Review Summary: It’s getting colder, you’re getting older year by year, never know when you gotta go far away from here.
It’s truly astounding how Tech N9ne has managed to build such a massive fan base as an independent hip-hop artist. Although after his most recent releases some are labeling him a “sell out“, it’s hard to argue against the success he‘s rightfully earned for himself. The Kansas City native often has an insanely busy touring schedule and he’s been keeping the albums coming with style for well over a decade. However, one doesn’t reach such great heights without any talent and man does Tech have some mad flow.
Often overshadowed by K.O.D.
which was released the same year, Sickology 101
is a great album that generously displays Tech N9ne’s rapping ability. The only real problem lies within the filler which is spread throughout the 18 tracks, but thankfully there are some real gems here to make up for it. Album highlight ‘Dysfunctional’ is a killer jam that showcases Tech’s ability behind the microphone. He opens the song strongly with both speed and attitude which builds up to a chorus with a chill reggae vibe. Although Tech’s at the top of his game, the song is also made more exciting by the guest vocals of Big Scoob and longtime pal Krizz Kaliko. All three artists have their own rapping sections and they each add their own unique flavor to the song.
Apart from his impressive delivery, much of the appeal in Tech N9ne’s music is in the lyrics themselves. Sure, they‘re often over-the-top or cocky, but they‘re also glittered with humor and hard not to enjoy. A prime example of this would be in the fan favorite ‘Red Nose’ which finds Tech drawing comparisons to Rudolph as he rhymes about not fitting in with the crowd. It starts out with a brilliantly sarcastic opening dialogue where he essentially gives the middle finger to the industry. The song is laid back, but manages to capture what seems like an effortless performance by Tech as he uses clever lyricism to spit fire at his enemies.
I find it intriguing that despite his dark sense of humor Tech N9ne still manages to sneak in a surprisingly impacting song or two into nearly every album. Thankfully, Sickology 101
is no different and ‘Far Away’ takes the cake as the most poignant track on the release as Tech sets aside the witty lyrics for a much more honest song that finds him contemplating life and even death itself. These topics are much deeper than one might expect from Tech N9ne, but it’s a reminder that he is human after all and that behind his tough guy persona he’s more than capable of injecting meaning into his music.
Ever since the formation of Tech N9ne‘s very own record label in ’99 his success has only continued to grow and he’s put out a handful of great records including the fantastic Everready (The Religion)
which was massive but contained virtually no filler. Although Sickology 101
may not be his most ambitious work to date, it’s a highly engaging listen that’s boosted by energetic guest performances and some of the more enjoyable tracks of Tech N9ne’s career. It also has a nice variety making it a good choice for anybody who enjoys his music or hip-hop in general.