Like an emotionally unbalanced muse of sorts, Krizz Kaliko has long been the backbone of many Tech N9ne releases. Beginning with Absolute Power, Krizz Kaliko’s influence can be felt all over. His knack for delivering the strongest hooks on Tech’s catalog have made him a staple on Tech N9ne’s biggest albums. Tech himself has credited Kaliko with being a huge contributor to his writing process. The duo work in tandem, creating the memorable hooks and themes we have all come to love. Even with a solo career in full blast, Kaliko remains as the strong creative power behind the structure of Tech’s albums. As fans began to wonder just what kind of role Kaliko would play on All 6’s And 7’s, he confirmed that he had in fact written plenty of material for the record. So now that fans anticipate the first sounds of All 6’s And 7’s, one question comes to mind: is Krizz Kaliko the real star of the album?
The first time fans were really introduced to Krizz Kaliko was on Tech’s Anghellic: Reparation. With a verse on the powerful “F.T.I.”, Kaliko left a bold first impression on everyone. He would follow this short appearance with a significant presence on Absolute Power. From covering hooks to opera like bridges, Kaliko shined, and added an exciting new flavor to Tech’s sound. Kali’s verse on “I’m A Playa” helped drive his reputation as a Jekyll and Hyde artist, easily switching between singing and rapping. Still relatively unknown to Tech N9ne fans, Kaliko continued to tour with him. His constant appearance with Tech helped to build his reputation as a viable artist. Live, Kaliko would stun audiences nationwide with his monster vocal abilities. No one imagined that he could pull of those very same vocals live, and have them sound just as clean as they would on a record. Kaliko’s biggest contribution to Tech’s album came in the form of Everready: The Religion. Following a long four year delay, Everready dropped in 2006 and proved to be Tech’s most diverse and challenging album. Everready also set the stage for Kaliko’s real star power. With numerous writing credits and appearances on the majority of the album, it became clear that the one-two punch of Kaliko and Tech N9ne could not be matched. On “No Can Do”, the two trade verses and leave their stamp on one of Tech’s strongest outings. Singing just wasn’t enough for Kaliko though. When Twista failed to appear on “Welcome To The Midwest”, Tech handpicked Kaliko to replace him. The result was a shocking display of precisely timed rhymes that fired off like an automatic weapon. The chemistry between Kaliko and Tech has never been more apparent than it was on “Welcome To The Midwest”.
Tech has always been Kaliko’s biggest supporter. During the release of Genius, Tech openly admitted that Kaliko was the most likely candidate on Strange Music to go on to mainstream success. His uniquely diverse deliveries keep his music from ever sounding dull or redundant. The remarkable thing is how Kaliko can take that same energy and transfer it to Tech N9ne’s music. Upon examination of the complexities within Tech’s best songs, it’s clear that Kaliko’s brilliance is behind the rhythmically sound patterns. On K.O.D., Kaliko continued the trend of bringing the most challenging hooks to Tech’s records. His high notes and ever changing vocal flow work like several different paintbrushes on a single canvas. It’s hard to imagine a track like “The Martini” without Kaliko’s soulful take on the hook. The strikingly emotional send off to K.O.D. begins with Kaliko’s own twisted love affair. By the end of the track, Kaliko’s voice booms in with pain and ironically, a hint of forgiveness. It’s his hand in records like these that build the walls of Tech’s musical dynasty. Krizz Kaliko is often compared to some of the greats in R&B, but truth be told, he might be in a class all his own. His range has allowed him to cover all ends of the musical spectrum. With a bit of a throwback, Kaliko gave Tech N9ne’s “Livin’ Like I’m Dying” a vintage touch straight from the 70’s. Now on the road to Tech’s biggest album, Kaliko faced the task of bringing his best to the table.
All 6’s And 7’s was recently wrapped up, as confirmed by Tech N9ne himself. With so many collaborations, and planned hit singles, where does Kaliko fit in on this massive undertaking? As stated before, Kaliko confirmed that he was responsible for a lot of the writing that went int o the album. Knowing this, there is no reason to believe that Kaliko isn’t behind some of the strongest tracks on there. Granted, only one song has leaked, but judging from past Tech albums, and the creative relationship they share, it’s completely reasonable to believe that Tech turned to Kaliko for a lot of input. Their work together has given the appearance that Tech won’t move on certain ideas and records without Kali’s sign off. Bearing the challenge of creating perfect and fitting hooks for all of the high profile collaborations, Tech had his work cut out for him. On “I Love Music”, the production takes a far step sideways from Tech’s usual sound. The almost jumbled, and confusing arrangement was a match made in heaven for an album like this. Still, writing to a beat like that has to be a bit intimidating. Most writers would not be able to hang with such a complicated arrangement. Kaliko on the other hand, not only appeared on the hook, but also gave it a very real human quality. His vocals softly add character to the hook before exploding on the bridge and revealing Kali’s real purpose. If this track was a sign of what to expect on All 6’s And 7’s, then fans are truly in for a very different Tech N9ne record. Kaliko’s taste for the bizarre and unique no doubt came into play when writing new hooks and themes. If Tech N9ne wanted an off the wall record, he went to the right person.
When the credits roll on All 6’s And 7’s, it will be interesting to see who the standouts really are. It won’t be the superstar features, because even though they have their time to shine on the record, it’s really about who masterminded the intricacies behind it. This is a Tech N9ne record. There is no denying that. This is although, also a Krizz Kaliko record. When the champagne pours and fans, along with Strange Music, celebrate the release of All 6’s And 7’s, remember the genius that Kaliko injected the album with. All 6’s And 7’s? More like All Kali Baby!
–Victor Sandoval, Assistant Editor Strange Music Blogs
Follow Victor on Twitter: @VicMSandoval
Don’t forget to pre-order your copy of Tech N9ne’s All 6’s And 7’s right here.