Out the Gate

Artist: Termanology & DCTitle: Out the GateRating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Brolin Winning

Representing for Boston – Lawrence to be exact – Termanology has built a sizeable buzz for himself, thanks to extensive mixtape work, high-profile collabos, an appearance on 106 & Park 's "Freestyle Fridays," and a Source "Unsigned Hype" feature. His press release touts praise from no less than DJ Premier, who doesn’t often lend his name to hype up-and-coming emcees. On his aptly-titled debut, Out the Gate (ST Records),Termanology links up with producer DC The MIDI Alien, who supplies all 19 tracks.

The album kicks off with a strong, scratch-filled intro courtesy of Statik Selektah, before getting into "This Is Hip Hop." Built on mellow sax loops and low-key organ vamps, the song is a dedication to the realness, referencing the golden age and its varied charms. This concept has been done to death, but it comes off so genuine and convincing here its hard not to feel it. "22 Years," is a cool timeline that reflects back over the course of his life and rhyme career, backed by soft piano riffs, chunky snare hits, and well-timed old-school ringtones.

Several of the tracks are extremely personal in nature, something that's not exactly commonplace in today's "I sell more crack than you" lyrical landscape. "Circle of Life" is all about his baby daughter, with trippy guitar licks and R&B crooning to support heartfelt rhymes about being in the delivery room, drama with the mother, and promising his little girl he will always be there. Another ode to family comes on "Mommy, Daddy, Grandma," a detailed song showing love to his folks.

While he's not afraid to share his sensitive side, there are plenty of harder cuts aimed strictly for the streets. "Takin' You With Me" is short murder anthem laid over synth-strings and harpsichords, while "Ain't F*ckin With This" (featuring Prospect from Terror Squad) is a rugged joint threatening to "put you in a casket like the Cryptkeeper." Local spitters Esoteric and Gutta lend a hand on the hard-hitting attack of "Ready," while "The Anthem" is all about Murda Mass pride, shouting out the Red Sox, the Pats, and the gulliness of various Baystate hoods. Other guests include L Da Headtoucha ("My Life") and Akrobatik ("When We Were Kids").

Termanology's vocal style isn't extraordinarily groundbreaking, but he's got rhyme skills aplenty and confidence for miles. He's clearly influenced by Jay-Z, but sports a breathy quality reminiscent of A-Butta from Natural Elements. DC comes through in a big way on production, with the perfect mix of samples, synths, scratches, and live instruments. Out The Gate is a thoroughly on-point introduction to two artists we will surely be hearing more from, and the first dope album of 2006.