Review Summary: We gonna start this shit off right.
For someone as seemingly underground as Aaron “Tech N9ne” Yates, he sure does have an extraordinarily large fan base. Originating as a top MC out of Kansas City, Tech N9ne has possessed a steadily growing reputation as one of the premiere underground rap artists. The game hasn’t always been kind to Tech, who in interviews has recalled hitting rock bottom with hardly any money to spare, but he persevered, and recently hit the million album sales mark.
But when you’ve got red spiked hair, you’re bound to get a few buyers for shock value alone.
In the wake of creating ambitiously large albums, “Everready (The Religion)” is a double-disc collection of original songs by Tech N9ne and other artists on his label, Strange Music. For what it’s worth, the 2nd disc is essentially a collection of Strange Music label artists and a few songs written by Tech N9ne; the real meat of the album comes through on the first disc. Unlike most hip-hoppers and rappers of today’s music industry, Tech N9ne recalls back to the old days of aggression and hostility found in Wu-Tang Clan and Public Enemy (albeit sounding drastically different in a beat and rhyme delivery sense, mind you).
“Everready (The Religion)” finds Tech N9ne utilizing drums, distorted guitars, popping basses, and gang chants to get his frustration out in center. The furious opener “Riot Maker” is venom-laced tale of Tech’s issue with Honolulu’s agents who refused to allow him to perform, calling his music “riot music”; in retrospect, this couldn’t be any truer. The whole “Everready” album is a trip down rap’s paths of insanity, occasionally throwing a reassuring, smooth rhymed piece such as “The Rain” and “The Flash”, which focus more on Tech N9ne’s ability to create various beats (with “The Rain” utilizing what sounds similar to keyboard tuned to sound like an organ). But it’s in Tech’s natural hostility that “Everready” excels, with “No Can Do” and “The Beast” being jackhammer tracks with harsh beats and sharp tongues.
Tech N9ne’s rhyme and lyrical delivery is more than just effective; it’s what often what moves the song along. The classic iron drum beat on “Bout ta Bubble” is only infections due to Tech N9ne’s witty tongue and rolling lines, not to mention a bit of odd humor: “Yo, get ya ID, passport, state skippin, All around the world, busy with the bass hittin. We ain't come for bustin heads, yea we hate trippin. When we through rockin the shows, man we chase kittens
”. One of Tech N9ne’s bigger hits, “Caribou Lou”, thrusts Tech N9ne’s lyrical ability into the spotlight, using the trippy beat and back-up voice synths as supports to push the party song even further (not to mention the drink he refers to repeatedly sounds incredible).
However, as with the case of most double-disc collection, the presence of filler is nearly unavoidable. The second CD is largely forgettable, since nearly 75 percent of it does not feature Tech N9ne (on song and on credits). “Come Gangsta”, while presenting tight lines, feels like it never takes off and just stays on the same plane the whole time. The same can really be said for “Running Out of Time”, which has a slightly irritating sang chorus that seems to distract from Tech himself (though his speed verses are certainly a highlight of talent).
Tech N9ne’s “Everready (The Religion)” captivates when focusing on its aggressive nature, and while it tapers off in a few places due to filler and slower tracks, it still stands as a thrilling hip-hop album. It seems like Tech N9ne is pretty happy with his spot in the rap world, viciously stating on “No Can Do” that “You industry punks I hope you fakes die, cause most of these rappers have a queer eye for the straight guy
”…it appears that Tech N9ne is one to tell it how he sees it. Regardless, “Everready (The Religion)” should be a welcome addition to any hip-hop enthusiast’s collection, as long as they don’t expect sugar-coated songs about flashy cars.