After having to work his way into the music industry from the bottom, Tech N9ne continues to push his way into the mainstream music scene.
Born Aaron Dontez Yates, he was nicknamed Tech N9ne before 1999, which later became his stage name. Tech N9ne originally started on JCOR records before founding and creating his current record label, Strange Music, in 1999. His music has continued to grow and create a unique sound. As Strange Music has continued to grow, the label has signed many artists, including Big Krizz Kaliko and Kutt Kalhoun, who are featured on many Tech albums.
Tech N9ne released his 13th studio album, “Something Else” on July 30. This album brings in many sounds and collaborators from previous albums. Krizz Kaliko is featured on “Straight Out the Gate,” “My Haiku- Burn The World,” “Somebody Else” and “Feels Like Heaven.” Kutt Calhoun is featured on “That’s My Kid.” It’s not unusual for Tech N9ne fans to hear Kaliko and Kalhoun on Tech albums or in concert. The three are the most famous Strange Music artists.
“Something Else” brings something else to Tech’s style. In previous albums, the entire album told a story. Whether that story was about women, drugs, alcohol, his family or a combination of all of them, it always told a story. He showed darker sides of his life in his first three studio albums: “The Calm Before The Storm,” “The Worst” and “Anghellic.” Then, “Absolute Power” and “Everready (The Religion)” moved more into his party side — the drugs, the alcohol, the women and the inevitable destruction of his family. With his recent releases, Tech N9ne has moved more toward the limelight of his fame and success.
Recent albums, including “Something Else,” are unlike earlier Tech N9ne music. They’re more about the “technician” movement, geared towards Tech N9ne followers who avidly buy his albums, comment online and see him live in concert. His music is also more about outside collaboration than ever before. “Something Else” features artists like B.o.B, Cee Lo Green, Serj Tankian and Wiz Khalifa. This album is jam-packed full of songs featuring artists outside of Strange Music records.
Unfortunately, as an avid Tech N9ne fan, this album brings a lot of disappointment. As someone who has bought every album on its release date since the release of “Absolute Power” in 2002, I have been continually disappointed with the latest music releases from Tech N9ne.
Growing up listening to a particular artist, especially one you categorize as one of your favorites, it’s normal to hope for progression and growth. Maybe it’s the fact that I love his older music, before he started getting radio-play with songs like “Caribou Lou” and “Like Yeah,” but nothing about this album is distinct and really stands out. “Something Else” really is something else.
If you are looking for an album that has a natural flow, with songs that merge into one another yet don’t sound exactly the same, this is not that album. Being used to albums with transitions that told a story throughout the entire album, I was highly disappointed with this. It seems like a compilation of singles he hadn’t added to previous releases smashed together into one album.
If you have enjoyed his two most recent albums, you may enjoy “Something Else” more than I did. But as a longtime fan, especially of his older music, this is an unfortunate release. I give this album a very reluctant two out of five stars.
Jakki Thompson is a junior in journalism and mass communications and American ethnic studies. Please send comments to email@example.com.