Last year, Tech N9ne released his Strangeulation Collabos album to assert Strange Music’s dominance in the music industry. Today (November 20), he’s back with Strangeulation Vol. II. The sequel includes 23 tracks from the independent label’s roster.
“I wanted to showcase on this one that we’re even better than the first one,” Tech N9ne says in an exclusive interview with HipHopDX. “We’re even rougher lyrically and more complex lyrically. I wanted to show progression. I wanted to show elevation, more elevation, not just us staying the same as the last one. The beats are better, the flows are better, the concepts are better, so that’s what I wanted to show, that we’re getting better and better as we go, still on the incline. Strangeulation, we’ve got the industry in a tighter chokehold now.”
The Strangeulation series continues the Kansas City rapper’s collaborative projects that include 2010’s The Gates Mixed Plate and 2011’s Welcome to Strangeland.
On Strangeulation Vol. II’s “Praise KOD,” Tech N9ne pays tribute to his mother, who passed away in 2014, by shouting “Lajfa,” an acronym for “Liberty and justice for all,” his mother’s reported last words. Tech N9ne addressed his sadness at losing her earlier this year on cuts from his Special Effects solo LP. On Strangeulation Vol. II, he details how he found peace with her passing.
“When I realized that feeling in my chest, that extra happiness, that extra push, I start smiling because I feel like it was her spirit joining mine,” he says. “I was already a happy person, but after she passed and all the sadness came through the music like ‘Lacrimosa’ and ‘Aw Yeah? (InterVENTion)’ and all the songs where I touched on it, I think after the hurt, I realized that she’s a part of me now. The healing process has been one that turned into something glorious. It turned into something wonderful, just smile and look up at the moon and see the moon smiling at me and it reminds me of her face. When the moon smiles at you, you know that you’re in the favor of Gods.”
Strangeulation Vol. II Features Murs & New Strange Music Act Darrein Safron
Strangeulation Vol. II features Strange’s newest signee, R&B crooner Darrein Safron. Murs, who released Have a Nice Life on the label in May, also appears on multiple tracks.
One of the cuts is a voicemail Tech N9ne left on Murs’ phone. The Kansas City rapper says that his messages are reflective of his relationships with his artists. The song, “Message to Murs,” leads into the lighthearted “Blunt and a Ho,” which are topics that differ from Murs’ usual content.
“He thought it was so good, he thought we should start the song off with that message I left,” Tech N9ne says. “Any message I leave on any of my artists’ phone is actually really good because I’m a weirdo. I was a born weirdo so I would save everything I said, too. Sometimes it’s prolific, sometimes it’s bonkers, but Murs thought it would be wonderful to have me giving him instruction on how to do the song and everything and it worked, going right into ‘Blunt and a Ho.’ I feel like when everything is bad, as long as you got a blunt and a ho on your lap, I think you’ll be OK.”
A more serious Strangeulation Vol. II song is “Tell Me If I’m Trippin’” with Prozak and Brotha Lynch Hung. In his verse, Tech details a time when he thought his house was being broken into. The police came and the trespassers left, but went to co-founder Travis O’Guin’s house, where video cameras caught three teenagers who Tech says were trying to find a party.
“Everybody was ok, but if I would’ve opened the door and they would’ve came in, I would’ve killed ‘em,” he says. “To protect my son and my loved ones on the inside, just in case they wanted to try something crazy. I’d do anything for my loved ones. I would never like to kill anyone, but to protect my loved ones, I will.”
Among his loved ones are Strange Music’s fans. For those that pre-ordered Strangeulation Vol. II, Tech N9ne chose 20 names to send signed prints to. He says that finding creative ways to thank his Technicians is one of the joys of being an independent label.
“If you don’t have fans, you have nothing,” he says. “Fans don’t have to care about your albums. They don’t have to care about buying your CDs or anything. They don’t have to care about that, but they do and it’s a blessing to have people that follow your craft. So you should never forget that and do whatever you can to keep giving them more to say thank you because I know that you don’t have to be here. I’m just a psycho cat that writes his life and nobody had to care, but thousands and thousands and thousands of people do.”
Watch the “Cypher I” from Strangeulation Vol. II and Tech N9ne explaining the cyphers on the album below: