Cocaine is a hell of a drug. Despite Dave Chappelle’s legendary skit making light of hard drug abuse, cocaine and hip hop generally end up being Mafioso-styled materialism or tales of slinging ki’s on street corners. While basing an album around drugs will likely alienate some listeners unless the drug theme is a metaphor, much of what made cocaine glamourous comes from films such as Scarface and Blow. With “G.O.Y.A.” lacking the cinematic direction of a Raekwon opus, Termanology is delivering ‘product’ that’s directly from the streets. The fact that this album comes with a free mirror and straw, offers an element of authenticity, but is also rather disheartening. Despite this, “G.O.Y.A.” revels in its dirtiness, with basic beats and a South American flavour running throughout – Big Pun’s son Chris Rivers, NORE and Tony Touch all appear and add to the record.

Having followed Termanology since his “Hood Politics” mixtapes, through “Politics As Usual” and his collaborative efforts with Statik Selektah and Lil Fame, I can’t help but feel disappointed with “GOYA”. The decision to use local producer Shortfyuz on the whole record shows how fortunate Term’ has been with his previous offerings – “Politics As Usual” in particular was reminiscent of “Illmatic” in how he had so many legends on one record. I know that this album is meant to be low-budget and for the streets, but it is a step down when you are used to hearing the Latin fire-spitter tearing apart a DJ Premier or Large Pro track.

 “Scandalous” boasts a worthwhile beat and standard Prodigy sample on the hook but the overly intense verses from Term’ and Baby Pun (billed as simply Chris Rivers) overshadow the song’s potential. Despite the appearance of Big Pun’s son, songs like “100 More Jewelz” and “Pulp Fiction” come off as humourless versions of the late great emcee’s style. When Term’ slows his rhymes down to the same pace as his guests, he is infinitely more listenable. Wais P provides a tight hook and suitably pimp-ish verse that ensures Term’ has to slow it down – otherwise Wais P steals his shine. The same happens on “Sazon” and “Straight Off The Block” as if having fellow emcees onboard calms down Term’. There’s no denying Term’ can spit fire, but much of “G.O.Y.A.” is unsurprisingly devoid of any sense of fun – it’s too bogged down in being street that it feels like just another rap record. The musical sensibilities may possess the mandatory ‘realness’ factor, yet the record is constantly lacking in substance. With the contacts Term’ has acquired over the last few years, it has to go down as a disappointing album, especially after the niceness that “Fizzyology” was last year.

Rick Ross has built a rap career on the premise of being a drug kingpin, which although gives his character a lack of depth, at least gives him character. As much as I enjoy Term’ tearing up beats, he has generally lacked character to make his brand anything more than bland boom bap. With the similarly relentless Reks adding political views to his records, Term’ needs to provide some more genuine themes on his albums before he becomes just another east coast rapper.

Termanology :: G.O.Y.A. (Gunz Or Yay Available)