Termanology

termanology.jpg
Photography by Jay Hanna
WRITTEN BY
Seth Berkman

Walk down Canal Street under the shadow of the Manhattan Bridge and you'll see people lining up for the Fung Wah bus. Originally a cheap way for Asian immigrants to commute between new York's and Boston's Chinatowns ($15 a ride), it's now often used by frugal locals, students, and in the case of 26-year-old Termanology, fledgling rappers juggling the demands of a career and family. For the past couple of years, the Lawrence, Massachusetts–based MC has made that trip sometimes five times a week to record in new York and then, hours later, be back home to manage his label, St Records, and visit his four-year-old daughter. "I've been on the Fung Wah bus more than any person ever in America," he says. "I'll put money on that."

Watch Termanology's "How We Rock" feat. Bun B

Born Daniel Carrillo, Termanology first caught the attention of the hip-hoperati with the 2006 single "Watch how It Go Down." the track, which features a DJ Premier scratch-infused beat, had term close to signing with a few major labels -- deals that fizzled after he was unwilling to write more pop-friendly tracks. Instead of throwing together a mix tape, term focused on collecting beats from Easy Mo Bee, Large Professor, and Pete Rock (producers featured on classic debuts like Illmatic and Ready to Die) for a proper album. Being associated with DJ Premier helped him land coveted gigs and radio play. "I've come out of opening for Fat Joe, 50 Cent, I've been on tour with Q-tip and Common, and got right back on that bus," says termanology. "It's real tiring."

The result of those four-hour rides is Politics as Usual (ST/Nature Sounds). Featuring Bun B, Prodigy, and Freeway, the album chronicles term's life growing up in Lawrence -- a former industrial town ravaged by the '80s crack epidemic -- and showcases his fast-paced flow, reminiscent of the late Big Pun's. Term, who is half Puerto Rican, half French-Canadian, doesn't mind that comparison, but offers another on "The Chosen": "I'm like what Eminem would've been like if he would have been a spic."

"I just feel like I'm such a good rapper and I'm so fierce," says Termanology. "Hopefully, one day I'll be able to do a song like [Eminem's anti-Bush screed] 'Mosh.' they better assassinate me, because I'm fittin' to say some shit."

FAST FACTS:
-- Termanology first met DJ Premier at a Gang Starr video shoot in 2003. Term handed him a demo, earning himself a cameo in the video.
-- He's finishing a tour with Redman and Method Man. Next up is an album with Lil Fame of M.O.P., who's on the Politics track "In the Streets."

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