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Tech N9ne – ‘Something Else’ Album Review

Few rappers can say they have been in the game for over a decade and consistently shown their progression as artists. Tech N9ne is on his 13th studio album, where he’s managed to raise the stakes once again. Bringing established names along with newcomers has always been his thing, but the KCMO native stands out for delivering lyricism, covering a wide swath of topics and blending genres to make a sound that stands out on its own. With names like The Doors and Kendrick Lamar paying their respects on Something Else, Tech’s signature intensity is on course for mainstream embracement. Here, he teeters between his darkest emotional songs and surefire hits that are clear signs of him transcending underground hip-hop.

Tech isn’t as powerful and outspoken as before. He’s more reflective on this release, delving into personal subjects, relationships and connecting with stories that hit close to home. On one hand, Tech’s always been leftfield, and that’s evident in “B.I.T.C.H.” with T-Pain. The acronym stands for “Breaking Into Colored Houses,” a conceptual song that targets the misconception of a particular group that is only in tune to the Strange Music movement. Literally, he’s coming through your television screens and “puttin’ all the face paint I can put on” to prove his point. But, on the other hand, Tech can manipulate the right artists to create raw posse cuts that hold up next to major-label concoctions. The funky Drumma Boy-produced “See Me” features B.o.B and Wiz Khalifa. Not only does the track have an assist from one of the biggest rappers out today, it shows Tech’s hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed.

Tech’s focus comes through clearest on this album when categorizes the songs as fire, water and earth—he calls out the section specifically at key moments—a theme that represents him rising from the ashes. Certain tracks fit this mold perfectly, such as “I’m Not A Saint,” a confessional song filled with his feelings about what wasn’t right in his past, and “That’s My Kid,” a beautifully written song about his mistakes as a father featuring Big K.R.I.T., Cee Lo Green and Kutt Calhoun. To top it off, “Strange 2013” is a strong remake that executes his rock influences without any force. Day-one fans will appreciate Tech aligning himself with The Doors—his own label is named after two of their classics after all.

It is well known that Tech’s songwriting is the best attribute in his artistic arsenal. However, there are instances where it’s lacking. On tracks like “Love 2 Dislike Me” and “Dwamn,” he can’t seem to focus on which direction to take the song. The former is an attempt to weave heavy metal and hip-hop, and the latter is a shot at a club anthem. While seeing Tech experimenting and thinking outside of the box is commendable, these tracks would be better if they contained sharper rhymes that fall into their niches. These are minor shortcomings, though, as his supreme confidence is what really dominates the album.

Though Tech proves he’s a master of the flow and storytelling (“My Haiku—Burn The World,” “Fragile,” “Priorities”), his approach to what he dubs as “beautiful music” has yet to reach the level of pop culture icon. Something Else—his most cohesive balance of indie and mainstream—will be remembered as an album that brought him closer to acceptance. Whether Tech wants the bigger fame or not is unclear, but it’s safe to say the growth he displays here is one step nearer. He’s strange, he’s provocative, but the lesser shock value on this album marks it as his true debut to a larger audience.—Eric Diep (@E_Diep)

  • https://twitter.com/JosephTate_ Joseph Tate

    Tight!

  • wiighagwg

    deserves xxl fa sho

  • BigDane187

    XXL

  • Josh Huckstep

    This is a XXL album all the way! It is an incredible piece of art in my opinion, and I say that all bias aside. I’m from Missouri but never really listened to Tech like that. This is one of my favorite albums. Great beat selection, smart features that were relevant to the songs themselves, and a rhyme scheme that creatively changes pace as always. Well done, Tech. Makes me proud to be from Missouri.

  • The SaberWolf

    bullshit. the other XXL albums don’t in any way compare to Something Else. I don’t care how few you’ve given out. You Won’t hear something this amazing for a long time, Considering the artist you put on your covers and big interviews. Thanks Tech for this piece of art homie!!!

    • Dyrmakr

      The only one that compares is Clipse “hell hath no fury” that got a XXL 5 or 6 years back. That was a classic but this is too. Should have Got the 2XL.

      • https://twitter.com/KB_116 Mr. 116

        Good Kid m.A.A.d City got an XXL also by the way.

  • Master Öf Weed

    *Sigh* I guess XXL is one of THOSE Tech N9ne fans who can’t get out of the past and adapt to the future.

  • Shaun

    Originality only L? Should EASILY by XXL. He did shit no other artists do on they albums with this one. That’s why it’s SOMETHING ELSE.

  • Official Celtics

    Album is XXXXL

  • TGiddy

    Fragile is an amazing track. There are some pretty average tracks on the album though. Overall it was ok in my opinion.

  • trev

    this should be an xxl rating. tech got robbed.

  • Lebron

    L for originality? Compared to other ones you give L’s? Please.

