For those who have followed Tech N9ne since the '90's it is easy to see how Tech N9ne as an artist has changed. This is a good thing, actually. Anything that is stagnant quickly dies. Tech N9ne knows that best - hence his inability to sit still. One thing that has never changed for Tech, however, is his supreme sense of lyricism, rhythm and innovative slang. This has been shown manifest on every single album he has created. He has a unique and genius way of telling a story. Plus, everyone knows that Tech N9ne puts on the best Rap performance. So before people jump this post for hating on Tech N9ne, I would like to emphasize THAT.
Despite the qualities aforementioned that we all know and love from Tech, there are a few noticeable flaws in his rapping persona as of late:
1. Corny Beats: I don't know if he surrounds himself with those who challenge his choices in this area - he needs to - but often times his selections are questionable. Even songs that have the potential to be classic are hindered by the underwhelming aura of simple, time-sensitive beats. This is greatly shown on Absolute Power and Everready. I'm not bashing producers like Seven, Femi Ojetunde or the Technico Bros. because they are incredible producers and at the end of the day, it is Tech who decides what beat makes the album and what doesn't. I do feel as though however, that it's almost ubiquitously percieved that the production on AngHellic has yet to be matched by any Tech N9ne album. Don Juan, who produced the bulk of AngHellic has also had issues matching it as of late. But the existence of corny beats is sometimes saved by Tech's phenomenal lyrical and recording ability. Most of the time, however, mediocre beats create an unsalable track.
2. Lengthy Albums: I don't know if I can name a Tech N9ne album from this decade under 20 tracks. Although Tech N9ne has claimed to have all "killer and no filler," unfortunately sub-par songs that are included on his albums are translated into just that - filler. Now, mind you Calm Before the Storm and AngHellic had very little filler. It wasn't until Absolutely Power when the rise of the filler track was seen. With Tech's powerful, epic and awe-inspiring titles, these tracks just aren't appropriate and don't match. If Tech were to release these tracks separately on a street album such as Mizery Loves Kompany with an appropriate name that matches the music, I think we'd all be happy. Actually, songs that often times make his "bonus" list should replace certain tracks on the actual album (IE: Victory on Absolutely Power)
3. Mis-Guided Touring: We all know that Tech N9ne is still - despite fame - an upcoming artist. Touring is one of the best ways to continue to get your name out there and to attract supporters. There is no doubt also that the amount of touring he has engaged was essential to the almost mainstream status he now holds. Touring for three-fourths of the year, however, is a bit too much. Another issue with the surge in touring is the susceptibility of mis-guided decisions. If Tech is to branch out, he can no longer only revert to the likes of the Kottonmouth Kingz and ICP because he has that demographic on lock - they will come to any Tech N9ne show. Tech has recently shifted from quality and into quantity in this realm. When supporters of Tech see hundreds of show dates on a tour list, they wonder "When does he have time to actually conceptualize his music and record it?"
4. Mediocre Album Artwork: Here I just want to focus on Tech N9ne from the past five years (where he has a substantial budget). There are minor flaws that aesthetically hold Tech back. On the cover of Absolutely Power Tech Is on a stage running to the camera in front of a raging crowd. Conceptually, this cover is effective and quite good. The blurred faces of the crowd and the empty space in the back of the stands, however, is not appealing and is frankly odd. On Everready, Tech takes on a Matrix-esque persona with designer sunglasses and a background repeatedly laced with some sort of plummeting code - as in the movie The Matrix. Tech for the first time also wears a chain with an iced-out medallion. The chain would be fine it it weren't for the visually cheap chain that supports the over-sized medallion. In other photos In the inside of the album artwork it also seems as though the faddish sunglasses he's wearing were Photoshop'd onto his face. The artistic mis-direction can also be the blame for the apparent commercialization of Tech N9ne's music (which I don't believe). An investment in better, tastefully done artwork would work three times as hard as what he currently uses. Killer, is an exception. That was a great idea and was done nicely - proof of forethought.
5. Too Much Performance Music: It's almost clearly apparent the that music that Tech has been putting out has been molded around the reliance of performing. Mind you, this is not entirely bad because Hip-Hop is supposed to make you move. It can however, manufacture the death of the introspective Tech N9ne that is the foundation of his popularity. I realize that Tech N9ne is getting older day by day - he's already 37 - but if he want's to preserve his legacy he cannot continue rapping solely for a sold-out show. At this point, show's will do that easily. Tech needs to take some time to listen to other artists music, think about his experiences and wishes and rap about them. There are innumerable benefits to doing so. Making classic music that is not time-sensitive is one of the most important. Tech's business sense is seemingly seeping into his music in a tainting way. This needs to be thoroughly addressed.
The great thing about these problems is that they are easily fixable. No one is perfect, and that's understood universally. But one of the best emcee's in the game, needs to tie those lose ends to maintain his supremacy. Although new fans are catching on in sizable proportions, they are increasingly bandwaggonish and unknowing of the actual personality and potential of Tech N9ne due to the current hurdles that they have to face when presented with him. A fan of Soulja Boi or Dem Franchise Boys is different from a fan of Rakim or X-Clan. Tech N9ne needs an intelligent community to produce and inspire intelligent music. Obviously there are other issues that Tech needs to address like questionable collaborations but with guided redirection utilizing the critiques aforementioned will remedy those flaws and to put the music back into the drivers seat of his career.