Tech N9ne
Show: Tech N9ne
Date: June 4, 2014
Venue: House of Blues
City: West Hollywood, CA

Tech N9ne
Photo by Nicolas Bates
Written by Dan Sinclair

Just off the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, a writer and a photographer stand outside the House of Blues, anxious to cover Tech N9ne spit out some quick-ass rhymes. One excited young man seems to recognize this duo and asks them, “Hey, are y’all with TMZ?” Saddened that they are not, in fact, TMZ, the music-loving twosome must let the poor young man easy with a simple, “No.” They are not TMZ. They are also not ticket scalpers who stand outside of Phantogram shows, either (anyone remember that one?). They are simply Nick and Dan, the proud, beautiful faces of the Live and Loud section of RUKUS magazine, and they are ready to cover some Tech N9ne for you, dear readers.

Inside the House of Blues, it’s packed from wall to wall with hip-hop fans from just about every background. Though the writer tried, he could not stereotype typical Tech N9ne fans by race, sex, age or lifestyle as it appeared every single one was represented by somebody that night in West Hollywood. And none of said groups seemed against blowing large clouds of marijuana smoke from any given spot throughout the club. Oh, and they’re pretty fucking amped. They all started screaming even when the dude was just doing the sound check.

But soon enough the curtain is raised and Kansas City, Missouri’s own Aaron Dontez Yates, better known as the one and only Tech N9ne, takes the stage donning all black except for white face paint. And he’s just as excited to be here as the crowd is. “Hell, yeah! Let’s do this! What the fuck’s up, L.A.?” Apparently screaming is what the fuck is up in Los Angeles as the writer nearly goes deaf from the overwhelming response from the fans. “You ready to do this shit?” Yes, it appears that everyone is definitely ready to do this shit.

Oh, but are they, really? Tech N9ne rips right into the first verse of “Strange Music Box,” and the crowd has difficulty rapping along to “I’ve been hibernatin’ in the deepest darkest part of Necroplis/Now that I’m poppin’ its top, yes, I’m the opposite of monogamous.” But as the lyrics get faster and faster, they resort back to just dancing and clapping along instead.

But there is one man who comes damn close to matching the lightning-fast words that race out of Tech N9ne’s kisser, and that’s longtime collaborator Krizz Kaliko. He takes the second verse, and then gets his own intro as Tech N9ne leaves him alone on stage. Krizz takes this time to remind the crowd that “Y’all can’t fuck with us!” This is fine though as it didn’t appear that anyone was going to. Krizz is not only a talented MC by the way, he shows off his lungs later in the evening and the man’s got a pretty fucking great singing voice to boot.

Eventually Tech N9ne returns to the stage to kick the show back into gear with crowd favorite “Riotmaker.” It’s been said that the nickname “Tech N9ne” was given to Mr. Yates because his rhymes shot out of his mouth much like the way bullets do from an assault rifle, and I don’t think there really is a better description than that one, honestly. It’s this ridiculously fast speed his verses spray out into the mic that really sets him apart from his contemporaries. While many so-called rappers focus on creating the perfect catchy hook, N9ne constantly reminds us the most attractive part of this art form is still the flow of the verse. And those verses get faster and faster as the night goes on.

And there is no better sidekick to match Tech N9ne beat for beat than Krizz Kaliko as the two battle their way through damn near 40 songs over the course of the night, giving fans max bang for their minimum buck. What songs you ask? Songs like “Like Yeah,” “Einstein,” “Am I Psycho?,” “Hard,” “He’s a Mental Giant,” “Worldwide Choppers” and “I’m a Playa” among many more. The songs just keep coming one right after another, and no fan wants it to end as they continue to dance, sing and smoke weed the whole night through.

The House of Blues felt like a house party, but instead of shitty music barely seeping out of someone’s old boom box, this one featured the booming acoustics the Sunset Strip is famous for and rapid, never-ending lyrics from one of the fastest MCs in hip-hop today. And it’s a party where everyone can be themselves no matter who they are or what they look like. Oh, and face painting is not only welcome, it’s fucking encouraged.

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