20. Tech N9ne "He's A Mental Giant" (2011)
Tech N9ne didn't build up a massive cult following—perhaps hip-hop's biggest—by lacking in theatrics. He relies heavily on touring parts of the country that most rappers prefer not to visit, building a loyal fanbase through hustle and, of course, the music. His reliably flawless double-time is different from your typical rapper, though, due in part to Tech N9ne's dramatic flair. On "Mental Giant," one of the highlights of his All 6s and 7s, the rapper embodies a character dictated by the sample; referring to the hook, Tech N9ne said in an interview, "That sounds like a bigheaded dude, I get to be cocky on this song. It's really narcissistic, know what I mean?"
For Tech N9ne, taking on a narcissistic persona allows him to indulge in the excesses of his craft. A flawless delivery of dense, multi-syllabic intensity is a grandiose statement, a celebration of fluency and self-control. Ironically for someone so intricate, there is no use for subtlety. Instead, his gestures are maximalist, designed to impress through their explosiveness; he is the consummate showman. —David Drake
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