Friday, December 4, 2015

milo: The Clumsiest Poet

Many new hip-hop artists refer to themselves as poets. Many people might overlook this idea or assume it's just a way for a rapper to claim they're better than others but hip-hop has evolved to a point at which most underground rap songs are closer to poetry set to music than anything else.

One self-proclaimed musical poet goes by the name of "milo." He received heaping amounts of praise on his most recent album "So the Flies Don't Come" from September 2015. His style of rapping strays away from the norms and sensibilities created by modern pop rap artists; his tracks don't always rely on a chorus or heavy punchlines or even normal rhyming patterns. This unique style is best seen in the second track of "So the Flies Don't Come" titled "Souvenir."

Souvenir starts off with a low-fi beat that sets a relaxed tone that makes milo's points hit much harder later. Milo starts his poem by painting a picture of himself in third person. He describes himself as a "lazy theologian" and "the clumsiest poet." He then makes use of his unusual style of hip-hop to create a song that is mostly open to interpretation in its central meaning with lots of little problems that have been on milo's mind thrown in. The first problem he sees is how the public eye sees him. He's afraid that his ego has been killed by this nonspecific 'other.' To explain this he references the Samurai's 'death of the ego;' "I thought that they had killed me, so I read the Hagakure, on a very long drive from Chicago to here." He also feels very lonely as evident in the next line: "... I cried a lot of tears but you know I kept en ox bow lake in my thoughtful cave." The imagery of an ox bow lake and a cave suggests that milo is alone a lot of the time.

One can infer that he is not very happy with this lifestyle by his criticism of its monotony. Later milo sarcastically says "This monotone is great. To the monotony, Sought its own philosophy to justify the dimples in its face (in its face?)."
Another problem he sees is racism. He has a problem with white people at his shows saying the n-word as he makes clear in the line "So we made sticker packs and pretended not to hear when white fans said nigger fast." He also criticizes the stereotypes associated with black people because of hip hop in the line "I can wrap like afghan, I can rap like my last name was Blackman."

Milo uses language in Souvenir to convey small ideas that affect the tone. His literaty techniques seem to show that milo is lonesome and introspective. By introducing himself in the third person the listener can see milo the way he thinks of himself as well as understand that milo feels his is on the outside. By repeating and questioning lines like questioning "in its face" earlier in the song, the listener understands that milo is constantly inquisitive to the point where he questions the words that he says. The most signigicant technique is actually not literary but auditory. Although the instrumental is calming it often pauses to add ephasis to milo's words, and in doing so becomes a part of the poetry itself. In these pauses the listener realizes what is important is the poetry and the messages milo is trying to tell. These techniques all come together in a song that isn't just poetry set to music but a new kind of poetry entirely.

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