Between Big and Bigger
Medium Troy has built a name and a following
By Vanessa Salvia
In hip hop, people have always borrowed aliases that denote wisdom or inflated egos: Grandmaster, B.I.G., Biggie. On the other hand, rappers choose diminutives like Lil because they’re so big that they can afford to “shrink” their macho swagger. That theory places Eugene’s Medium Troy squarely between big and bigger, and the craft of frontman JoJo Ferreira and his crew of hippie hoppers certainly fits the bill.
Local crowds black, white and everything in between devour Medium Troy’s self-described “bohemian dub,” and hopefully some of them are picking up the message they’re putting down. One song, “Dumb,” speaks out against thugs: “It’s hard to live in Oregon without seeing retarded crackers / Or some ass backwards wanna be thug with his hat backwards.” They would rather be blowing glass than kicking ass, and they take no shame in pointing out that it’s better to get drunk and smoke blunts than mess with any harder drugs.
Ferreira’s effortless flow is well represented on “This Is Me.” His rap is a mix of smart toughness and self-deprecating humor, with plenty of lyrical zingers in between fat bass grooves: “I love two hippie chicks / And sometimes they want me / The problem is I know you got a thing for Michael Franti.”
Most hip-hop artists are used to collaborating with a handful of musicians, but again, Medium Troy is not most hip-hop artists. Ferreira is expecting to have incorporated the talents of more than 100 collaborators from around the world by the time the band is ready to release its second CD, Bong Hits For Jesus. Collaborators contribute their part to an unfinished song file, then the new bit is emailed back and remixed into the whole track.
A film crew will be taping the WOW Hall show for a Comcast On Demand TV pilot episode about Northwest culture and music. Ferreira promises the new CD will be completed in a few more weeks — “for sure by August,” he says. The band is booked for a West Coast tour that month. — Vanessa Salvia
Medium Troy, Planet Asia, Children of Discord, Phenomenon Dance Company, 9 pm Saturday, 6/6, WOW Hall • $5 adv., $7 door.