The opening two tracks of Tech N9ne’s collaboration album Welcome to Strangeland lives up to the album’s title by being, well, strange. The combination of electronic noises and audio effects gives the opening two songs an otherworldly feel, but the album starts to settle down with “Unfair,” the album’s third song.
“Unfair” starts slowly with violins and drums, and Tech N9ne demonstrates his technical prowess by alternating from slow and rhythmic to machine-gun speed in the same verse. Tech proteges Krizz Kaliko, Ubiquitous and Godemis stand out solidly on the track as well. “Kocky,” the next song, features Kutt Calhoun and Jay Rock, and at this point the album starts to have an identity as a stage for Tech N9ne to feature some talented independent artists with whom he works.
The album’s focus returns briefly to Tech N9ne himself on “Who Do I Catch,” where he shares his story about taking the industry by surprise and wonders how to grow and expand next.
The following two songs on the album briefly touch on the causes of some of the personal drama in Tech N9ne’s life in recent years. “My Favorite” explores the excesses in life, and “Retrogression” talks about the temptation of drugs. “Bang Out” follows the theme of vices, bragging about sex with such adroit rap technique the rap skill is the main focus instead of the subject matter.
Tech N9ne then jackhammers the beat with his flow on “Beautiful Music,” a solo track discussing his desire to be with a woman who doesn’t want anything to do with him. He switches the pace on “Won’t You Come Dirty,” a slow sex song with Darth Vader breaths overlaying the beat.
The album gets serious again with “Sad Circus,” “The Noose” and “Slave,” songs discussing loneliness, the world’s hopelessness and hard work, respectively. In “Overwhelming,” Tech N9ne thanks fans for embracing him so wholeheartedly. The album closes on a confident note with “Gods,” as Tech N9ne, Krizz Kaliko and Kutt Calhoun declare themselves to be gods of rap.
The bonus tracks are solid but unforgettable, so it probably is not worth buying the Deluxe edition unless you’re a diehard “Technician.”