Tech N9ne

Absolute Power

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One of the most unique lyricists and performers in the underground rap universe, the enigmatic Tech N9ne (aka Aaron Yates) has put Kansas City on the hip-hop map both through his work with stars like 2Pac and Eminem and with a handful of his own hardcore solo efforts. Tired of getting ripped off by fly-by-night indie labels, Tech N9ne took matters into his own hands with Absolute Power, releasing the album on his Strange Music label. Expressing disdain for the music industry, its immoral business practices, and the de facto segregation of the radio airwaves, Tech N9ne opens Absolute Power with the powerful "The Industry Is Punks." The song is delivered with the rapper's trademark rapid-fire rhythm, hitting the listener like the business end of a sledgehammer and matched with an almost operatic chorus. "Here Comes Tecca Nine" is a shout-out to Kansas City, "Imma Tell" uses a strange repeating vocal sample that sounds like it was taken from an old Italian comedy film and thrown behind a tale of hometown high jinks. "Slacker" provides a new definition to the fabled lifestyle while "Slither," based on N9ne's experiences in K.C.-area strip clubs, is a theatrical horror story complete with sexy vampires. Tech N9ne's self-professed insanity (crazy like a fox, actually) manifests itself in cuts like "Trapped in a Psycho's Body," the artist struggling with personal demons, and on the Middle Eastern-flavored "She Devil" (with Detroit crew D-12), the song's protagonist yielding to temptation with disastrous results. The high point of Absolute Power is "Worst Enemy," N9ne's vocal gymnastics punctuated by anger and confusion as he reveals the shocking identity of his "enemy" at the song's conclusion. What sets Tech N9ne apart from his hip-hop counterparts is an unusual ability to change the flow of his rhymes, from scattershot, machine-gun styling to absurd, almost DJ Screw-like vocal molasses. Paired with his intelligent, cinematic-oriented poetry, Tech N9ne is a cerebral assassin using words as his weapon and music as his medium. An important and groundbreaking release, Absolute Power is as original in its delivery and all-encompassing in its scope as the early Public Enemy albums. A bonus DVD disc included with Absolute Power offers six previously unreleased songs and live performance and interview video footage.

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