For most rappers getting signed to a major label is like reaching the Promised Land. Before the ink has even dried on the contract they’re already wondering what color jet to buy. But in reality, that “major label as savior” mentality is a fairy tale and the rappers who believe it are naive at best and childish at worst. Truth is, hitting the majors can be spiritually and financially bankrupting (just ask Joe Budden). First off, you can kiss any creative control goodbye. Hell, you won’t be able to put on a pair of jeans …
DJBooth Album Review
If independent rappers need a hero, someone to look up to when the myth of the major label deal starts calling their name, Tech N9ne is that man. Based out of Kansas City and away from the homogenization of the mainstream spotlight, Tech’s created a style so unique it’s almost impossible to describe; imagine if Bone Thugs and Eminem had a baby, and then that baby grew up listening to hardcore rock. And as far as the bank account is concerned, he’s sold over one million albums on his own label (and pocketed an infinitely higher percentage of those profits). In fact, Tech’s been grinding so hard that his latest effort Sickology 101 is his ninth album, and his second all collaboration album. Tech’s not for everyone, you either like his style or you don’t, but every rapper’s got something to learn from Sickology 101.
There’s no better way to introduce the uninitiated into Tech’s devilish world than the title track Sickology 101, a fiendish banger that brings on fellow underground legends Chino XL and Crooked I. Sickology is a perfect example of Tech’s densely melodic rhyme style, a verbal assault that sounds like a symphony of machine guns, and with Chino and Crooked predictably murdering their verses Sickology the track is a fitting opening shot in the hip-hop war that is Sickology the album. Tech is the biggest rapper to ever come out of Kansas City and he put his Midwest roots on full display on Midwest Choppers 2, a track featuring such fast-paced rhyming even Twista would be hard pressed to keep up, thanks to flows from Tech, K-Dean and Krayzie Bone. Both Sickology and Midwest Choppers are one-in-a-million tracks, and it’s hard to believe either would have been released on a major label, something Tech is only too aware of. In fact, he spends his only solo tracks on the album breaking down the mainstream music industry he can’t or won’t join, from the slowly winding Red Nose to the drama-filled Blown Away, a track that aims to expose some superstar artists diva-like tendencies (most prominently Keyshia Cole). Ironically Red Nose and Blown Away are also reminders that the album’s strength in numbers is also its weakness – ultimately its at its best when Tech is in sole control.
Tech may take his music seriously but Sickology is by no means a serious album. Throughout the album Tech makes it a point to focus on his two favorite subjects - alcohol and women. Or more specifically, women’s breasts. Or more, more specifically, womens’ areolas (the area surrounding a woman’s nipple). Poh Me Anutha is an alcoholic ode to the pleasures and after effects of too much drinking, an adults only joint that exhibits Tech’s more comedic side. Equally amusing is the pounding Party and Bullshit and the “never say your sorry” anthem Sorry and S**t. In fact the man’s got an entire track dedicated to the aforementioned areolas – appropriately titled Areolas – a quasi-satirical track with a chorus that’s impossible not to chant, as long as there aren’t kids anywhere in the area. Tech’s ability and willingness to make highly skilled and highly-profane music has earned him a cult following, and that cult’s growing so large it’s threatening to become a religion.
Are you trying to seduce a hot date? Looking for something fly to bump as you roll down Rodeo Drive in your (rented) Lamborghini? Then I highly recommend you stay the f**k away from Sickology 101. But if you like unflinching creative expression and no holds barred hip-hop, then sit down and start taking notes. Class is in session.
DJBooth Rating - 4 Spins
Written by Nathan S. on 04/30/09
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First DJ Booth Appearance:
"Sickology 101 ft. Crooked I & Chino XL" (2009)
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