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Some may say that Tech N9ne has been reaching to the mainstream audience over the past couple years, but it seems more like the mainstream is adapting to Tech N9ne’s presence. This album has a long list of guest features, and while many are typical Strange Music or other underground acts that Tech has worked with before, there are also a few unusual names that are either from completely different genres or are just really big mainstream acts you wouldn’t expect to work with Tech N9ne. Most of these collaborations add to the album without seeing much compromise in Tech’s style; I’d say the changes he makes compared to his previous work are experimental and don’t take away from his integrity.
Some really great collaborations on here are “Straight Out The Gate” with Serj Tankian, the lead singer from System of a Down (my favourite metal band), another one of the great guest verses Kendrick Lamar did this year on “Fragile”, Game adapting to Tech’s speedy raps on “Priorities”, an unnamed Beyoncé sound-alike on “Believe”, and of course Snow Tha Product’s scene-stealing verse on “So Dope”. We also have Tech’s second collaboration with T-Pain, which actually doesn’t sound forced at all, a couple hooks from B.O.B., a Danny Brown molly-track in the bonus cuts, and an interesting collaboration with The Doors, the band that inspired Tech to name his label Strange Music. The only real guest appearances I wasn’t feeling were Wiz Khalifa with a typical boring rap verse, and Cee-Lo Green singing a hook that sounds so dramatic it becomes cheesy.
As for Tech N9ne, who only has four solo songs on here, two of those with unnamed vocalists doing the hooks, he did a really good job at sequencing this album. It’s broken up into three sections: Fire, Water, and Earth. The Fire section is all about Tech spitting flames and unleashing his soul through the music, with some hype tracks as well as some deep, emotional, self-reflective tracks. Water has all the songs about girls, sex, stereotypes and strip club culture. Earth then wraps up the album with more positive messages, bringing people together and making the world a better place. The news report skits throughout the album also really bring the concept together and make it flow well. Overall this is another great album for Tech N9ne, as he is constantly expanding his reach and making his music for larger audiences.
My Grade (based on how well I connected with it, no disrespect if your experience was different): A-
Come back to my blog tomorrow to see which album or mixtape came in at #8 on the countdown!
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