Strange Music. Always a good time, always fun memories, and always something special when they come to the The Strange New World Tour was supposed to come around in 2020, but obviously was postponed and had a bit of a lineup change due to the change of schedule. Originally it was going to be Tech N9ne, Jelly Roll, King Iso, Maez 301, and Jehry Robinson. The tour that came to be is without Jelly Roll and was switched out with former Strange Music artist Rittz, who now has founded his own record label called Whenever Tech N9ne and CNT Records, the rest of the tour has remained the same… kind of, more on that in a minute.
Company come around the New England area, it’s an event, and not just because Strange Music fans come from every corner of the area to come see their favorite artists, but because Tech always makes it a point to make his Worcester Palladium shows something to see over any other show on the tour. This night was no exception, because not only did Tech N9ne bring a show for the ages on this tour, but he brought it back to back show both Friday and Saturday night. The first show being a regular Tech N9ne show, which is always a good time. And then the second show which was dubbed a One Night Special event, “The Dark Side of Tech N9ne”.
First up to bring the hype was Maez 301. Signed to Strange Music in 2019, I had yet to see what this guy could do on stage, and let me tell you. Maez is about it. He knows exactly what he’s doing and made the stage a full playground with ease. Party anthems, hype choruses, and stage presence that cannot be denied. I’m so glad that he signed to Strange Music, I can see very very big things for him in the future. Stay tuned!
Next up on this tonight was Jehry Robinson, who’s coming off of the success and hype of his sophomore record The Name Is Not Important (Strange Music Inc). As soon as he got on stage you could definitely tell that he was from the East Coast, as opposed to most of Strange Music’s roster who are from the Midwest, with the exception of ¡MAYDAY! His in your face attitude and ability to switch styles on the fly make for a very dynamic and uplifting performance. He has his bangers, he has his inspirational songs, he has his “chase your dreams” anthems. He has it all. Most people say I look out for an artist‘s ”sophomore slump”, Jehry doesn’t have that, he’s just getting started, folks. He isn’t gonna be going anywhere for a very long time, and I’m so excited to see where he goes from here!
Making his way to the stage after Jehry’s set was the general of the Mental Health Army himself, King Iso! Coming to the stage with a cadence that only King Iso can, picture if you can a true lyricist of his time with the hype and energy of Waka Flocka Flame. Going through a massive Setlist of banger after banger, all the while having the message of “You matter. Keep going”. One of the many reasons I love Kingi Iso is that he is a humongous advocate for mental health awareness and mental health, which is an amazing thing to see. It’s rare that an artist can not only make you wanna go crazy in the pit, but also tell you in the same breath “Don’t quit no matter what anyone says!” This was my first time seeing Iso live and damn sure isn’t going to be my last.
Coming next to the stage, red sequined jacket and all, was Rittz. I haven’t seen Rittz since he was on the Independent Powerhouse Tour back in 2013, when Tech was touring in support of his album Something Else (Strange Music), so needless to say, I was very excited to see you what was gonna happen. Swaggering onto the stage like the southern gentleman that he is, Rittz put on a show that you really have to experience first hand to appreciate in its entirety. Tommy gun flows, metaphors and wordplay that makes Webster’s Dictionary look like a nursery rhyme book, and style so his own that it makes all the sense in the world that he went and founded his own record label.
And now, the main event. The number one selling independent rapper of all time, the Red Kingdom commander-in-chief himself, Mr. Tech N9ne! Remember when I said that this show was a special night? This is where we find out why. The flyer for the show said “A Special One Night Only Event: The Dark Side of Tech N9ne”. So I assumed it was going to be a lot of his deeper cuts and not so much played songs, specifically songs off of his beloved K.O.D. (Strange Music) record. Which is exactly what we got. An absolutely monstrous setlist of super deep cuts and the K.O.D. album, front to back. Tech walked out on stage performing one of my favorite songs of his, “Strange Music Box”, which immediately tipped me off to the K.O.D. themed night. I’m not sure if the show was also being recorded for a live album or a film of some sort, because I’ve seen Tech N9ne perform almost a dozen times live now and have never seen the stage miced up to record the audience. So we shall see if that comes to fruition. Either way, this night was a night to remember for any Strange Music fan. I met people that had come from the most northern parts of Maine all the way to Southern New Jersey to see this special night. The tour itself is phenomenally well put together, so grab yourself a ticket if you can. The tour is almost over and mostly sold out for the remaining dates.
Until next time… peace and chicken grease y’all. See ya next time.
Smallz, signing off.
WORDS AND PHOTOS BY CHRIS SMALL