Completed just a day before the Tunisian MC Cheb Terro’s tragic death aged only 24, his final collaboration is now finally set to see the light thanks to the Jordanian label Drowned by Locals.
Described by the rapper during his final days as “a match made in the Underplanet,” his work with Daisuke Imamura (aka DJ Die Soon) began following a an approach by the label for a solo release, to which the Japanese beatmaker responded by expressing a desire to involve regional MCs. As founder of the underground Toxic Club – “poisoned mind” pioneers in Tunisia of a visceral combination of gangster rap, horrorcore, punk and vaporwave tinged with occult elements taken from the country’s mystic past – Terro was seen as the perfect foil and a long-range friendship played out, tracking not only the duo’s fruitful collaboration but also, sadly, Terro’s personal decline and eventual death.
Upon learning of Cheb Terro’s passing, Imamura offered to change his pseudonym for the album but it was decided Terro would appreciate the macabre coincidence. After all, the young rapper had made a name for himself in expressing his darkest thoughts and emotions, reflecting the unrest and violence he witnessed in his home city of Sousse as it became a target for Jihadist terrorism. The resultant album, titled Cheb Terro vs DJ Die Soon and released in memory of the MC on 25 March – the anniversary of his death – is an apt cacophony by turns incendiary, hallucinatory, claustrophobic and very, very heated. It brings together two artists working to their most vicious strengths, from Die Soon’s clashing, cross-rhythmic battle of bass-heavy beats and haunted atmospherics to Terro’s pained and furious vocals, making for one of the most powerfully effective (and affecting) hiphop albums in recent memory.
You can stream the lead single “Abtal Al Digital” below and pick up a copy of the album (and a sick “Underplanet” t-shirt) via Drowned by Locals here.