Release date- July 30, 2013
Right out the gate, we begin things with the super charged opener, well, "Straight Out The Gate", lol! As I was listening to Tech essentially rip this beat to shreds, I was picturing Eminem being a guest here, and I feel that would've made a tight collaboration. Speaking of collaborations, we get a decent number of those on this first part of the album. Kendrick Lamar comes off well as expected on "Fragile", Big Scoob (another Kansas City rep with Tech), Red Cafe (someone I'm also a fan of) and Trae tha Truth are welcomed additions on "With The BS", The Game and Angel Davenport stop through for the brief but tight "Priorities" and T-Pain brings it on the hook of "B.I.T.C.H.", which stands for Breakin Into The Colored Houses. I really like that song, due to the fact that Tech talks about not really being accepted by his own people, but he's pushing through regardless, through sheer force of will, and you gotta admire that. "Love 2 Dislike Me" is an appropriately titled track, and although the song is ok and Tech's flow is completely hardcore throughout, the rock infused track was a little busy at times. Man, this would be 4 stars on its own, however, "Fortune Force Field" and "I'm Not A Saint" seem a little out of place on this part of the album.
"So Dope (They Wanna)" is just that, dope. Tech starts things off with an incredible verse (his flow has to be heard to be appreciated), and guests Snow tha Product, Twisted Insane and Wreckonize follow suit with tight verses of their own. They're not promoting the use of drugs, but their saying the song (as well as themselves) are SO dope, you can't do nothing but mess with it, the best song on the "Water" part. "Dwamn" was ok, but in my view this was a direct or indirect attempt at radio play, and listening to this song, it sounds like something that the radio would play these days. That's no knock on Tech at all, but it was clearly different from everything else on this album. I wasn't too crazy about "See Me" and while Tech did his thing (B.O.B. provided a decent hook), Wiz Khalifa added nothing as usual.
I really like this part of the album, as Tech gets into deep territory after the aggressive tones of the "Fire" part and the brief, easy going nature of the "Water" part. Whether he was talking about his frustrations with the world ("My Haiku- Burn The World"), fate intervening with his family and career ("Meant To Happen"), faith ("Believe") and a dedication to the kids (the Big Krit, Cee Lo Green and Kutt Calhoun featured "That's My Kid"), Tech tackles all of these subjects with relative ease and truly shows his versatility as an artist. Add in a very good closer in the form of "Strange 2013", this would also be 4 stars own its own.
I gotta say thanks to Matt Gargus again for this recommendation, and I certainly was impressed throughout. I just may become a Tech N9ne as a result of this album, which is pretty excellent. On the lyrical end, Tech comes through every step of the way. The production, mostly done by Seven (with additional contributions by Scoop Deville, Drumma Boy, Young Fyre, etc), was very good too, especially on the "Fire" part of the album. Overall, I'll go with a 4.5 star rating for this album, a strong recommendation and it has a spot waiting for it on my Best Albums of 2013 list. Job well done.