  • Matt Damon

    Bull should of had a XXXL

  • AJ

    An L for creativity???? waaack!!! But a good review overall. I am very impressed with this album. I think Tech hit the nail on the head and has a classic on his hands. Album flows well, the production is on point, the features are well placed, and the content goes DEEEP!!! And with the high number of features tech still made the album his own. Coming from a hip hop head for many years, I don’t give out many of these….5/5.

    • Arkitekt702

      I’d say it’s a XL for creativity, too many guest features that bring down tracks to give it an XXL,

  • kani

    these ratings aint accurate…

  • smashshh

    XXL, y’all’re full of it.

  • Capital M

    I agree that this album deserves a second opinion and from someone other than this clown.
    Something Else is one of the most creative, groundbreaking albums I’ve ever heard in Hip-Hop.
    Tech N9ne continues to gather more fans and dominate the game while having one of the greatest labels of all time. Check out his whole roster.
    I will always support Strange Music because they consistently put out incredible music and they stay true to their fans.

  • ashdfkjasdhfkjasdfaskdjfh

    This guy mentions how Love 2 Dislike Me was an attempt to weave rap and metal. Which it was. But he doesn’t say why he didn’t like it! IMO that song was a beautiful blend of beautiful singing and hardcore rap/metal. Such a good song! What was wrong with it???

  • Westwood

    XXL

  • Matt

    lmao this album is definitely an XXL, it is full of originality, amazing lyrics, and the beats are composed with real musicians and instruments… the album is a masterpiece compared to the garbage most artists put out these days…

  • ThatCollegeKid 17

    Throughout all of music it’s very uncommon for me to find an album that I can put on my headphones and listen to an entire album “cover to cover” and enjoy every single song. Something Else was one of those albums. Props to Tech for being in the game for so long and still finding ways to surprise his fans that have been listening since the beginning! TECHNICIANS!!!!

  • Joseph

    who tha fuck does this guy think hes writing about? I wish these fucking critics would do one of the following: Either 1, research the shit your writing about enough to make a cohesive review, or 2, STFU & let someone who knows what their talking about, write the review! Strange all day!

  • Lemont Glover

    people that can truly respect originality will clearly see this album has clearly gone over the head of the people at XXL, your so used to the same old crap that everyone else has been putting out calling it lyrical gold that you are unable to see true genius. As a true music lover of all genres I have nothing but RESPECT for Tech and this album is by far THE BEST ALBUM OF THE YEAR and will continue to be so until the next album that drops from Strange Music comes out. There are very very few artists out there that can even hold a candle to the originality that Tech and his camp are producing and to assume Tech is looking to reach pop icon status shows how in the dark you really are his WHOLE LABEL HAS BEEN THERE FOR YEARS!!! Much respect Tech I thank you for yet again producing something worth listening to instead of the garbage that has been flooding the industry. Sooner or later people will see these wanna be fake gangstas for what they really are and realize STRANGE MUSIC HOLDS THE CROWN!!!

    Music is our life, Lyrics are our blood, and Rhythm is our pulse TECHNICIANS SOUND OFF!!!

  • Dennis T9X

    “Eric don’t really see Tech thoughhh” -B.O.B.

  • Keith Samuel Hull

    they wont give tech a double no matter what he put out. just the way it is. you could take someone elses doublexl album and put techs name on it and they’d drop it one.

  • kcjosh

    It’s funny because people like you is what the Fragile song is about.

    “Some of the people appointed to give an opinion Never do get it
    I want you to come on and gobble a jimmy and… die”

  • kcjosh

    It’s funny because people like you is what the Fragile song is about.

    “Some of the people appointed to give an opinion Never do get it
    I want you to come on and gobble a jimmy and… die”

  • Gary

    “So yes, while lighter tracks like Dwamn and See Me may attract a more casual fan, it’s the intensity of music like Fragile that will transform a casual fan into a technician.” – DJBooth
    Obviously Eric doesn’t know what he is talking about when he downs on Tech’s “Dwamn” everyone else gives props to it, and “Love to dislike me” was an amazing track Tyler’s background really put the track up more for metal.

  • Jared Kircher

    Okay, so I think you need to buy a set of RZA’s Chambers headphones because clearly, your headphones are fucked. I never care about album reviews because they are very biased, and lack honesty. Case and point, you didn’t give Tech a xxl in the lyrics category, are you on gay pills? I also see you gave him an average rating on originality, clearly these pills have turned you into a Queen. I thought Ghostface Killahs, 12 reasons to die, was the best album of the year thus far, another original concept album that somehow didn’t meet your unrealistic, or just plain bias reviews. I bet you thought that Kanyes train wreck of an album was hot shit huh? Stop reviewing albums XXl, you are embarrassing to hip hop, just like these new DJ’s that cant even scratch. I’m a 28 year old, white, republican, Oregonian that clearly knows more about hip hop than these idiots chosen to review these albums.

