It’s hard to picture a time in which Statik Selektah and Termanology weren’t working together. Both hailing from Lawrence, Massachusetts, Statik and Term have built up a mutual musical repertoire that rivals any top current producer/emcee pair. Fittingly, the two come together for their first collaborative album 1982, a title that represents their shared year of birth.
With little wavering from Statik on the production side, the album undoubtedly becomes Termanology’s to surrender on the lyrical tip. Making an early statement on the album-opening track “The World Renown,” he relentlessly spits for nearly straight five minutes without losing focus. Known for his venerable mixtape background, Termanology holds his own against seasoned rappers Saigon, Xzibit and Freeway on the cipher-like cuts “Goin Back” and “Life Is What You Make It.” He also shows off his, ahem, versatility on the salaciously soulful record “Wedding Bells.” Backed by supporting vocals from new-coming crooner Jared Evan, Term transforms his usual street persona into a savvy bedroom partner for the girl that takes the intimate moments a little too seriously.
At times 1982 feels like a continuance of Statik Selektah’s compilation series rather than an exclusive project between the two Massachusetts-natives. As would be expected, Termanology is present on each record with a verse or two for good measure. However, the additional clutter of a dozen-plus features voids any likelihood of treating this as a “one producer, one emcee” album. Also, it doesn’t help that Term gets outshined on a handful of tracks, such as “Thugathon 2010” and “You Should Go Home.” On the former record, Lil Fame and Billy Danze of M.O.P. take command of a boom bap banger from Statik that resurrects the raw demeanor of yesteryear. Though valiant in his efforts, Termanology’s verse sounds polite in comparison. Then on “You Should Go Home,” he and Bun B go into “bros before hoes” mode. However, where Bun B plays the position well (“Just ‘cause I’m settled down don’t mean I’m not still trill / I went out before you and after you I still will”), Termanology’s performance (“You see me talking to her, I ain’t necessarily gettin’ it on / I could be talking to her about Sierra Leone or maybe my cologne”) comes off as unconvincing.
Though few and far between, the inclusion of engaging lyricism is something that could benefit Termanology in the future. Such is the case on “Freedom,” where he presents the consequences behind the loss of direction for second generation Puerto Rican-Americans. Taking it back to his own block, “The Hood Is On Fire” describes the dissolute conditions in which he came up under. Fearing for his future yet unable to break cyclical fate, he raps, “There’s no such thing as equal opportunity / People in my community usually under scrutiny / Truthfully son its lunacy, root for me the one soon to be / Brutally gunned down by a police cruiser that shoot at me.”
With their sights set on becoming the Pete Rock & CL Smooth or Gang Starr of the 21st century, 1982 isn’t quite the game changer Statik Selektah and Termanology sell from the beginning. Still, their overall body of work over the years has yet to disappoint, with this album fitting nicely into their progression. As a result, we may very well see these two become the figureheads of the Boston Hip Hop scene.