With 10 years and 2 albums under his belt, Terry da Rapman is what you will call a veteran. Terry started when it was least fashionable to be a rapper in 2000 with rap collective SWATROOT alongside Modenine, Sixfoot Plus, OD, Rule Clean, Mista Baron, El dee XL and sharpened his skills under the watchful eye of Payback tyme records boss, Solo Dee. After his debut album “Tha Rapmanisfestation” released on payback tyme records failed commercially, he pitched his tents with November records, where he released his sophomore album “Tha rapman begins” which produced the hit “na beanz” but didn’t elevate him beyond his underdog status.
With a resilience not usually seen on the naija rap scene, terry continued grinding and in 2009 successfully kicked the doors down with the slogan (Boyz are not smiling) in one hand and a street single in the guise of “sample (remix)” featuring Pherowshuz & Stereoman in the other. With anticipation reaching fevered pitch courtesy of his Dj Jimmy Jatt hosted mixtape “The joe spasm mixtape”, Terry unleashed his junior album “Boyz are not smiling”.
It must be said that Joe Spasm(Terry’s alter ego) has impeccable taste in creating his ensemble cast as the album features contributions from Pherowshuz, Sound Sultan, Terry G, MI, Cartiair, Mo Cheddah, Keffe, Stereoman, Sixfoot Plus, Mista Baron, El dee XL, Fecko the Emcee, Osagz and Miekharry. Production is majorly by underground producers like E Twinz, Pherowshuz, Tommy ill Fingaz, Meka E, XO, Seaman, Kraft, El Emcee and Sholex Timbo, with Terry G & J Sleek being the only exception.
The album gets underway with “BANS (Intro)” and sees joe spasm making it clear that all he wants is his due respect and no title, and over Pherowshuz’s bass and synthesizer laden beat, he creates the street banger “Sample(remix)”, going back and forth with pherowshuz and stereoman on the hook. With lines like “the boy is hot, no matter the climate/call me jack sparrow, cos I be dealing with pirates”, you feel Tha rapman just warming up. With Sound Sultan riding shotgun “how far” turns out to a hard hitting cut as expected, while on the E Twinz produced “Oti ya were”, Joe spasm redefines his lyrical reputation and shows that he stands in the shadows of no man by lyrically slaying MI. he gets in anthemic mode on the Meka E produced “boyz don hammer” and the Tommy ill Fingaz produced “Gonna make it”. With Mo’cheddah delivering a memorable verse and an enthralling hook, Terry takes it to the club with “Get up” and teams up with name sake Terry G for the radio friendly “Ojoro”, where he names drop and creatively weaves his tale of infidelity.
The party continues on “Ladies only” as Terry successfully crafts a club banger over seaman’s luring drums, heavy synths and whistles. The J sleek produced crunk fest “superstar” sees Terry and Cartiair trying to outswag each other. BANS soars to greater heights on the XO produced “No love” where Joe spasm delivers weighty verses with visceral contents that foster introspection and demand repeated listens. Terry raps: “underpaid in this game, cos I have been doing this for the love/yo, I need to get paid and stop doing this for the love”,”enough love to all those who stood by me on stormy seas/back when my money was shorter than a midget on his knees”, “took a risk with that single cos I have been known to gamble/now the best rap single of the year is just a sample”.
Joe spasm shows his vulnerable side on the soulful “Someday” as he grieves for his late mother, on the conscious “pray”, E twinz once again lays the track for Terry’s train of thought to rumble through, with a line like “e go better for naija, two thousand and when”, he sums up the sorry state of the nation while Kefee soulfully does all the praying on the hook. The Sholex Timbo produced “Been there before” is simply braggadocios music at its best, as for the umpteenth time Terry slays the competition and reaffirms his living legend status. The highlight of the album comes on “Na beanz (BANS remix)”, where young guns like Fecko, Miekharry and Osagz exhibit pure lyricism backed by confidence and conviction. Terry fittingly closes the album with “Number 10”, which features veterans and fellow SWATROOT members Mista Baron, Sixfoot Plus and El dee XL. As if it is any surprise, they all come correct.
No obligatory marijuana jam, no requisite love song, no unnecessary bonus tracks and the man “hated by plenty, wanted by many, underated by some, confronted by none” has created an album that is sonically appealing with great replay value. BANS is a remarkable album that transforms Terry da Rapman from underdog to the past, present and the future of naija rap. When the annals of naija hip hop are written, Joe spasm will have his own chapter alongside the likes of 2shotz, Eldee, Ruggedman and Modenine.
PLAY – Everything
SKIP – Nothing
RATING – 10/10 (CLASSIC)