First off, major thanks to my day one boy Chis for showing me The Palmer Squares. That being said, let’s set the scene with a quote by Acumental from “Whatever Makes You Happy” that pretty much sums up The Palmer Squares:
“Term and Ac been emancipated by a rather enchanting imagination…”
Term and Ac a.k.a Terminal Knowledge and Acumental a.k.a The Palmer Squares are a rap duo that continues to prove Chicago breeds talented hip-hop artists. Term and Ac are just a couple of lifelong friends (they met in elementary school) that were blessed with “rather enchanting imaginations”, and it shows in their music. They’re also a massive influence on my music, possibly my biggest inspiration in the lyrical sense (I shout them out in my song titled “Inspiration” on JMax Hypetrain). The Palmer Squares seem to have an unlimited supply of next level bars and creativity. I’m gonna try and do my boys justice with this review. It’s a tough one though! In Context is one of my favorite albums and if you haven’t checked The Palmer Squares out, you absolutely should after you read this review!
Honestly, their lyrics are educational in a sense. These dudes use such a diverse arsenal of words in their songs that makes them a next level duo. Saying they’re clever would be an understatement. Some of the things they’re saying have so many different meanings that it’s almost four years after it came out and I’m still discovering things I never noticed. I just wanna give a few examples in this portion of my review because I’m having trouble summing up how awesome their music is. Here’s one of my favorite verses from my man Acumental…
“Versed in the worsening human condition
Consistently searching for worth in our futures
A verbal abusive insurgent with versatile viewpoints
Thirsty for worthy disputants
You can fry an egg on a page in my rhymebook
I got a mean right hook and a snide look
We all pay for the time took waitin’
So why delay when your mind’s been racin’?”
This is probably about 15-20 seconds off of “Spaceman”, their third track on In Context. These dudes have mind-boggling rhymes and like I said earlier, every time you listen it gets better.
One of my favorite verses from Terminal Knowledge is off of their opening song “Painting Pictures.” (so you can get the best of both worlds – all the sides to the Square if you know what I’m saying)
“Cough and wheeze when you spark the lah with the Palmer squad
Saw Socrates at the Parthenon
But I forgot to cop a cheap concert tee in the parking lot
Talk hard as a rock but maybe he lyin’
Claim he a giant but like Dave seeing Goliath
At heart was soft as a baby’s behind is”
As I hope you’re now realizing, these dudes are sick. Seriously listen to this album. I could go on for days about their lyrics. But let’s keep this conversation going.
Mainly produced by friends of The Palmer Squares, their instrumentals are a smooth combination of old-school hip-hop, jazz, samples from a huge array of movies, radio shows, etc. and flawless ad-libs. The Palmer Squares and their Chi-Town crew undoubtedly were born to do this. Even though the record has an insanely diverse collection of instrumentals, it flows as one story and really puts The Palmer Squares…well…In Context. The instrumentals are crucial to this because they somehow all have the same head-bobbin, perfect-for-mobbin, steady throbbin’ vibes that keep the album together.
“Spaceman”, “Knock ‘Em Down”, “Beat It Up”, “Hungover Joint”, and “Whatever Makes You Happy”
The Overall Vibe:
In Context, like I said earlier was a monster of an inspiration for me. It’s an album about being sick musicians, the highs and lows of life and overall tells listeners more backstory about The Palmer Squares. These guys are insane lyricists with unbelievable minds. They’re one of the most clever, and tightly knit groups I’ve ever had the fortune of finding. I genuinely feel like if I was born in the ’80s or earlier in the ’90s The Palmer Squares would be my Wu-Tang Clan or Beastie Boys. My boys got a lot…AAAA LOTTTT of potential, and the more they release the better their music gets. Listen to In Context and let your mind be seduced by Term K and Acumental. After all, would I ever steer you in the wrong direction?
Term and Ac, if you ever see this hit me up (@jmaxdope), let’s make a banger…