Hip Hop veteran Tech N9ne continues to celebrate his twentieth studio album ‘Planet’, with the Planet Tour. Tech N9ne is at the latter stage of his career, a co-founder of Strange Music, and most successful independent rapper in the world, he is also a business man who, along with CEO & co-founder Travis O’Guin, has been signing emerging talent over the years, established artists too, giving them a bigger platform to release and share their music to a similar fanbase and attract different audiences to the label. As of 2018, Tech and Trav also revealed their brand new division of Strange Music, Strange Main. The move sees them branching out in to Pop based music, and as is Tech N9ne the flagship artist of Strange Music, Travis O’Guin’s daughter Mackenzie Nicole (formerly Mackenzie O’Guin) is flagship artist of Strange Main.
King Iso is currently on tour with Tech N9ne, plus a few other future stars, and is himself at the other end of the spectrum in terms of his career. Whilst still being relatively young in the game, King Iso, formerly Reali-T, started this rap music at a very young age, and has an impressive back catalogue of music dating back to 2007’s ‘The Reali-T Show’ (released on Snakehouse Records). With several mixtapes, the Different series too, and albums ‘The Insanity Plea’ (2015) and ‘Autophobia’ (2016) to his name, Iso is now a veteran youngster amongst veterans, and is himself set to lead the new generation.
King Iso’s skills are second to none. His latest release ‘Dementia’ is perhaps his best project to date. His vast catalogue of music is influenced by a range of techniques, sounds, styles and flows of an array of artists and musical styles. And to be one of the best, you have to study the greats.
‘The Throw-Away Glock Mixtape’ for instance, released as Reali-T, has heavily influences by Slaughterhouse, 50 Cent and Eminem, with tracks like ‘Im Back Freestyle’ showcasing smooth flows and wordplay to rival the likes of Biggie and Rakim. ‘Clownin Freestyle’ displays witty lyricism and humor from Iso. Those particular elements were ever-present on one of Iso’s latest singles, ‘Jiyf’. ‘Fam’, ‘Like Me’ and many more from the new album also contain clever wordplay.
Other influences include N.W.A, Dr Dre, Brotha Lynch Hung, Lil Wayne, Gucci Mane and other Southern-based rappers such as Field Mob, as evident on ‘Different 3′ (‘Gucci Mane’, ‘Mind Freak’).
King Iso’s West Coast influences are present on tracks like ‘Dmt’, ‘Dark Side’ and ‘Byob’ in the his production too. Certain flows, from such tracks as ‘Brain Scanned’ and ‘Ayahuasca’ for instance, are a nod to the Southern Hip Hop scene. ‘I Forget’ and ‘Jim Carrey’ even contain sing song lyrics which may be inspired by such musicians as Bone Thugs-N-Harmony.
Much of Iso’s bravado in his lyricism is inspired it seems by 2Pac. The aggressiveness in delivering edgy, street rhymes, and with tracks like ‘Are You Still Down’, which samples from ‘R U Still Down (Remember Me)’, and references in ‘Ghost Town’ and ‘The Change Up’ prove 2Pac quite an influence on him. Another artist that seems to be a major influence on Iso is Tech N9ne himself. Tech helped popularize the fast-paced Chopper style of Hip Hop, along with artists such as Twisted Insane, Twista, Busta Rhymes, Krayzie Bone and Bizzy Bone.
But that’s not where it stops for Tech’s influence on Iso. Both have recently collaborated on two tracks, ‘Bad Juju’, from the ‘Planet’ album, and ‘I Won’t Quit’, from ‘Dementia’. These tracks are rather aggressive, energetic Rap Rock songs, and Tech is known for pushing the boundaries of Hip Hop and music, and he himself is inspired by Heavy Metal bands Metallica, Slipknot, System of a Down, and AC/DC. King Iso can match Tech N9ne’s complex rhymes and fast flows on a good day, and as Eminem stated about Tech N9ne, Iso somehow manages to find those awkward pockets with his flows which are always switching up. As Tech has done over the years, living his life in public through his music and documentaries (‘The Psychumentary’ 2008), even more so now on social media, the fans get to see him overcome personal battles, trials, tribulations and the triumphs. That same upfront openness and connection with the fans is reflected in what King Iso does. The way he interacts with not only family and friends, but his fans, known as Isoldiers, makes him a real humble guy.
King Iso has been joined by fellow rapper King Kash, from Sacramento, on the Planet Tour, and he’s not the only artist on King Iso’s circle that he has brung in on the new project. Snake Lucci, owner of Snakehouse Records, features alongside the two on ‘Wrs’. Having stated his intentions on social media before to put his close ones on, this may be the mentality needed for the future to one day own his own record label. Deadgang maybe?
King Iso’s has a sound that is unique, one of his own. When you go and have a listen to the likes of ‘Project Iso’, ‘The T-Virus’, ‘The Insanity Plea’ and ‘Autophobia’, his production and musical style is distinguished and distinctive. A melting pot of different artists, musical styles, and many experiences, King Iso keeps it real with you in his music, often openly addressing his battle with mental health. There are just so many layers to Iso’s artistry, even producing for himself and releasing the new album ‘Dementia’ independently, reaching as high as #10 in the iTunes and Amazon Hip Hop charts. As is apparent in music, being different and unique helps you find that niche. And King Iso, like Tech N9ne, confesses in his music to being different. Success comes from being yourself, and as states in ‘Life So Crazy’, he’s just doing ‘me, myself and Iso‘.
King Iso is Bound To Blow…….
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*Photo Credit to @supa_jaysian