For his eleventh album, Kansas City’s Tech N9ne has chosen to go for a double LP in the form of Killer. Bold move, Tech N9ne. With album sales famously weak, it’s unexpected for an artist to spend the additional time and money on an extra long tracklist that won’t retail for an extra long price. Add that to the Thriller-esque cover art with Tech in a straight jacket and it would seem that if Tech N9ne isn’t crazy, he at least wants us to think he is.
Starting with the obvious complaint, yes, the 32-song double-disc format is a bit much. Many have tried their luck in the double LP game and while a few classics have come from these attempts, more often, the overall product would’ve been better if it were just the best 15 or so songs made into a single album (see Blueprint 2.1). Honestly, Killer probably would’ve been more manageable as a single album as well, but the good news is that it isn’t necessarily because Tech N9ne doesn’t have enough to say.
For the most part, Tech finds ways to inject something different into each song. “Pillow Talk” with Scarface warns gangstas about the dangers of telling their girls too many secrets. “Psycho Bitch II” samples the title track from the 80’s Phantom of the Opera musical, a surprising but successful choice. On “Crybaby,” Tech put his two cents in on the supposed death of Hip Hop but accuses rappers of being whiners that don’t know how to adapt, an uncommon take on an otherwise worn-out subject.
Few tracks feel like filler material, but there’s still some unwelcome redundancy. There’s a loose concept of the album being a look inside Tech N9ne‘s mind, but once there, we find that what he’s mostly thinking about is sex. That’s fine up to a point, but it does eventually get old and, to put it bluntly, he sounds like Ludacris on a lot of those songs. It doesn’t help shake the comparison when he even goes so far as to get fresh with Luda‘s “ex” (Shawnna, on “Wheaties”).
Heading into his tenth year, Tech N9ne is hitting an important stage in his career so the statement behind releasing a double LP may outweigh the fact that the extra songs are unnecessary. His approach is a bit heavy handed, but Tech N9ne is demanding to be taken seriously. While he’s unlikely to become a household name, those who know him should be able to look at him with respect – that still counts for something, right?