The duvet of R.A.P. Ferreira’s tenth album depicts an El Camino parked on the shore of a psychedelic stream. Folks, maybe the homeowners of the automobile, float face-up within the water as if taking a break, however the automobile appears to be like prepared to maneuver alongside. Its headlights beam into the borders of the picture as if searching for the unknown. That blend of repose and anticipation captures the spirit of 5 to the Eye With Stars, the place Ferreira takes inventory of his journey whereas plotting its subsequent leg. The report doesn’t stray from Ferreira’s core sound of jazzy growth bap, however his candid writing brings out the lucidity and urgency of his music.
He’s at all times been a stargazer and maverick liable to obfuscation and evasion. “Yo milo, why you at all times rap in passcodes?” he asked himself on 2015’s so the flies don’t come. The reply: “’Trigger they assholes/Who don’t deserve the entire.” He nonetheless shuns legibility, however since 2021’s Bob’s Son, his album-length ode to beat poet Bob Kaufman, he has prioritized discovering himself slightly than eluding the listener. Arcane allusions to popular culture and continental philosophy have decreased, supplanted by autobiography and pointed interactions together with his environment. “Negro, I’m on the World Extensive Internet/Slandering Eugene V. Debs, and I’m having enjoyable with it/My mindset is on an abundance/These muhfuckas is Wakanda pundits,” he raps on “boot knife.” Even his flexes foreground his pleasure and curiosity.
Ferreira does quite a lot of shit-talking and stunting on this report. Opener “combating again” units the tone with rhymes about making his first million off cassette gross sales and powering the cosmos with epic poetry. On “ark doorways,” he hits the electrical slide whereas holding his scrotum in Cashville (Nashville), the place he relocated after a stint helming a record store in Biddeford, Maine. Single “ours” finds him colonizing the celebs and dunking like Kareem Abdul-Jabar over a jingly Rose Noir beat. The manufacturing feels muted in comparison with the rutted beats on Purple Moonlight Pages and Bob’s Son, the place the textures introduced out the swing in Ferreira’s loping cadences, however his boosted confidence emboldens him. His strains land like blows.
That sense of weight extends to his frequent soul-searching, which ballasts his boasts. “This chapter of my life is known as virtually,” he says on “combating again.” On “comfort,” a observe impressed by the poem “Butter Sunday,” he provides a Pyrrhic victory chant. “Nicely fed, my comfort,” he murmurs for the hook, embracing his minor success as an indie rap act whereas acknowledging its meager rewards. Ferreira has at all times paired the poetic with the prosaic, however right here there’s no whiplash or provocation. He merely unspools, “a being, being sincere,” as he places it on “ours.”