Kendrick Lamar and Tech N9ne came together in 2013 for “Fragile,” a single from Tech N9ne’s album Something Else and right then and there you could see how similar the two were in style. With aggressive deliveries, both gives the listener verses that show a side of sensitivity when it comes to their respective crafts. The chemistry between two of hip hop’s best artists right now was enough to make me want more, but what would really up the ante is if there was a little crew love next time around (pause).
Top Dawg Entertainment’s roster is one of rap’s strongest at the moment. Their star player Kendrick Lamar is walking the path of many legends before him, Schoolboy Q is one of hip hop’s rising stars, Ab-Soul is an undeniable force on the microphone, and Jay Rock is the team’s spine, opting to play the background in most situations. Along with the crew’s new members Isaiah Rashad and SZA, TDE is running the table with their brand of substance heavy music that can touch a vast audience. At the end of the day I love them because they provide a departure from the normal trap/money rap we get from everybody else.
Strange Music is Tech N9ne’s collective of off center spitters that don’t lend any parts of themselves to the mainstream, but get busy in their verses. The crew consisting of familiar names such as underground legend Murs, horrorcore king Brother Lynch Hung, and of course Tech N9ne, among plenty of other talented emcees, is a representation of what rap would be like if industry standards weren’t standing in the way. Strange Music is independent from the bottom to the top which grants their artists a certain creative freedom that you won’t find anywhere else. The model has worked so well so far that it attracted one of TDE’s own when Jay Rocked inked a deal with the imprint back in 2010.
Jay Rock’s affiliations with hip hop’s favorite crew and the independent powerhouse is the reason why this makes so much sense. TDE’s backbone ditched the majors and took his career, and fanbase, to a label that cut out the middle man. The relevance lies in TDE’s clear unwillingness to completely conform to the status quo of the music industry. If Top Dawg Ent. wasn’t gunning for rap supremacy I could easily see every artist on the label taking this same route.
On Tech N9ne’s latest project Strangeulation: The Collabos, he has a set of interludes that showcase the styles of almost every artist on his label which they compiled to make the “Strangeluation Cypher.” Clocking in at over nine minutes, the consistency and the fact that every artist on it rapped their ass off made this one of the best moments for hip hop in 2014.
This got me to thinking about how dope it would be if TDE joined in on the action. They’re the only crew that could ride in the lane that the Strange Music crew cruises in. Outspoken assassins all bodying a beat trying to outdo each other. Every single artist on both roster’s styles screams “I’m better than you” as loud as possible, this would be the perfect scenario for all of them to plead their cases, and make an amazing moment in hip hop history for the fans and artists alike.
Now think about how dope it would be if they all got together to flex their muscle on one instrumental? Imagination is key, but it doesn’t take a genius to see how this would turn out.
With four albums from TDE down, and two more to go – we’ve yet to hear any new material from Jay Rock. Here’s to hoping that this could be something in the cookbook, if not now, then atleast for the future.
They’re two of the hottest crews in hip hop, they both have the talent and the credentials to make this one a classic, but until then…
Why haven’t they collaborated yet?