‘Terraform: The People’ album review

Image courtesy of Facebook.com/Propaganda

album: Terraform: The People
artist: Propaganda
genre: hip-hop
release date: April 2, 2021
star rating: four out of five

review by Levi Yager

Act I of Propaganda’s Terraform series begins with The People. Produced by DJ Mal-Ski, this EP precedes a book slated for wide release in June and three more EPs – all about building a livable world. And I can say with confidence that we’re off to a great start.

Propaganda excels at making the EP feel like a collection of songs that’s “of the people, by the people, for the people.” Certain characteristics – for example, group vocals backing almost every track – reinforce ideas of togetherness presented throughout the listening experience. The first word of each song title will clue you in on this theme as well, that word being “we.”

Songs one and two on Terraform: The People are effectively the mood-setters. “We Are All We Got” acts as a sort of extended intro track with a stripped-down style, and “We Are The Culture” really lets the line out loose on the vibe that’s been set up. These songs provide an accessible, enjoyable entrance for listeners.

Each track seems to take a different angle on the complexity of people and relationships. You get more unity-focused songs like “We All In” and “We Need You,” with transformative guest spots by Lecrae and V. Rose, respectively, along with songs that navigate specific conflicts, such as “We Were Only 10” and “We No Entiende.” I think this encompassing approach benefits Terraform: The People and serves to keep listener interest elevated during its overall runtime.

Personally, I’d say “We No Entiende” is probably the best track on this record. Opening with soundbites related to shootings and violence in the U.S.A., you immediately get the impression that Propaganda’s not messing around on this one. And he definitely isn’t; “We No Entiende” is the meatiest song on Terraform: The People that trims all of the fat and gets right down to it. Police brutality, riots, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, political divisions – it’s all here. Featured rapper Swoope brings the heat with a verse that says, “Christ died in the blackest way possible, with his hands up and his mama there watching him.” I mean, damn. Prop and Swoope mesh great in this song, and their flows are on-point. “We No Entiende” also has bits of spoken word from Propaganda, which is always cool to hear.

“We Let The Credits Roll” is the closer. It’s a perfect way to wrap up this EP, as it talks about the lineage of people who came before us and affect who we are. “We Let The Credits Roll” is a slow song in which Prop assures us that, “It ain’t the end when the credits roll.” We finish Terraform: The People on a reflective note, tying it all together.

To an extent, this EP almost feels necessary, considering all of the shit that this nation – and the whole world – has been going through in recent history. It’s cathartic in many ways. If you like rap, you should definitely check out Terraform: The People. The lyrics have substance, the production is creative, and it stacks up as a worthwhile first step in the Terraform project.

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