TECH N9NE: 'Something Else' [REVIEW]

By Ryan Book, Mstars News ( | Aug 01, 2013 11:08 AM EDT
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Tech N9ne wrestles with a tri-polar personality whenever he records. The rapper shifts gears from partying to raging to moping almost as quickly as he changes the pace of his delivery mid-verse. All of Tech's emotions make an appearance on "Something Else," but the "else" is important: There's honesty here.

The anger and laments produced on Tech's previous albums are genuine, but echo what every rapper up to Jay-Z's income level preach. I'm disrespected by critics. I'm disrespected by other rappers. I'm disrespected by the industry. Tech has always justified his product with to-die-for flow, but it left room for contemplation. The rapper opens up on "Something Else," and no matter how many guest spots he crams in, Tech's revelations force listeners to consider his lyrics, a first. The rapper's odes to living large still make for a hell of a party, but there's more to the story this time around.

Tech catches the listener's attention with "I'm Not A Saint." The previous six tracks put the "horror" in "horrorcore" (a classification the rapper hates), amping the goth with "Phantom of The Opera" instrumentals and frightening imagery. He downshifts for "Saint" and pours out 12 albums worth of self-analysis. He calls out for help, apologizes for his transgressions, and then admits a seventh grade teacher molested him. The latter line forces a rewind; the rapper, who delivers at a fully-automatic clip otherwise, slows to a crawl, afraid to come forth with the confession. Hip-hop advertises itself as a game for the manliest, but Tech demonstrates a backbone stiffer than most so-called gangsters via his admission.

Having graduated from self-reflection, Tech escalates the album's surprises by delivering conscious rap as the record nears its end. Tech considers Adam Lanza, the Sandy Hook school shooter, and contemplates what could've been done to prevent it. "That's My Kid" combines sage advice on raising a child with fatherly pride as Tech, Big K.R.I.T. and Kutt Calhoun express gratitude that their children will grow up better than they themselves did, all while Cee Lo Green raises the hook's uplift high. "I'm Not A Saint" both impresses and depresses, but "That's My Kid" warms the ears for multiple listens.

Of course Tech displays rage ("B.I.T.C.H." featuring T-Pain), and still parties down ("Dwamn"), but he demonstrates that his thoughts run deeper than the shallow end. The inconsistency in themes doesn't ring false, as Tech built upon his existing emotions to arrive at the higher plane toward the end of the album. The rapper needs to maintain this balance now that he's found it; Kanye West showed both sides of the spectrum during masterful "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy," but only his Hyde emerged for "Yeezus." Tech made "Something Else" something better by finally including his Jekyll.


The Backstreet Boys "In A World Like This"

Five Finger Death Punch "The Wrong Side of Heaven and The Righteous Side of Hell, Vol. 1"

Heaven "Telepathic Love"

Robin Thicke "Blurred Lines"

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