[Album Review] Lil Fame & Termanology – “Fizzyology” – ###1/2 Review
M.O.P. are one of my all time favourite groups so I was naturally hyped as hell for this album to drop. All of the singles had been straight fire and the production list looked crazy… but I somehow can’t help feeling slightly disappointed by the finished product here. I’m not the biggest fan of Termanology, he can rhyme for sure, but I wouldn’t buy a solo album from him on the strength of his rhymes alone, maybe if the producers and guests were right. This collaboration actually started out as a Termanology solo album produced by Lil Fame but they ended up making it a true collaboration during the recording process when Fame ended up dropping verses and hooks on almost every song. They really sound dope together, a great chemistry. Fame generates abundant vigor during his verses, while Termanology brings a somber mellowness to his. This is nothing compared to the chemistry between Lil Fame and Billy Danze… it’s a totally different vibe here.
Most of the album is produced by Fizzy Womack, Lil Fame’s production moniker. He is an extremely underrated producer; as M.O.P. rose to prominence in the 90’s, Lil Fame picked up the trade of production and evolved into one of the East’s slept on beat makers, but he is still seen as a rapper first and foremost. Working closely with DJ Premier for many years on the M.O.P. albums will no doubt have helped towards his progression as an ill producer in his own right. There are also beats from four outside producers here – The Alchemist supplies the beat for the impeccable title track; and J. ‘Waxx’ Garfield does the great Lil Fame solo song “Not By You.” Premier provides one of his signature boom bap beats with a crazy little DMX sample scratched into the hook. Statik Selektah has a cool joint too.
For the most part the LP is filled with hardbody booming beats, rugged Lil Fame verses and pretty good Termanology verses. The DJ Premier produced “Play Dirty” is an example of how great this album is in places, and finally getting to hear Busta Rhymes rip a Premo beat is an added bonus!! Other highlights include the “Family Ties” track. It’s funky, two-step beat boasts a subtle driving bass groove, punchy piano keys, rumbling kick drums and snares underneath Lil Fame and Termanology’s passionate vocal deliveries. Fame kicks off the album with the gloomy backdrop for After Midnight, a track that features both artists capturing the bleak conditions that make nights in slums feel that much darker – If the album had continued in this vein we could have been looking at a potential classic.
It’s not all good though, there are a couple of flaws; there are a few songs I could easily have done without, mainly the ones where they stray away from the hardcore formula as that’s really what this should be about. The more mellow soulful tracks like “Hustler’s Ringtone” and “Pray For Me” just don’t hold my attention. “Pray For Me” basically develops into an R&B track after a short verse from Lil Fame at the beginning. There are also at least two Termanology solo songs, one called “Little Ghetto Boy” that closes the album on an anticlimax (not counting the bonus tracks). It’s strange because the track before this one would have provided the perfect outro to the album, a two minute Fame produced track that’s even called “Endtro (Fame & Glory).”
I also don’t understand the bonus tracks they used – “Crazy” was a track on the last M.O.P. album in 2009 and “Thuggathon” is from the first 1982 album back in 2010. Both are good tracks, but the people who buy this album will definitely already have these songs. It also means that there are no new Billy Danze verses anywhere on this album.
All in all, it’s an enjoyable album that I will support. The best tracks on here are really good gully rap, and you could quite easily listen to the whole thing without skipping anything, I guess I was just expecting more being a big M.O.P. fan.
Rating: ###1/2 out of ####
Fizzyology (Produced by The Alchemist)
Hustler’s Ringtone feat. Bun B
The Greatest (Produced by Fizzyology)
From The Streets feat. Freeway (Produced by Statik Selektah)
Play Dirty feat. Busta Rhymes & Styles P. (Produced by DJ Premier)
Too Tough For TV
Pray For Me feat. Kira
Not By You (Produced by J ‘Waxx’ Garfield)
Endtro (Fame & Glory)
Lil Ghetto Boy feat. Lee Wilson
Crazy feat. M.O.P. (Produced by Statik Selektah) (BONUS TRACK)
Thuggathon (Produced by Statik Selektah) (BONUS TRACK)