Since ditching his previous moniker, milo, R.A.P. Ferreira has set about creating the most fully realised fusion of hip-hop and jazz yet, merging the two at a molecular level. His two previous albums under the R.A.P. Ferreira alias, purple moonlight pages and bob's son: R.A.P. Ferreira in the garden level cafe of the scallops hotel, used hip-hop to weigh down the flightier jazz sensibilities, which still managed to shake their restraints from time to time. Ever happy to imbue his art with poetic balance, Ferreira has bookended 2021 with January’s bob’s son and his new album, the Light Emitting Diamond Cutter Scriptures, which was teased by the single “east nashville” and is suitably celestial for such interplanetary 8-bar excursions. The plan with such a wordy title was clearly to put off the squares, who would surely balk at such conceptualism and dribble, bemused.
Ferreira is the face of a very palatable strain of bohemianism which acknowledges its originators but keeps current surroundings at the forefront. This prevents the atmosphere from slipping into self-indulgence and dreamcatchers. the Light Emitting Diamond Cutter Scriptures strikes the perfect balance like a Libra rimshot, honing the aspects of the previous jam sessions which worked in the moment to a fine point. For instance, the opening track, “contrapuntal”, sounds like an improvisational piece attempted directly after waking from a 12-hour Ambien slumber. Minimal percussion and a lethargic guitar amble in the background while R.A.P. Ferreira dispenses dense philosophies and agonised confessions in a breezy, conversational manner, doing for casual prophets what Robin Williams did for poetry students.
By the time “brother mouzone library card” rolls round, everyone is fully awake, or woke, or whatever. Snares and organs maintain a steady bounce while saxophones drift in and out of consciousness. From the Wire-referencing song title, Ferreira evokes vivid images as only he can, revealing Afrofuturist visions with unbreakable ties to the past.“Wrote in the Sphinx Pose/Supposed genius couldn't think past his nose, so it go/A sadist found it outrageous/Askin', 'How does law impede good graces?'/Gradients of laziness/That's what a racist is/I'm a high man being, late for a meeting with Bob Kaufman/Hop off it, my dick I mean/I scribe revisions whilst trippin' off of dimethyltryptamine.”
Ferreira’s tendencies to switch up locations, both physical and metaphysical, on a line-to-line basis, can be hard to keep up with until you stop trying and let them say what they have to say while remaining a passive observer. The lines in question take a cerebral turn on “hyperion,” where stream-of-consciousness zingers dance playfully over a blunted down, dusted up argov production. R.A.P. Ferreira tosses Greek mythology on the table, instantly followed by cult Japanese films, then leaves the game to smoke weed on Mount Fuji. argov brings another subdued heater from the hard drive for “humboldt park jibaritos,” all muted trumpet squalls and sloping double bass. At this point, we have left the poetry slam.“Wigglin' over pre-determined/boundary lines/The bell and the foundry chimes loudly/Crack lensing, enough to smack some sense into the densest apprentice/My pastime includes hopping fences, fencing.”
Melancholy pianos and shuffling drums punctuate existential ponderings on “Blackmissionfigs.” Ferreira gives us the reflections of an artist striving to be heard over the throng while maintaining integrity and possibly also his brand, I would say if I was feeling cynical. The rapper has an instinctive feel for the right spots to let the track breathe, before reeling us in with more winding flows and feasible theories. The producer, ELDON, is from London and also brings his dulcet vocal tones to the track, providing a cool down period after some of Ferreira’s more obtuse moments. Not without his own moments of transcendence, ELDON delivers a calm but firm instruction: “Particular covert insignias we're repping/Respect the temple when you step in”.
“uptown 37” sets its sights on the ethereal, heavily distorted guitar samples recalling the acid-washed days of L.A. yore while the lyrics find themselves scatting on the everyday and the extraordinary. “My scripture dynamic, the vision elastic/The point became a vantage/Advances in advantage made us candid/Communicating in glances/You will know us by the shining of our lances.”
R.A.P. Ferreira’s ability to spin intricate pieces of wordplay into an overarching narrative while making the whole affair accessible to anyone with a basic grasp of string theory is the main draw on the Light Emitting Diamond Cutter Scriptures. The album clearly shows an artist on a firm upward trajectory while maintaining his identity, and is possibly his most accomplished to date, under any name. The whole spectrum of jazz and unorthodox notions is covered comprehensively and, while the nature of Ferreira’s music may keep him out of the inner, inner circle of rap, his place as esteemed cult outlier is cemented, if such a position were to be of interest.
Buy the Light Emitting Diamond Cutter Scriptures here.