries before slave trades
No surprise we glide on the micros

This song is incredible. I have no gripes with it at all. It’s dope af.

14. Mythical

Mr. Carmack’s work on this track is really goddamn impressive. My two favorite aspects of the instrumental are the percussion and horns, both of which were done by him. Anyway, the opening verse here is pretty dope. He of course gets bonus points for referencing the greatest animated show of all time [citation needed], Aqua Teen Hunger Force.

More holes and old lies at the speed lead nosedives
The fallacy of both sides, ghost ride the subconsciousness
Extra medium and I’m off the shits
Confrontation with its awkwardness
Under the parlor Palm, martyr calm as ever
Need a harder beverage like I need a hemorrhage and corroded artery, not hardly
Altered the car battery with an open chest, recharge it

Once again, I kinda get certain lines here and there, but I’m not exactly sure how it all comes together. I really enjoyed the verse though. Funnily enough, he literally says “I don’t know if the message is getting across” at the start of the second verse. The hook is pretty simplistic, but it gets the job done pretty well. I love the jazzy production, and Rory’s performance here is really great. This song is dope.

15. Pinball featuring Open Mike Eagle

This was one of the most exciting songs in the track listing for me because Open Mike Eagle is one of my favorite rappers. I personally have no idea what the fuck Rory was talking about in that first verse. There are certain lines that stood out to me, such as the one about his flow being his unalienable right, or the other one about litmus testing his toxicity, but for the most part I was pretty lost. I still got enjoyment out of the verse though. Also, the production here is really superb. I like the hook referencing Zev Love X a lot too; that was tight. This whole track has a lot of references to different underground MCs for whatever reason. Rory mentioned Lakim Shabazz at one point, and he also said “no malice,” although I’m not actually sure if that was supposed to be a reference to the Clipse MC. However, OME also namedropped J-Treds of all people. I wanna say the line about painting lemons gold and the “ink tank” was a reference to Rhymesayers, but I may be wrong about that.

Shouts to the ink tank for painting my lemons gold
External modem, used to download centerfolds
It’s taking all day for a mislabeled JPEG
Eight leg, body rock, rhyming like J-Treds

Overall, I think the song is dope as hell. It’s not my overall favorite, but it definitely lived up to my expectations.

16. Golden Sardine co-produced by Rob Araujo

This is another major highlight for me. I love the piano-driven production, and I think the lyricism is easier to follow here than it is on many of the other tracks.

Ancient rain from the tonsils
Boil the coconut rice, I tear the cilantro
Heard y’all still experiment with dirty Henny
Me, I publish the City Lights like Ferlinghetti
Lusty stare, your boy paid to open the door like concierge
I no longer count the years
You’ve grown accustomed to acting from fear
Good laugh in the mirror

I applaud him for using the word “copacetic” and not predictably rhyming it with “so pathetic.” I feel like his flow and rhymes in the second verse were especially impressive from a technical standpoint.

Money flow four-fold like noble truth
Green lung coughed, fill the coffer
Slow menace stalker, when a negotiator’s not a talker
Times of peril is always hella awkward

Also, this isn’t gonna matter to anyone except me, but there’s a line where he mentions pomegranate and pears, which are the preferred fruits of my girlfriend and I respectively, so when I heard that, I was like…

Happy

Anyway, like I implied before, this is one of my favorite songs on the album. Everything about it is perfect to me. I love the somber, jazzy production, and Rory killed this shit. The song is dope af.

17. Ro Talk

This track begins with a pretty interesting statement from Rory about how everyone is a performer in the modern age due to us being in a surveillance state. I interpreted this as a commentary on the effect of social media and everyone being desperate for attention and that perplexingly coveted “influencer” title. Sidenote: one time this girl literally told me that she wanted to be “an influencer,” and I just had no idea how to react to that. For those of you who don’t know what it means, she was pretty much just saying that she wants to be famous for being famous. By the way, does anyone else find it interesting how these so called “influencers” only ever influence people to do the same shit everyone else is already doing? They aren’t special or unique in any way, but that’s neither here nor there. Anyway, as soon as he started rapping on this track, I literally said “OOOOOOOO” out loud.

