FEATURE: Termanology, Hunger for More
Termanology's just getting started. Since releasing his debut album, Politics as Usual, last fall, the Lawrence, MA MC has been keeping a busy show schedule, flooding the underground with guest verses (Statik Selektah's "Stick 2 The Script," M.O.P.'s "Crazy," Havoc's "You Take Her") and gathered some of J Dilla's biggest fans to pay tribute to the late great producer on his If Heaven Was a Mile Away mixtape.
Now, on September 22, Term is set to release, Time Machine: Hood Politics VI— the sixth installment of the mixtape series that first got him recognition on the subterranean scene. To say Term is keeping his plate full would be an understatement. In addition to Time Machine, he's working on collaborative LPs with Statik Selektah (1982) and M.O.P.'s Lil' Fame (Fizzyology), and recently just wrapped up Hip Hop Kemp—a hip-hop festival that took him to the Czech Republic alongside MCs like Method Man, Devin the Dude, B.o.B., La Coka Nostra and Camp Lo, among others. XXLMag.com recently caught up with Term to discuss his upcoming projects, whether or not he would have been one of the greatest if he came up in a different era and his reported lack of lyricism.
XXLMag.com: Since you’re on tour with B.o.B., Method Man, Devin the Dude and more, has there been talk about collaborating with some of them?
Termanology: Yeah, me and Meth. Meth is my man, you know what I’m saying? They got some MTV type of thing out here and he did an interview with them and he brought me along, like, “Yo, make sure y’all pay attention to Term.” He was making them ask me questions and shit too, so it’s love. Meth always showed me love. We supposed to do some records. Today, I’m out here with M.O.P. You already know M.O.P.’s fam too, so…
XXL: What’s the update on you and Lil' Fame’s album?
Termanology: It’s like 95 percent done. It was pretty much done, and then they decided to come out with that Foundation album September 15th, so we had to push me and Fame’s album back until after the M.O.P. joint came out, so it looks like probably January for that.
XXL: What label is it gonna be on?
Termanology: I’m not sure yet, yo. I just gotta see how the M.O.P. Foundation album does and then we’ll go from there.
XXL: How do you think your debut album did?
Termanology: I think it went great, judging from the fans and the amount of shows I got after and feature requests and just props on the streets, you know what I mean? Got a lot of good write-ups, a lot of good reviews, probably like 95 percent all good reviews. So you know, it was loved. I’m happy people liked it. That’s my baby and I worked real hard on it, so there’s nothing I can do except be happy I got to work with all those legendary producers and move on to the next level.
XXL: Word is you met several major labels and had a Koch offer, but you ended up working with a smaller indie like Nature Sounds. How do you think they handled the project?
Termanology: Well, you know. It’s rough being an independent, so they might have had some things that were working against their favor, you know things didn’t go exactly the way I expected or wanted. I wish I could have shipped more records, sold more records, maybe had a second video. But, really I ain’t got nothing bad to say about them 'cause they went hard, they shot a nice video for the Bun B song. They had me up in the XXL, got me some XXL ads. You know, they did the proper marketing as far as stickers, vinyls and whatnot, so I gotta give them props. But you know, on to the next label and let’s get it.
XXL: So you’re about to drop the sixth installment to Hood Politics. Why not move on to new titles instead of keeping that series going?
Termanology: It’s just something that I take a lot of pride in. I started doin’ them cause I couldn’t get a deal. It was out of desperation. I did Vol.1 in 2003 and then I just did one every year after. It’s just something that’s in my heart, it’s something the fans love, especially locally in the New England area like you know, Boston, Lawrence and the New York area, people really really fuck with that shit around there, so I figure I’d keep doing it.
XXL: You’re sort of a throwback. How do you think you would have fared in a different era?
Termanology: Oh shit, if this was back in '94, '95, '96, '97, I see myself as I would be on the same level as whoever else, Nas or Pun or whoever else you can say. I see myself as one of the greatest rappers alive. That’s just me. You have to believe it as a rapper. If you don’t then you’re wack. Why are you even rapping if you don’t believe you’re the best. I mean, I think I’d be up there with the greatest, nah mean? I’d have a lot more money behind me, 'cause that’s how the game was back then, but it’s cool. I can deal with my situation right now. I’m doing great right now. I’m touring the whole world so I’m not doing too bad.
XXL: Interesting you say that, 'cause the critique I hear about you among writers is that you talk about being lyrical, but that you’re not really that lyrical. What are your thoughts on that?
Yeah...You know, everybody got an opinion. I think like, the streets know what it is. And for DJ Premier to be working with me and all these other great legends and…when I step in the studio and people like Method Man is like, “Yo, you’re a problem,” or M.O.P., people that I look up to as lyricists, they look at me like I’m one of the illest lyricists, so it’s all right if a writer doesn’t necessarily feel me 'cause there’s some people out there that think Jay-Z’s wack. There’s some people that think Nas is wack, so there’s definitely gon be some people that think the same of me.—Carl Chery