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Although a Bit of a Mixed Bag, Tech N9ne’s 24th Album “Bliss” Finds Him Free of Any Conflict (Album Review)

If anyone’s been following me long enough up to this point, you probably already know that I’ve covered Tech N9ne quite a bit around here. Starting out 3 decades back as a member of the groups Black Mafia as well as the 57th Street Rogue Dog Villians & Nnutthowze, his profile began to increase in the late 90’s after landing a spot on the Gang Related soundtrack & becoming among the first to join Yukmouth’s then-newly formed collective The Regime. But after having issues with Interscope Records & Universal Music Group following the release of his iconic 3rd album Anghellic, that’s when Tech decided to form his own label with the help of a man at Paradise Originals named Travis O’Guin. Together, they would call it Strange Music & solidified itself as one of if not the biggest indie label in the world. Tech has made it a tradition to drop an album every year since Everready (The Religion) back in ‘06 but after a taking a year off when Asin9ne came out a couple falls ago, N9na’s returning from the snake & bat-cave to unleash his monstrously long 24th full-length album.

After the introductory “Welcome to the P.I.T.S.” skit, the first song “Badge of Honor” is a trap/rock crossover talking about never needing exactly that whereas “Knock featuring Conway the Machine as well as X-Raided & Joyner Lucas all come together for a boom bap-inflicted tribute to the 50th anniversary of hip hop. Conway steals the show with his verse followed by Tech’s, then X-Raided’s & Joyner’s being the weakest in my respectful opinion due to his triteness. “KC Huh? KC What?” goes back into trap territory shedding light on Kansas City up-&-comers King D, Lil’ Ava & Roblo Dastar leading into N9na reuniting with The Popper on the catchy “They Know Meh” talking about being known everywhere they go.

After the “Y’all Having a Good Time?” skit, “Tell Everyone” is another highlight for me personally as it’s a victorious ode to the Kansas City Chiefs winning this year’s Super Bowl & I acknowledge Pat Mahomes as the best QB in the league even though I’m more of a Pats/Buccs guy leading into “Things I Like” is a groovy rap rock banger talking about everything he enjoys. “3D” has a more atmospheric flare to it declaring he can see you in 1-dimension, but then “W H A T (We’re Hungry & Thirsty)” by BL1GHT featuring Kim Dracula is a decent trap metal “Riot Maker” callback in contrast to Tech & HU$H’s damn-near unlistenable eponymous brostep EP couple years ago.

After the “Crowd Participation” skit, “Wess Paul Bennett” featuring Joey Cool & King Iso find the trio attack everyone who downplays them over a rich trap beat while “Pull Out” might be the worst cut on the whole album. Not saying Tech can’t make love songs, he’s done it numerous times in the past whether it be “The Beast” or “Love Me Tomorrow”. It just sounds almost as corny as “Fish in a Pita” back on the Dominion collabos album. “Fatha Fig Ya (Food For Thought)” makes up the cringe with some pianos & hi-hats talking out how days will come while the “Reach Us” featuring X-Raided, 2Gunn Kevi & Head da Don is a cavernously decent trap cut with a lazy hook about haters.

“Red Aura” with Qveen Herby has to be another standout with it’s kicked-back sound & a way better chorus dedicated to his favorite color (& mine personally too) prior to the “Screen” remix featuring Jehry Robinson gives a more heinous trap approach asking why motherfuckers be knocking on the door of their properties. After the “That Was Dope!” skit, “Drill Sergeant” works in some creepy piano chords comparing himself to a noncommissioned officer that trains soldiers in basic military skills prior to “Bro So Mo (Lemony Snicket’s)” getting in his storytelling bag paying homage to the titular author over synths & hi-hats.

The final leg of the album starts with Ubiquitous of prior CES Cru fame coming into the picture for “I Met a Morph” looking back on the old versions of themselves accompanied by symphonics & after the last skit “Problem at the Pump”, the song “Deer Alley” somberly details how much of a super inconvenience it is when you roll in the titular place while the penultimate track “2 Happy” by the Nnutthowze sees the 3 joyfully talking about being proud of being fucked up. “Got What I Wanted” ends the indie hip hop veteran’s 24th full-length with a warm ode to give him what’s his since he’s been all over the world

As a long-time Tech N9ne/Strange Music since high school, what else can I say other than Bliss has left me torn much like Enterfear & Asin9ne. The way he exemplifies just how far away he feels from conflict of any sort comes from a genuine place & the production’s cool, but it didn’t need to be 25 tracks/76 minutes long & the guest all perform on his caliber at best or mid to unlistenable at worst. If he left half of what we got here on the cutting room floor, I would’ve most likely enjoyed what we got here but that’s ok when you have that much of a extensive discography.

Score: 5/10

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