After nearly 20 years in the game, countless indie releases, and years of non-stop touring, Kansas City rapper Tech N9ne has finally hit a milestone in his career. As of last week, the rapper has sold over a million albums.
With the release of his latest album Killer, Tech was able to leap over the hump to reach the highest point in his career to date. It didn't come easy though, and as he looks back today, he remembers the long road traveled to reach the million mark, and is in awe, though he's envisioned this day for a very long time.
"It just reminded me of all the work we done in the past, up until now. It's something. It's dope," the rapper told BallerStatus.com. "I don't think it's sunken in yet. I've been celebrating for the last two days because that's a hell of an accomplishment.
"I've been planning success all my life. I'm not even a bit surprised, I'm happy about it. That just means I was right," Tech added.
Although the feat is one to celebrate and be happy about, Tech has gone through his fair share of ups and downs over the years. At the beginning of his career, Tech endured label politics, and dealt with indie start-ups running off with his money, but after every setback, he picked himself back up and kept on his job.
However, he did admit there were times when he didn't see the light at the end of the tunnel. Tech chalks those moments up as part of growing and as a lesson learned.
"A lot of that stuff is discouraging, you know what I'm sizzling?" Tech said, recalling the hardships of the music biz. "This is supposed to be a legitimate business, and illegitimate stuff is going on. It ain't cool. You gotta just keep grinding, and getting up every time after you're knocked down."
From his very first show, in San Diego, where he remembers a crowd of about seven people, Tech N9ne has built a cult following over the years. Today, he sells out almost every venue he performs at while on the road -- which is most of the year -- and is still hungry. He does, however, have time to reflect.
"You look up one day, on tour, and you realize that you're paying for a couple tour buses, hotel rooms, and getting money off of merchandise," he says, reflecting on his growth. "One day, your partner tells you 'You sold a million,' and it's like 'Wow, that's crazy.' We gone keep pushing. Keep pushing harder and harder until the whole world knows about me."
Tech credits his success to his work ethic. If you are familiar with his career, you know how much time he actually spends on the road, and how his time away from home has effected his relationships with women and how it's kept him apart from the thing that's most important to him -- his kids.
While the rapper admits that being away from his children breaks his heart every day, he knows to be successful you got to touch all your fans, similar to that of a politician on the campaign trail.
"We take the time out to tour, and go to these places where nobody knew us, man. I understand, and Strange Music understands, that you have to be a politician," Tech N9ne explains. "You have to go place to place, even if people don't know you, and make your presence felt. Obama's not gonna win sitting at home with his wife. McCain ain't gonna win on the golf course. You gotta go from town to town, state to state, city to city, and let people know who you are. ... That's a prime example of hard work."
With the 1 million albums sold milestone under his belt, you'd think Tech would slow down, and take advantage of the precious time with his offspring. He did, in fact, flirt with the idea of retiring recently, saying that Killer may be his last album. But that idea is out the window now, explaing that he's "come to his senses."
"I can't. I ain't made it to my peak," Tech explains. "I ain't made it to my hill. I ain't made it to my pinnacle. I ain't made it there yet. I ain't there yet."
Fresh off a recent tour run with the Kottonmouth Kings, the rapper is already back in the studio working on his next album, titled Sickology 101: The Study of Being Sick. Much like his last release, where he was able to garner collabos with the likes of Ice Cube, Scarface and Paul Wall, Tech is determined to make his next album even bigger than his last. The rapper said he plans to open his rolodex and makes things happen.
Tech mentioned possible collaborations with Chino XL, C-Bo, and even Jay-Z, if he will have him. "I'm sending one to Jay-Z," Tech explained. "I don't know if he'll do it, but I'm sending it to him because I hear him on it."