Sunday, November 15, 2009

K.O.D. Concert Review...Tech N9ne and Slaughterhouse...Hip Hop Take Note

Slaughterhouse at The Silo in Reading, PA Nov 13th

Let me start this from the beginning. A couple weeks ago, I was asked by a couple friends if I was interested in going to see Tech_N9ne in concert. My first reaction was that I was interested in seeing his show, but until the day of the event was on the fence about going. I was interested because over the past decade or so he has released a lot of really out there, push-the-boundaries of Hip Hop type music with his rough-around-the-edges dark sounding tracks and choppy, in-your face fast vocal delivery.

Tech N9ne - Welcome to the Midwest (feat Krizz Kaliko) off his 2006 album Everready

Tech N9ne - Leave Me Alone New Single off his album K.O.D.

Tech N9ne - Blown Away Off his album Sickology 101 released in 2009

Those are three of his milder tracks lyrically, which is why I posted them instead of a few of my other favorites that may not be as appropriate lyrically. I intentionally posted his track Blown Away too because it is mostly a diss record about how there aren't any good performers in Hip Hop and some of the big Hip Hop acts have a sense of entitlement because of their records' monetary success even "when their stage show is horrible" - Tech N9ne. Reagardless, those three tracks give a good enough representation of his unique sound.

In general, it's hard not to be supportive of Tech N9ne because he has truly made his own success. He's one of those artists who has always fought an uphill battle because "the industry" (record execs, the suits) didn't think the mainstream would like his music. Nine albums later (all independently released), he's more popular than ever and continues to have a very dedicated underground following. I'd suggest you school yourself on his story by reading this excellent article detailing why aside from Kanye and Jay-Z, he made the most money in Hip Hop touring in 2008.

Tech N9ne - Inspirational Rapper by Angus Batey

Despite my affinity for his music and overall story I was still torn on attending the concert since it was out in the middle of nowhere about a half hour away and I would probably have to leave straight from work to get there on time.

...that all changed when I realized I had made the biggest rookie mistake ever. I didn't even bother to check who the opening act was for Tech N9ne. So about 3 hours before the concert started, I checked it out only to find that Slaughterhouse (best rap group in Hip Hop currently) was set to open for Tech N9ne. It was one of those rare moments in life where expectations were surpassed (kind of like this) and you were left feeling like you had bought that $1 power-ball ticket, fully expected to not win, then found out that same ticket you are holding is worth a whole lot more than you had thought.

Fast forward to the concert, which a concerted effort was made to be at well before any act was supposed to hit the stage because I was NOT going to miss Slaughterhouse. When I first walked into the Silo , I felt like I had entered a Juggalo convention and felt as out of place as a white kid could feel amongst other predominantly white people. I'll admit, I went through a phase in High School where I got a kick out of some of the crazy music that ICP produced, but I could only take so much of the violent, insane lyrics and it just got old. Still, I began to have a weird "this is about to be a train wreck" feeling because Slaughterhouse and Glasses Malone especially don't cater to this type of crowd.

When Glasses Malone hit the stage, he came out blazin' to one of his characteristically West Coast funk infused beats:

I didn't know he had signed to Cash Money Records, but evidently his upcoming album to be released in February titled Beach Cruiser is going to be released under that label with production coming from none other than DJ Toomp. Excited about that, but in general I felt bad for Glasses at the concert because (as you could tell by the crowd reaction in the video above) he definitely wasn't performing to a group of people that could appreciate his style Hip Hop. I'll be lookin' for that new album in February G Malone, glad I got to meet you after you performed.

Moving on to the much anticipated Slaughterhouse, who within one group brings together a regionally diverse combination of Hip Hop (Detroit, Long Beach, Brooklyn, Jersey) and fuses it together in such a high energy, engaging and witty way that you would swear they all were cut from the same cloth. Speaking of the regional pride each one of them brings to the group, here are each one of the members of Slaughterhouse paying tribute to where they came from by doing a quick rendition of a classic Hip Hop track from their home city:

