On Chicago’s northwest side live two lyrical hypnotics. Their names? Acumental (or as he puts it, “AC”) and Terminal Knowledge (who goes by “Term-K”). Together they form The Palmer Squares, and like their names, they’re keen and precise in their intentions to exhibit a decadent flow.
Voluptuous, clever and verbose, the two fearlessly tread new ground, acknowledging established boundaries through their tendencies to cross them.
Spooky Language, their first EP, was released to open arms last month. “It’s the best sounding thing I think we’ve had,” AC says, citing the difference between these newly mastered tracks and the mixtapes they’ve been recording for the past four years. It’s a step up for the duo, who first found a devoted following through their YouTube channel. In their videos, they can be seen rapping on rooftops and other various Chicago locales, where their a capella lyrical surges come across as nothing short of unstoppable. Their cleverly chosen samples–many of which are culled from films of their youth–serve as a platform for an optimistic future. It’s hard to think of a better summer song than “To the Letter.”
The Palmer Squares put off any and all assumptions that their music is directly influenced by other rappers. Despite growing up with influences such as MF Doom and Wu-Tang Clan, it seems that the hip hop they listen to simply fuels their inspiration to produce something better.
“The more we get involved with our own stuff, the less we listen to others,” they explain. “If [a track is] super wack or if it’s really dope, I inevitably get the feeling halfway through that I want to either write a song equally as dope or way better than this.”
The process is one of collaboration–AC and Term K write material separately, then come together to arrange their rhymes within the confines of a beat.
As blunts were lit and topics trailed, conversation surfed towards the comments that go down on their YouTube videos–mostly with how said comments have little to do with the actual song featured. In response to this, Term-K explains, “it’s weird that it’s being hosted on our video. I mean ultimately, it’s flattering. I’m glad somewhat that our shit sparks debate about hip hop, rather than just dead fire … after a while it gets annoying though.”
“If [a track is] super wack or if it’s really dope, I inevitably get the feeling halfway through that I want to either write a song equally as dope or way better than this.”
Before the music, there was a childhood friendship–the pair met in elementary school.
“It slowly evolved from playful parody-type stuff,” says AC, “really nothing we expected to share with anyone but each other. It was half goof and then half that we were just big time haters. When everyone is talking about their favorite rappers–and in our opinion they’re just the worst rappers [Lil’ Wayne]–anytime we tried to say anything we got the ‘Well I don’t hear you rappin’, you’re not saying shit’ response.”
To them, making shit was the only way to continue talking shit, so AC and Term-K figured they may as well begin to make music of their own. And if their rising success is any indicator, The Palmer Squares are something to give a shit about.