Summary

Building on the pop and polish of his 2011 release All 6's and 7's, this 2013 effort from Tech N9ne finds the angry and angsty rapper bringing back some of the horror show rap of his early days, which is good, because now his nightmares are not only vivid, but incredibly well-funded. Tortured souls looking to enter the ring (or pit) couldn't ask for a more epic entrance theme than "Straight Out the Gate," which throws a children's choir, System of a Down's Serj Tankian, and an orchestra into a rap-rock mix that would be endorsed by Zeus. Here and elsewhere, Tech tears down his critics when any Internet search box will reveal his reviews have been generally quite good in recent years, but Something Else overcomes these moments with an attitude that the whole world should submit to the rapper's Strange Music empire, and he's going to keep stomping and storming until even Grandma is a fan. Joining the club feels triumphant during these moments, while, believe it or not, "Bitch" offers a more layered argument that Tech is the real deal, with T-Pain and touchy racial issues all being skillfully juggled by a man who once seemed strictly juggaloo. "Fragile" ups the game artistically with jazz club ambience and the great Kendrick Lamar as guest star, and right before "My Haiku - Burn the World" brings on the Strange Music family with longtime friend Krizz Kaliko in tow, Tech unleashes a kinetic bit of Death Grips-like punk-rap that's clever as all hell. Late in the game, there's the true pop-rap uplift of "Believe" and the weird, wonderful mash-up "Strange 2013," where Tech meets the remaining members of the Doors and a Jim Morrison sample. Big and bold the whole way through and with nary a stumble, Something Else is another triumph from Tech. ~ David Jeffries