Go ahead — judge this album by its cover. It’s kind of hard not to when the physical product (yes, they still exist) is packaged to look like white lines of cocaine on a mirror spelling out the title, and comes with the unsubtle suggestion of a mini straw to boot. That sets the tone for the new record by Lawrence-based rapper Termanology, the name of which stands for “Guns Or Yay Available”: This is a potent dose of uncompromising street rap that takes Term back to his roots. It gets off to a blazing start with the East Coast menace of “Scandalous,” featuring a scene-stealing verse from Chris Rivers, son of the late great Big Pun. Producer ShortFyuz helps bring a Latin flavor to the proceedings, injecting bachata rhythms into “Judo” (with N.O.R.E.) and Afro-Cuban jazz into “Compra,” where Tony Touch and Doo Wop drop in for support on the clever conceptual track. And while nothing comes quite close to delivering the exhilaration of 2006 single “Watch How It Go Down,” there’s a good balance between slow grooving cuts like “American Dreamin’ ” and the harsh, visceral cuts (“You Ain’t Safe” with Wu-Tang’s Inspectah Deck) that live up to the album’s bold title.
Essential “Scandalous”Martín Caballero can be reached at email@example.com.