Monday, January 5, 2009
Termanology "If Heaven Was a Mile Away"
Pretty much out of nowhere Termanology came out with If Heaven Was A Mile Away on New Years day. Serving as a tribute to J Dilla we are given just over forty five minutes of Term rocking over a number of classic Dilla soundscapes. Now I know you may be thinking “who is this kid from Mass thinking he can rock to some Dilla?” Well I'm with you on that, Termanology seemingly has no connection to Mr. Yancey and as he states on the outro he wishes he could have gotten to work with him while he was here and this tape is his fulfillment of that dream – as much as it can be given Dilla's passing.
Regardless of Term's right to rock some of these tracks, he pays respect and the tape serves as a great example of what Dilla could have accomplished if he had been able to keep blessing us with his genius. Termanology is aware of the line he may be crossing and while it may seem an odd move he succeeds in delivering what I think will prove to be one of the most memorable mixtapes of this new year, a year that has already proven to be filled with great music.
If you gave Politics as Usual a listen you know what Term is about, don't expect much of a deviation in themes or ideas here. He does bring in some friends which only draws emphasis to his flow which I'm still trying to make sense out of. He is a good emcee, but can come across repetitive and seems to utilize the same flows on a number of tracks. This makes the guests a much desired diversion, add to this that he runs with some of the current hottest along with some legends in the game and you are in for some fun.
On “Say It” we see Termanology next to Sheek Louch, Joell Ortiz, Bun B, Saigon and Freeway none of whom disappoint. Bun is up to his typical standards (why didn't II Trill make it onto more year end lists? Don't worry mine is coming, just gotta do it right!) and sounds amazing over the Dilla instrumental. Saigon is always on point and Ortiz continues to impress me with wittiness and fun demeanor on the mic – he will be the secret weapon if the Slaughterhouse ever comes to fruition.
“Pay Jay” sees the Justus League crew representing with Pooh coming through along with Chaudon and Scudda to give Dilla his props. I've always been partial to Pooh (No hate to Phonte, just like how Pooh carries himself, and I still think he had the best verse on Get Back - he opens the album with a purpose!) and between him holding down the hook and opening the track I'm still riding for him. Chaudon hasn't really been in my ear all that much, but I think I'm about to check out Carnage after hearing him here.
A few of the tracks on this tape are short one verse songs which is fine and fun, but when we are actually given a full track from Term he shows impressive growth and a continuing drive to improve. While the street talk can get old, I understand the impact it has had on dudes life. Luckily he has chosen to give it up in exchange for the microphone and on “Circulate (100 Bars)” he flows non-stop for four minutes touching on his rep on the block and what prompted him to step away from that white.
While he kept his crew ST Da Squad off his debut, they come through here on a few tracks as do Skyzoo and Reks on the mixtape closing “Bar 4 The Stars,” where Skyzoo continues to murder everything he touches, riding Dilla's trademark off kilter drums like few do. Statik Selketah is holding down the cuts for the tape and he drops in some great vocal snippets for the hook here and throughout proving he intends to keep mimicking Primo in the right way.
Termanology is still new to the scene, even with five volumes of his Hood Politics series out and a debut filled with Illmatic producers he has a way to go and this tape only shows that he is prepared to put in the work and make the changes that will make his name ring out on wax like he claims it does on the block. Time will tell, but for now enjoy him rocking over some Dilla heat, no one sounds to bad with James Dewitt Yancy behind the boards.