Joe Budden Naughty by Nature Jersey Tribute with Slaughterhouse

Royce da 5'9 Detroit Tribute with Eminem's The Way I Am with Slaughterhouse

Joell Ortiz Biggie Hynotized Brooklyn Tribute with Slaughterhouse

Crooked I Ain't Nothin But A G Thang West Coast Tribute with Slaughterhouse

Apologies on the sound quality, the bass was a little much for my camera to handle...clearly. Still, Slaughterhouse rocked their set playing high energy favorites like Sound Off, Woodstock, The One, and even a Joe Budden led rendition of Pump it Up. To top it off the four lyricists made themselves accessible after their set at the merch booth (hence the up close and personal group photo above), openly greeting and taking pics with any and everyone. Basically everything you'd want and more than you would expect from four of the most underrated MCs in the game. True salt of the Hip Hop earth, passionate creators of independent Hip Hop. Despite their style differing from Tech N9ne's I can definitely appreciate their unrelenting passion for the craft of Hip Hop because they refuse to change their ways to make money like so many other acts in Hip Hop now. Looking forward for more to come from Joell, Royce, Crook, and set the bar high with the first album, I hope you all stay the course in doing your thing and remaining uncompromisingly dedicated to keeping it 100 and setting an example for Hip Hop to follow.

That leaves us with the main attraction, none other than Kansas City, MO's proudest inhabitant, Tech N9ne. Rather than trying to explain the hype and energy surrounding his entrance, I'd just press play below:

Yea he came out blazin' with his legendary machine gun flow. On a smaller scale it was sort of like Lil Wayne's entrnace to his show I went to earlier this year with the eerie lighting display. He came out looking like a killer with the white face paint and trademark 9 shirt. To go with his look, his stage show followed suit because he murdered the stage....absolutely killed it.

He performed like a seasoned vet who had been in the game for over a decade and I was impressed with how his other two sidekicks (Krizz Kaliko and Cutt Kalhoun) supported his act and seemed like they were actually a very necessary element of his stage show. For example, when he goes back and forth with Krizz on the track:

Welcome to the Midwest

I found it real surprising how well Tech was able to sample Dean Martin's song Sway and make those dramatic strings in the background of Dean's song fit with his HorrorHop feel. My favorite track he performed may have ended up being Caribou Lou, which is definitely one of the more a jump around style party track that will have you chanting the lyrics and mixing drinks like you're back in college.

Caribou Lou

From the jerky manor-isms to deep, wavering ghostly vocal tones, he set the stage for the crowd that showed up. He's like the Hip Hop King of the Misfits...a true outcast that has been able to inspire even the most death metal, goth stereotype into taking a liking to Hip Hop. Sure the lyrics can be more vulgar then Eminem and there's just as many drinking, smoking and sexual references scattered about his lyrics to scare the living daylights out of any parent currently raising a teenager...but that's his demographic. You gotta get in where you fit in and I've got a lot of respect for Tech doin' it by his lonesome, while also managing to inspire his lonesome following.

What the average person will miss and fail to understand is how his music has actually matured to a point where it sounds like he's using his clout and taking to that pedestal as the "Hip Hop King of the Misfits" to use his voice to now make more down to earth music that can appeal to the masses as well as the misfits. Yea everyone wants to be left alone and this beat could definitely get some love on the radio actually. Unfortunately, Tech stays true to his roots and throws in a little extra vulgarity just to be sure that he stays true to his roots and ensures he will never be that guy on the radio. I really think he would quit if everyone knew about him and liked him, it's just like that. Without further introduction here's his new song (can't really call it a single since there is no much thing in his life):

Leave Me Alone

"Where i'm at right now, I ain't got no tolerance for somethin stupid, or hatred, or envy.
If you bringin any one of those, How bout, Leave me alone.
They pray i'll free fall any day, Well I don't need yall anyway.
Negativity give me nay ya finna hear me say.
Just leave me right here with my henny, say my chicks an plenty pay.
Your boy Tech done blown, an still rep the home, but now I just wanna be left alone.
They wish death and my flesh and my chromosomes slept my songs, they need a little bit less Patron. - Tech N9ne (first verse)

Overall, I enjoyed the show that Slaughterhouse and Tech N9ne put on...and I feel like the my message in the title about Hip Hop taking note wasn't just a feeble attempt at a newsworthy headline, I meant it. You can tell that Tech N9ne appreciates his fan base and truly cares about the quality of his show. There's no mailing it in during his act because he really likes the niche he's created in Hip Hop and takes pride in leading that group. He's the CEO of his own Strange Music record company and would you believe that Snoop Dogg is only two weeks older than Tech N9ne? You don't see a 38 year old Snoop jumpin' around all crazy in middle of nowhere PA trying to inspire the local teenagers to keep their hands up for an hour and a half do you? No you sure as hell don't and Snoop is also not making the same $$ as Tech N9ne touring...I rest my yourself a favor and find some Tech N9ne songs like Midwest Choppers, Now It's On or even It's Alive(which he says my full name at the 3:21 mark of the lie listen to it). I'll leave you with DJ Chill cuttin' up some Tech N9ne favorites:

Click Here for over 10 more videos from the concert


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