Reviews Lil Fame & Termanology Fizzyology

Lil Fame & Termanology

Fizzyology

Lil Fame of M.O.P., going by his producer moniker “Fizzy Womack,” has crafted soundscapes for a for the likes of Kool G Rap, Cam’Ron and the Wu-Tang Clan, as well as a number of songs in M.O.P.’s catalogue. So when Boston emcee Termanology set out to start work on another solo album he linked up with Fame to be his main man on the beats. At some point midway through the recording process Fame had ended up spitting verses and hooks on nearly every track. They realized that hewing an entirely collaborative project as a duo could result in a milestone record, benefiting both artists. And thus, in the new-ish trend of combined names (see: Liknuts, Wu-Block, MA_Doom, a million others.) Fizzyology was born.

Although the majority of the production was handled by Fame, some of the album’s best tracks are the result of contributions from other beatsmiths. Oddly enough, Alchemist is behind the boards for the album’s title track, lending one of his signature menacing, psychedelic bangers that could easily be a leftover from a Gangrene session. Eerie string arrangements, chimes and ubiquitous gun shots are the order of the day, when J. Waxx laces the track "Not By You." Producer extraordinaire Statik Selektah, who has collaborated numerous times with M.O.P., and regularly with Termanology as the duo 1982, provides the footing for three songs on Fizzyology; two of them being the album’s standouts. “From the Streets” and “Thuggaton” are exactly the grimy archetypal East Coast gorilla rap tracks that listeners wanted but didn’t get from 1982’s last record, 2012. And of course, no street-level hip-hop album is complete these days without the requisite DJ Premier contribution. “Play Dirty” is classic Preemo boom-bap: piano loops, tireless percussion, and record scratching. Including, a prominent DMX “Get It on the Floor” sample in the hook—“My hands stay dirty cuz I play dirty.”

Despite being overshadowed a bit by the guest producers, it’s Lil Fame’s beats that drive the sonic direction of the record. He does tread into R&B territory at times, which isn’t always that desirable, but he uses it in a way that’s not overbearing or damaging to the overall sound. Actually, it sort of ties the songs together, which lends the album a cohesive tone. For the most part, Fame’s production is on the harder head-nod end of the spectrum. In fact, “Too Tough for TV” has one of Fizzyology’s strongest-hitting beats.

Anyone that’s familiar with M.O.P. knows what Fame is all about on the mic—cotton-mouthed gangster-isms straight from the dark alleyways of Brownsville—and there is no shortage of it here; he comes as hard-rhymed and imposing as ever. But Termanlogy turns in some of the record's most impressive verses. During his best moments, Term has the uncanny ability to make the listener feel weirdly uncomfortable. Songs like “The Greatest”, “Lil Ghetto Boy” and “It’s Easy” make you feel guilty for being privy to his bumpy life story. All the autobiographical details of his painful upbringing come to head on “Family Ties,” in which he raps: “My Daddy beat on my Momma, my Momma beat on me…Do you know what it’s like when you look White, growing up being Spanish, not speakin’ the language?/ Well I’m gonna tell you what it’s like: gun fight, knife fight, fist fight, on site…I had a Christmas list/I got my Christmas wish/My stepmother stole my Christmas gift/And I was offended at my Pops, who let this bitch steal my Nintendo for some rocks.”

8.0 / 10Nathan G. O'Brien
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