The Kansas City, Missouri MC and tongue-twisting vocalist, Tech N9ne, released his latest instalment for promoting his roster of artists; ‘Dominion’. While we see regular Strange Music signees, Stevie Stone, MURS, Krizz Kaliko, ¡Mayday! and Prozak tag along for some crew-cuts. Tech’s latest signees Mackenzie Nicole, Darrein Safron and previous collaborator J.L. help Tech show the Hip-Hop community why Strange Music is a label that needs to be recognised for its independence, originality and creativity.
At 24-tracks long and 60 minutes in length, too a Tech N9ne fan, this is nothing new. Although the tracklisting is packed, where Tech doesn’t stand out on a track (which is difficult for him not to do) one of his artists will take the spotlight without an issue.
The first track that stands out on the compilation is the Darrein Safron and Stevie Stone collabo “Put Em On”. Over demonic bass, dark, luxurious keys and Pop-synth, Tech and his artists assert their influence on their respected city and how Tech is one of the most consistent and lyrically un-challenged MC’s in the game. Another Tech-assited track is “Nevermind Me”. Beginning with heavy drum claps and standard Tech melodies, Stevie Stone suddenly jumps in and the beat switches to a heavily sampled synth and Electronic-Trap sounding record. This track in particular stands out for the contrast of vocal performances and styles each vocalist provides. However, Tech’s quick-paced flow and comical lyrics are the standout for this particular record. Another Trap-inspired track off the album is the Darrein Safron-led “Reloaded”. Safron’s style is similar, flow wise to Tech, however, he is one of the most intriguing artists too be signed to the label since Sacramento MC Brotha Lynch Hung.
While the album is filled with absolute head-bangers, and see Tech exploring Trap with a Strange Music twist, there are other tracks that don’t feature Tech yet still stand out as much as one of the tracks billed with him on it. “Bacon”, the collaboration between Ces Cru’s Godemis, Murs and Brotha Lynch Hung sees the three rapping over a malicious piano-led instrumental. The three MC’s challenge their competition with “not needing a co-sign”, provide typical gruesome and some “LOL” bars courtesy of Brotha Lynch Hung and Murs. Although I would’ve loved to see Tech and Lynch back on a track, Hung’s performance on this track will subdue my hunger for more collaborations between the two. Other tracks that stand out are “The Answer”, “Salute”, “Morning Till the Nightfall” and “Jesus and a Pill”. The latter of the highlights sees Tech going back to his KABOSH days…which I wish was still a possibility.
However, one thing that needs to be re-said is that this album is not a Tech album. It’s a compilation, alike to the failed attempt of ‘The Cozy Tapes” and the oddly pleasing ‘The OF Tape 2’. While Tech’s contributions are great and all of his artists on his label are in their own way, successful, this compilation doesn’t really help Strange’s progression as a label when the majority of young ‘Hip-Hop Heads’ are into their mumble and unconscious rappers.