  • techfan

    i don’t think tech cares about being “mainstream”. He knows he has some of the truest fans out there. Regardless of what you say Eric, hes an icon in my book. Keep it real Tecca Nina

  • Juan David Londoño

    somebody must have forgotten to clear out their ears from all the crap they were shoving in there before Something Else came around to fuck up the show! are you deaf or just fucking stupid, probably both if you reviewed this as anything less that XXL, but that’s not any type of shocker. real music, real art, real artist, this album set the bar, everything else aint even shit under my shoes.

  • tanner

    this deserves the XXL cant believe her King Tech didn’t get it. Tech n9ne is the best rapper on this planet hands down! strange music crushes everything all there work is beautiful and you can relate to everything they say. Strange music is one with there fans! there isn’t any other rapper out there that cares about there fans more than tech n9ne and the rest of strange! Everyone that listened to this album know it should have got the XXL but hey thats how it goes when it comes to Tech he has never got the mainstream credit when her deserves it which is bullshit. Tech will never go mainstream, mainstream will go tech but i guess you guys at XXL dont know what beautiful music is.

  • Freshnikes219

    Tech Deserves the highest rating on this album! def the best album dropped this year! He is one of the few rappers that still actually rap n not re use words 3 to 4 times a song.Plus all his songs on the album have meaning and speak the truth. #SomethingElse #TechN9ne

  • ell0225

    Glad everyone else jumped on this before I got the chance to. This deserves an XXL, without question. Tech N9ne is an actual artist. He’s not trying to be anything else and never has. To that end, the fact that he’s integrated mainstream artists into his work without sacrificing his style is crazy. This album is amazing and TRULY shows his growth as an artist. That’s all.

  • Paco

    an XL??? mann, your rating is NEGATIVE XXL! BITCH!

  • Norman Gunn

    Only an XL?!? Fucking kidding me??

  • Dondo

    Tech is The shit. Eric and his review is a PIECE of shit. Probably a drake lover…homo!

  • D LU Beatz

    Even if you don’t like what Tech was trying to do with this album, you gotta respect the fact that it’s an original piece of art and nothing less.

  • MarkVader┌П┐(◣_◢)┌П┐

    This and all 6s and 7s is the shit. He’s taking diffrent genres of music and combinding them together to make awesome music. You won’t see a whole lot of rappers do that but tech isn’t afraid to go up and over the bar when to music. This is album of the year material, regardless what xxl says

  • U.O.E.N.O

    XXL

  • Luke Grothe

    Its sad to see this album hurt in originality, when really, thats where Tech N9ne risks it all. Thats the only problem I have with this review. I think he deserves an XXL on originality, I’m cool with XL on the rest mostly because its his ORIGINALITY which ends up hurting him in other categories. Show me music that sounds anything like this. You can’t, Eric Diep. You over looked this category. You literally gave Tech N9ne the same originality score as 2 Chainz who literally sounds like every other ratchet rapper in the game. Ughh….

  • Blacken The Sun

    Whoever rated L for originality should punch themselves in the face!!!! Then sit sown and actually LISTEN to the album.

  • HOOCKIE MAMA

    LOL at MCHL having more originality and lyrics than this.

  • JaffarR

    Solid review, but I don’t understand why it got a 3/5 in Originality… I don’t think there are many other artists deserving of a 5 in originality.

  • Aziz

    XXL

  • Whitewalled

    XXL all day long.

  • Mike Van Orden

    I think what has kept Tech N9ne from making a truly classic album is how crazily prolific he is. There is just so much of his shit out there to sift through. If he reigned it in a bit and saved only the best cuts for his albums he woulda certainly had a 1st to last track classic. Many of his albums have filler between absolutely brilliant songs. Tech N9ne for sure is one of the most talented and original artists in hip hop there ever was. Doing as well as he has with hard work in the underground is impressive and to be respected. I think maybe he should give it a few years, keep recording and save only the best cuts for a 12-14 track classic that just punches us all in the face. No more of this 18 -20 track stuff. An album needs to be tighter to get towards the realm of perfection.

  • cmack510

    great piece of hip hop

  • cmack510

    my fav song is BITCH….just because of what its about

  • MarkVader┌П┐(◣_◢)┌П┐

    tech is raising the bar for hip hop/rap. Most of these mainstream rappers will never be nothing like tech

  • MarkVader┌П┐(◣_◢)┌П┐

    God xxl can’t review good ass music, tech and his strange music roster raising the bar for hip hop/rap by using different beats and lyrics. You won’t see big boy rick ross do a track with dubstep or tyga do a track with rock. Tech can cause he’s willing to try new things. FTI

  • 2pac1996

    Should’ve Gotten A XXL No Doubt. But XXL Always Trippin.