Tech N9ne is a legend. Controversial in some ways, but a legend. That much is given. I mean, hip-hop and otherwise, there haven’t been too many completely independent artists to sell the numbers he has. Before Tech came around and completely blew up, you didn’t really see indie artists linking up with mainstream artists, unless they were in the same camp (such as, for instance, Mo Thugs, Wu-Tang affiliates, etc.). This is a man who, along with artists such as the previously mentioned Bizzy Bone and newer artists such as Joey Bada$$, Kendrick Lamar and Big K.R.I.T., has changed the game and how people look at the term “indie rapper.”
When I started rapping under the moniker J dot Speed (in high school), I kind of sucked at the double-time, chop flow. I always loved the flow, because BTNH were one of my favorite groups. But, I tried to emulate them way too much. That’s where Tech N9ne came in. He, for me, was less about the sing-song double-time and more about the just straight killer hits on bars. Plus, his subject matter and delivery was, so damned diverse. So, I mixed a bit of that, some Bone in there, and completely revised my flow. By the time, college came around, I began to live up to my last name.
Honestly, had it not been for artists such as BTNH and Tech N9ne, I probably would’ve just been stuck rapping about Ms. Pink Jacket or making those sort of “We Gotta Do Something” college rap tracks. These artists made me realize I could spit on practically anything, as long as the lyricism was there and the beat-riding abilities were showcased. I mean, “Wun of Baltimore’s Finest Features” from Baltimore Commercial Break is a prime example of this Tech/Bone influence.
So, enough talking and shameless plugging of older albums. Let’s get into some of my favorite Tech tracks.
Yes, I know. It’s not either Tech nor Em’s best track. But, the fact that they’re both on the same track, going toe-to-toe? Legendary. And even for just a “great” track from both artists, it still has so many quotable lyrics (if you can catch them, of course). For instance, Tech’s alliteration in the first verse. Stuff like that makes rap nerds froth at the mouth, plain and simple. And while I like “Worldwide Choppers” more lyrically than this one (to a degree), the moment of WWC2 places this sequel as one of my favorite Tech N9ne tracks. Plus, again, that alliteration!
Great example of Nina’s storytelling abilities.
“That’s My Kid”:
As a father, this song hits me heavily. Plus, it features Tech N9ne and Big K.R.I.T. on the same song. In some ways, it feels more like a sequel to “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” from K.R.I.T.’s Live from the Underground album (a slept-on song from a slept-on album). Plus, it’s one of those songs that showcases Tech’s diversity.
“Psycho Bitch 2”:
Who hasn’t dealt with a crazy chick? But, Tech goes from hardcore rap to opera to emotional rap to concept rap in six minutes.
“He Wanna Get Paid”:
Tech N9ne meets bounce rap. ‘Nuff said. Plus, let’s be honest. Vell Bakardy, the artist this track was aimed at, couldn’t have come back from this. And yes, I’ve heard most of the back and forth tracks between the two. Tech won.
“Planet Rock 2K (Down South Remix)”:
For those who feel Tech can’t do party rap and whatnot, just listen to this one (also, maybe, “Fuck Food”). It’s a fun song that’s a mix between “Back Dat Azz Up,” E-40, and Three 6 Mafia.
A mix between horrorcore and Midwest rap. One of the first Tech N9ne tracks I heard, “Tormented” always has a special place in my heart. It’s kind of classic Tech: a mix between the darkness, unhinged party vibes, and plain lyricism.
Cliched choice, I know. But, when it came on in Madden 06, I played it ad nauseum. For a bit, it was the only track I played off the soundtrack. The stomps and dark, baroque-esque chorus always keep this track in my head whenever I hear it. When you play this track and the next/final song on the album, “This is Me,” you’ve given more perspective of who Tech N9ne is and why he’s one of the most-legendary artists, indie or otherwise.