As the title suggests, Lawrence-bred rapper Termanology is nothing if not direct on his seventh studio LP; whatever else is going on in contemporary hip-hop, his unwavering fealty to technically superb rhyming and East Coast boom-bap aesthetic keeps Term in a class of his own. “It’s really sad, there’s really no more real rappers,” he laments over mournful piano loops on the vintage “Streetwise,” and the fact that it’s his only solo cut on the album underscores his mission to change that reality. The results include some sparkling collaborations: He combines well with the laid-back flows of Astro and Michael Christmas on “I’m Good,” while the natural chemistry shared by Reks, Skyzoo, Torae, and Term on “Get Away” could easily carry a whole album on its own. Much of Term’s success here lies with producer Billy Lohman, whose grimy soul flavors allow the album’s star to do just what the title demands. Stepping into Statik Selektah’s sizable shoes, Lohman gifts Term with murky bass thumps to traverse on “Oh Yes!” and spaghetti western strings on the Slaine-assisted “Depths of Hell.” The many guests sometimes crowd out the star, but Termanology’s rap philosophy is always at the forefront. (Out now)
Essential “Streetwise”Martín Caballero can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @_el_caballero.