The persona Tech N9NE inhabits on K.O.D. is one part demonic overlord, one part heavy-metal madman, and one part master rapper. Anyone who isn’t yet convinced that Tech is currently the world’s most underrated MC has only to listen to the backwards rhyming on “K.O.D.” or the final verse of “B. Boy,” which features eight bars consisting only of words beginning with the letter “B.” Even more impressive than his technical skills is his emotional furor. Tech delivers every line like it was his last. “Show Me a God,” “Blackened the Sun,” and “Strange Music Box” sound more like prophecies and proclamations than mere rhymes. Even the sex raps of “Hunterish” display a furious hunger unseen among even the most passionate rappers. The most revealing songs on K.O.D. come toward the end. “Killing You” and “Leave Me Alone” are vivid portraits of rage and alienation, while “Low” contains a chillingly succinct description of depression. Most haunting, however, is “Shadows On the Road,” a hallucinatory vision of death that qualifies as a genuine blues song.

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