January’s Bob’s Son album set up R.A.P. Ferreira as hip-hop’s bop poet laureate, masterfully stitching together narratives and painting broad, expressive strokes over rap’s tattered canvas. The album was heavily lauded and it seems the laureate may have been resting on his laurels in the months since the release, but any radio silence has been shattered by the release of a new single, “East Nashville”, and welcome news of a new R.A.P. Ferreira album. Jazz legends of the atonal Möbius strip be praised.
“East Nashville”, as well as being a touching tribute to the place Ferreira lays his various extravagant hats, takes a more straightforwardly funky approach than much of the work on Bob’s Son, and hits the groove perfectly. As if to say, I can do regular boom-bap, I just choose not to, Ferreira skips all over a jazzy, playful vast ness. beat, casually dispensing couplets and insights so pragmatically it’s easy to take them as gospel. The beat is decidedly lo-fi, but any attempts to study or relax to it will ultimately prove fruitless thanks to Ferreira’s undeniable turns of phrase. An upbeat organ melody and crackling drums keep the necks cramping while elsewhere third eyes are being prised open.
The lyrics shoot off on various freeform tangents, but the general arc concerns R.A.P. Ferreira and a few good Nashville folk embarking on the classic American road trip, complete with artistically justified misadventures. The track is purposely peppered with local references designed to keep music reviewers thousands of miles away rightfully out of the loop.
“You never seen Professor Pretty Feet half-step
Black Aztec in Tribec, sippin' Schweppes
Poetic terrorist made inept
Took the L and kept it pushin'
Recouped in Houston, resumed the cruisin'
Soulfolks do the bruisin'
In Pasadena, lean into that audio patina
Mementos in Sacramento
Sacraments in escrow
Vêtement, tore a hole
In Minneapolis, we became unbearable”
Ferreira has an instinctive understanding of tone and flow, as well as the inner mechanisms of words, and he gleefully sets about deconstructing them around his own blueprints, often little more than rough sketches which are fleshed out in the moment. If this is a snippet of what we can expect from the upcoming album, the snappily titled The Light Emitting Diamond Cutter Scriptures, released on November 26 on Ruby Yacht, R.A.P. Ferreira may be lining up his usual art rap fare but with a more upfront inflection. This may be the release to elevate him to a new plateau and make his witty semi-autobiographical anecdotes part of the curriculum. Pre-order The Light Emitting Diamond Cutter Scriptures here to avoid having to type it all in.