“We didn’t anticipate how many people were going to actually show up, so we only made 100 bags. Then a bus came.”
At the point that they’ve already toured for several decades, some artists look for an adjacent lane to pursue while they ease off of the music grind. Not Termanology; while the Mass-raised rapper has a significant commercial success on his hands with the community-minded and rap universe-backed Good Dad Gang clothing and lifestyle line, he’s also still climbing in his career, dominating across platforms with a fan base stretching from old boom bap nerds like yours truly to younger generations that encounter the cameo king on the countless guest verses he spits every year.
Somehow, Term still finds the time to give back to the streets he built his reputation illustrating. For the seventh year, Good Dad Gang will give away loads of knapsacks stuffed with school supplies to young people who need them. The Backpack Giveaway, organized in partnership with Movement City and Lawrence Community Works, will take place in Term’s hometown of Lawrence, though families from everywhere are welcome.
We asked what it takes to pull off this kind of charitable effort year after year.
What was it like for you as a kid trying to get the stuff that you needed for school?
Sometimes it was really hard, and sometimes it was not so bad and I got everything I needed.
Give us a quick memory from the first time you did a back-to-school event like this. What’s changed over the years? How much bigger has it grown?
The first year we had 100 drawstring bags from the dollar store. We didn’t anticipate how many people were going to actually show up, so we only made 100 bags. Then a bus came and the whole bus came and grabbed bags, we ran out in one hour, and we had to send friends and family to the store mid-event to go buy more bags and supplies.
In comparison to the beginning, we now have more donations, a solid venue, and we are able to supply a higher volume and better quality supplies.
Where do most of the materials come from? Any of your big shot hip-hop friends throwing in on this?
We usually get the materials from Walmart, Target, dollar stores, and sometimes people will drop off their own bags full of supplies.
There are quite a few people who always donate—Everlast from House of Pain, Statik Selektah, and Gem usually donate every year. We’ve had donations from some who prefer to remain anonymous too. We actually got a huge donation this year from Two Js, who is the owner of one of the biggest sneaker stores in America. The store is called Urban Necessities in Las Vegas.
How much of Good Dad Gang was inspired by this work?
I love giving back to the community. I’m still very much involved in the local scene and I love taking care of my people. Good Dad Gang actually started before the backpack giveaway, but it was a less known movement at that time.
What can people reading this do if they want to pitch in? Or if they want to secure some supplies for a friend or relative’s child?
If you want to pitch in you can always follow us on social media @GoodDadGang and make a donation. The link is in our bio. And if you know anyone who needs supplies, tell them to come on down to the event.
What’s the next project coming down the pipeline for you?
I put out a couple new projects this year so far. Search “Termanology” on Apple Music, Spotify, or any streaming platforms to get my latest releases.
This year’s Backpack Giveaway is on Sunday, Aug. 29 from 12:30-3:30. 168 Newbury St., Lawrence.
A Queens, NY native who came to New England in 2004 to earn his MA in journalism at Boston University, Chris Faraone is the editor and co-publisher of DigBoston and a co-founder of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. He has published several books including 99 Nights with the 99 Percent, and has written liner notes for hip-hop gods including Cypress Hill, Pete Rock, Nas, and various members of the Wu-Tang Clan.