Tech N9ne’s fame seems to keep growing larger over time, and he is finally receiving the recognition he so deserves albeit at the cost of a grueling career underground. As the leader of his Strange Music record label that houses several emcees with similarly warped, demonic styles, the rapper also known by his birth name Aaron Yates has recently been drawing on the help of big name rappers and singers (B.o.B, Wiz Khalifa, and Cee Lo Green to name a few) to assist in his music making efforts (e.g. All 6’s And 7’s and Something Else both highlight big names), subsequently appealing to the less low brow segment of contemporary pop music fans. In return for their help, he has appeared on many of these same rappers’ albums including Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter IV. Briefly labeled as a horrorcore artist at one time, Tech N9ne proves that tag inaccurate on Something Else, just as he has for nearly all of his prior releases. With varied beats, great guests, and trademark style, this Kansas City, Missouri native tackles issues of current affairs, setbacks, temptations, childrearing, and hope in his triumphant thirteenth studio album.
The project kicks off with a newscast from Fox News anchorman Mark Alford out of Kansas City reporting on a meteorite strike painting a seemingly ominous picture of events to come then moves to “Straight Out Of The Gate,” a hectic song flaunting Tech’s lyrical skills. The first third of the album is definitely the most fiery part where Tech N9ne discusses his growing celebrity on “B.I.T.C.H.,” his less than happy disposition on “With the BS,” his girl problems on “Love 2 Dislike Me,” and his natural obstacles in life on “Fortune Force Field,” all to the tune of Seven’s spooky yet raucous productions.
The next three songs are a little more introspective, and all three have toned down beats making considerable passage for the lyrics to penetrate the listeners’ ears. “I’m Not A Saint” is Tech’s admittance of being held hostage to evil thoughts and imperfections rapping, “Animosity surround me / and it’s all because I found me. / How deceptive can the clown be? / Enough to leave the frowns upon the face of those who found me.” The beat is subdued, with soft thumps keeping rhythm and smooth strings filling the gaps. On “Fragile” Tech and Kendrick Lamar effectively send a message to music critics about the triviality of their critiques in the face of artists trying to keep their emotions in check. “Priorities,” with footsteps as drum beats and soft sirens and quiet concert music in the background, is a gospel from street wandering minorities featuring Game and Angel Davanport.
Next Mark Alford brings more tales of woe followed by three celebratory bangers, “Dwamn,” “So Dope,” and “See Me.” The last third of Something Else features several creative, positive songs over uncharacteristically tranquil beats. Tech N9ne addresses the problems in our society (touching on his disgust with the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings and the Boston Marathon bombings) in “My Haiku-Burn the World,” pleads for the need to teach our kids right in “That’s My Kid,” gives an abbreviated autobiography in “Meant to Happen,” and expresses hope in “Believe.” In his last skit on the album, Mark Alford gives a report on the calming after the storm. The Doors assisted “Strange 2013” is a fitting collaboration about the current state of affairs for the Strange Music headman.
Something Else will be remembered most significantly for its experimental beats, top notch lyricism, and inspiration from Tech N9ne. The artist has benefitted from stepping out of his comfort zone and has pleasantly surprised listeners. This album is a welcomed change up with useful results for everyone. The deluxe bonus tracks, “Colorado,” “Drowning,” and “Thizzles,” are excellent, but the meat and potatoes of the project can only be found on the regular edition and the final product is delicious!