Tech N9ne, AngHellic

Tech N9ne, AngHellic (2001)

Cross Marilyn Manson with Papa Roach and DMX and you’ll come close to the sound that emanates from Tech N9ne’s debut album, AngHellic. Brash and operatic with strong Gothic overtones, AngHellic finds the one-time guest on Sway & Tech’s memorable 1999 all-star jam “The Anthem” rattling off rap styles with lightning quick speed. Inviting comparison as the rap equivalent of death metal gods Napalm Death, Tech N9ne rattles off nonsensical lines like “If there was a felony/I would be on the line hella doin’ time for the” on “Stamina,” his voice paired in perfect time to the clips being discharged from the automatic machine gun that bears his namesake. Part madman, part cipher-killing MC, Tech N9ne uses AngHellic to display his obsessions with murder, survival, and equally crazed women that he terms on one track as “Psychobitch.” Eager to make his mark as an evil alternative to thugged-out rap clones, he commands on “Sinistertech,” “Bounce rock skate or fight shoot hate,” warning how he’s a “realistic hedonistic killer with a vengeance.” Vocally, he’s a wonder, able to switch from a low growl to a high barking tone in mere seconds; like Mystikal, he can speed up his raps from declamatory shouting to mind-bending verbal volleys. The best tracks pair Tech N9ne’s skills with ominous jeep beats. “Sinistertech,” produced by William “The Weirdo” Wilson and Sean “Icy Roc Kraven” Raspberry, sounds like a Too Short track from hell; “Real Killer,” which debates the merits of abortion, reunites him with King Tech on a midtempo track. He even rhymes over a jungle beat laid down by Grant Rice on “Purgatory,” rapping in a cadence similar to the D.O.C.’s classic “It’s Funky Enough.” Freaky and unpredictable, Tech N9ne’s sheer originality may require a leap of faith for more conservative rap listeners. His dour attitude – he even confesses, “I just wanna die” on “Suicide Letters” – is a stark contrast to the standard hip-pop fare being shoveled out on the daily on MTV and BET.  But AngHellic may be combustible enough to put Tech N9ne’s hometown of Kansas City on the hip-hop map. Jcor Records, with distribution by Universal Music.

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