If there’s one glaring positive about Termanology and M.O.P. member Lil’ Fame, the rap tag team who make up Fizzyology, it’s that their hard-nosed rhymes of drug warfare and thuggish bravado comes from a tenure of actual experience.
No glossy sheen and prim, red bow comes on top of bloated stories torn from the pages of a rote Hollywood script; only a “by any means” mentality and a stache of product and broken promises: “I had a Christmas list as a Christmas wish,” Termanology muses on the candidly dark but enlightening “Family Ties.”
Even more revealing, the Dear John letter “Lil Ghetto Boy” seems more autobiographical than it is cautionary, as both rappers lace their uncommonly soft-spoken tome against gang-banging in a sense that they can sorely relate to doing anything to stay alive and provide for their families. This mentoring mindstate is temporary, however.
The majority of Fizzyology stays Gorilla-glued on those exact vices. It’s not immediate hypocritical, however, but certainly sticks out. Most of these 15 songs come fueled by enough blood, sweat, and testosterone to make an unrated action film seem understated.
The album’s sonic palette, provided in large part by Fame and with select beats by Statik Selektah, Alchemist, Preemo and J-Waxx Garfield is a gristly, dry and austere boom-bap mesh of sample loops and hearty MPC drums. The only in-your-face studio trickery, gunshots on “Not By You” and Statik Selektah’s heralding blaxploitation horns on “Thuggathon” are barely extravagant additions.
That coupled by the rhymes — Lil’ Fame’s bulldog, quasi-ODB personality and loud-mouthed delivery alongside Termanology’s three-geared technicality and penchant for blatantly vulgar punchlines which defies his anemic delivery — usually works in the project’s favor. Some of the best tracks, like “Crazy” and “Play Dirty,” succeed solely by existing; after all, having Styles P and Busta Rhymes on a Preemo beat is golden alone. Certain tracks, however, fall short for the same reason as they’re just another instance on the album.
There’s also a great amount of effort required to fully appreciate what Fame and Termanology have undertaken here. While many pledge allegiance to the raw stylings of the 1990s (myself included), a certain facade seems to separate the new from the old, as if it ends up a xerox of a greater form no matter how hard one tries.
There’s no trouble discerning their love of the craft, since that form is much harder to produce, but the reason for doing so with such rigidity is harder to grasp in this day and age. That’s one of the main reasons why Joey Bada$$’s neotraditional leanings seem more gimmicky than “a return to the old school” in my eyes.
Musings aside, Fizzyology will definitely entertain. Lil’ Fame and Termanology provide an ample dosage of bully bars & ratchet aggression to soundtrack a couple drives, but its longevity is sadly shorter than it might be had it actually dropped in 1996.