Rating: 7.5 / 10
1982 is made up of Termanology and Statik Selektah; a rapper’s rapper, and a producer’s producer. As a duo, they can be considered an independent party making their name amongst the underground, and are now entering their second term with 2012. Baring the election style artwork, the two are seeking a vote of confidence from the Hip-Hop nation.
Their campaign starts off strong, with “Lights Down” being an immediate front-runner. Shrouded in a dream-esque, cool groove with distant samples and scratches, the track sets the listener in a steady rock. This is followed by “Up Every Night”, a perfect example of Hip-Hop Doo-Wop. The cheery, upbeat production Statik provides is uncanny here – the song puts a smile right on your face. Following the good vibes theme, “Happy Days” jams optimism into four minutes of rap, with features from Mac Miller, Bun B, and Shawn Stockman of Boyz II Men (I know, right!?). These three tracks are highlights of Statik’s production; when at its very best, sounds like it was crafted in ’96 somewhere between Ironman and Wrath of Math. The main aspect of his beat-making, and this has always been the case, is that it never overwhelms, but rather allows the MC to breathe on it. This can work for and against him.
“Shining” is the first time Term takes the podium and puts his rhymes in the driver’s seat. Over triumphant horns, he lets his flow dominate (“I’m shining light blue and reds like a cop car/ I keep it underground, f*ck being a pop star”). “Too Long” is a definite lyrical standout, as he addresses the public with an intimate message involving his family past. This notes a change in tone for the album, from glossy to gritty. The next song, “Time Travelin’”, is probably the best; it speaks on all the people and situations Term would change if he had the chance, leaving you wondering who he’s going to mention next (“And I know it sounds remorseless/ But I would have made Barbara Bush get an abortion”). What makes the song hit home is the authenticity of it and the substance it holds. Most of the music these two make has purpose, and it shows throughout 2012.
As the album progresses, though, it begins to literally slow at the halfway mark. There is no sound progression; some may see this has a consistent flow, while others will call it a stagnant lull. There is no signature song for the album to revolve around; cuts are good, but not great, and the good songs are not good enough to make up for the lack of greatness. There are no impressive features; all are passing, but the least likeable is “Make It Out Alive” with Freddie Gibbs and Crooked I, spitting uninspired rhymes over tired production. As a whole, I think most listeners will step away from the presidential-themed album as most citizens do with most president’s terms of office – ‘It was fine. He did a pretty good job.’