Tech N9ne – “All 6’s and 7’s” (2011, Strange Music Records)
Reviewer: Corey Thibodeaux
OK, let’s get one thing straight. Despite contributions from several A-list rappers – including Lil Wayne, B.o.B., Snoop Dogg, Busta Rhymes, T-Pain – Tech N9ne does not aim to be recognized to the degree of those rappers: “Tech will never go mainstream. Mainstream will go Tech,” he says in the track “Love Me Tomorrow.”
Still, the psycho-trip of All 6’s and 7’s is bound to be Tech’s most commercially successful album, and rightfully so. While his success as an independent rapper is admirable, he kneads a schizophrenic feel into the album so you don’t know whether to be sympathetic or scared.
A couple tracks – “So Lonely” and “If I Could” – deal with Tech’s struggle for maintaining a family while on the road touring. Then he takes you to a darker corner of his head in tracks like “Am I a Psycho” where he explores that very question.
With 24 tracks, there are about 24 different styles of rap here with dozens of contributions from rappers and singers. In all honesty, Tech himself is still the highlight, orchestrating a compulsive array of soundscapes that reflects the inner struggles of his own head. You’ll need a lyric sheet to keep up to what he spits, but you don’t even need to listen word for word. Most of the time, you can feel it in the masterfully crafted beats and in the passion of his delivery.
Tech N9ne has remained level-headed and talented through 12 albums and has yet to explode into the mainstream. But after listen to this album you’ll realize the recurring line in “Worldwide Choppers” is true: “I’m light years ahead of my peers.”