OOOOOH

This beat is fucking incredible. It’s easily one of the most gorgeous instrumentals I’ve heard all year. Rory fuckin’ killed this shit too. That line about his rhyme book looking like a Mondrian piece? FIRE. That line about him being extra-fitted with Ruby Yacht fabric? FIRE. His flow? Nigga, FIRE. I’m sorry. As of 3:21 AM on April 18th, I’m in a really weird mood. I feel like I’m writing how I would if I was drunk. The only difference is that I’m not misspelling everything. With that said, autocorrect is doing me a lot of favors at the moment. I think it’s because I didn’t take my medication today, but that was by accident. Anyway, the first verse was awesome, and the way the song evolves is genuinely beautiful. It’s interesting to me that the two longest tracks on the album—this one along with the Mike Ladd collab—are my two favorites. They don’t feel too longwinded or anything. The longer lengths are absolutely justified. The second verse of this song is even better than the first. The line about how he desperately needs to be understood made me feel bad because I have no idea what the hell he’s rapping about 90% of the time. Whatever the fuck he’s saying always sounds tight though lol. His flow during the very first quatrain of the final verse was really awesome.

Nimzo-Indian, gizmo images, a Gitmo citizen
Bitcoin dividends, zip-line fetishes
Science and its lettuces
Lattices at ease, I scoff at my need

He fucking bodied this track, man. I know I’m not alone when I say I have no idea what the fuck he’s talking about by the way. The top comment on this song’s Genius page says “even with lyrics up I don’t get what this man is saying half the time but damn it sounds good.” I agree. This shit is fucking amazing.

18. Masterplan co-produced by Aaron Shaw

Once again, the jazzy production here is absolutely stupendous. This is pretty much Rory’s own version of Pharoah Sanders’ The Creator Has a Master Plan. I feel like it’s fair to say that the penultimate song is the climax of the album, and this feels like what plays as the credits roll. I don’t mean that in a bad way though because this song is fire too. He’s not really rapping the same way that he was on every other track. His delivery is far more melodic and slow paced this time around.

There was a time when peace was on the Earth
And joy and happiness did reign and each one knew their worth
In my heart how I yearn for the spirit’s return
And I cry as time flies

The additional flute contribution from Aaron Shaw was a really great touch. This shit sounds fantastic. It’s a really great closer. The song is dope as hell.


This shit is fuckin’ amazing. When I first listened to Rory’s music, I never thought I’d enjoy it this much. I don’t know how he could’ve improved this project. I mean, maybe he could’ve shortened it a little bit, but there’s really not a single track that I don’t like. There’s not a single song here that I would say is just “good.” At worst, this album is great. At best, it’s quintessential abstract Jazz Rap. I haven’t read a lot of the discussion surrounding this album, but what little I’ve actually seen has been pretty dumb. I mean, it’s not dumb. It’s just the kinda shit that makes me roll my eyes. People on both sides of the spectrum were saying things that confused or annoyed me. Most of the people who seemed to dislike this record didn’t really say what they didn’t like about it. They just called R.A.P. Ferreira “annoying.” I’m guessing they just think this style of rapping is pretentious. I can kinda get that, but I don’t know… I kinda felt like budding ornithologists came off a little pretentious, but that was as a new listener, and I still ended up thinking it was a good album. This record is on a whole other level though. I wonder if those people would describe Gil-Scott Heron or Saul Williams as “annoying.” Those are the two artists I kept thinking of as I listened to this album. The other people who were praising this album were kinda being douchebags about it though. Like, one person said that if you don’t like this album, you’re a “boring listener” and that it is a “litmus test.” That’s probably the most pretentious thing he could’ve said about it. Just let people have opinions. I guess it’s kinda ironic and slightly hypocritical that I’m complaining about people’s complaints while telling them to let people have their opinions. I don’t know. It just seemed like everyone in that conversation was mad at each other for having a different opinion. Anyway, I guess I should actually talk about the album itself. I think this is quite possibly the best produced album I’ve heard all year. These beats are fucking gorgeous across the board. Even if I didn’t understand a single line, this would still be a super enjoyable album just from a musical standpoint. Rory has always been good at confusing the dogshit outta me, but this time I feel like I’m holding on to just enough to feel like I can decipher it if I keep returning. In the past I felt like I was completely lost with no chance of ever understanding anything, but that’s not the case this time. Most of it still didn’t really make a lot of sense to me, but I feel like I have the ability to understand this time. All of the beats are jazzy, but they still feel varied enough to not get stale by the time the album is ending. Track 5 sounds nothing like track 7. All of the songs can fall under the Jazz Rap subgenre, but they don’t sound samey to me at all. I think this is easily the best album Rory has ever made, as well as one of the best albums I’ve heard this year, and I frankly don’t know how he’ll be able to surpass this in the future. I don’t have any real complaints. I think this shit is dope af. Don’t sleep on it.

Favorite Song: Ro Talk
Least Favorite Song: Mythical

92

Watch the videos below for more thoughts on this album.

A flat
Grade: A

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