Q&A With Tech N9ne: Talks Crafting New Album, B.o.B Vs Odd Future
Tech N9ne may just be the most complicated hip-hop artist out. Despite having a career that spans over a decade, working with a who's who list of fellow artists -- that includes everyone from Ice Cube to Scarface to Snoop Dogg -- and generally being considered one of the top independent hip-hop artists of our time, Tech N9ne is known more for his dark rhymes and crazy stage outfits. Truth be told, he probably prefers it that way. The Kansas City rapper has made a name for himself in the industry by being an individual and he just happened to be a dope enough rapper that people actually paid attention to what he was saying.
The term, "Your Rapper's Favorite Rapper," may come off a little corny, but in regards to Tech N9ne, it actually applies. How else can you explain the huge boost in notoriety he gained when an incarcerated Weezy proclaimed that the independent stud was on his short wish list of artists he would like to collaborate with? A prison visit to Rikers later and Tech has seen a huge boost in spins on MTV and people who never heard of the MC before, are now slowly but surely turning into full fledged fans of the rapid fire rapper.
BallerStatus.com: What did you want to bring to the table with the new album, All 6's and 7's?
Tech N9ne: I just knew that after K.O.D. and how big that was, that this time I had to have bigger and better beats. I reached out to the J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League on a couple of tracks, Yelawolf's producer Will Power and my people. I just told them to take it up a notch. I told them I wanted a lot of different instruments sizzling and to give it that live element. That's how "I Love Music" with Kendrick Lamar and Uber Geek, because I just wanted a different sound and wanted it to be humongous. I told my in-house producers that I didn't want my stuff to sound like nothing on the radio and I didn't want to duplicate anything, because I just wanted us to have our own sound. When you hear "He's A Mental Giant," it doesn't sound like anything that's on the radio, and even "World Wide Choppa" with Twista and Busta and Yelawolf and everybody, it sounds like Strangeland Music and that's because I got with my people and I told them that I needed my stuff to sound like nothing else. That's sounds bad, because you want people to be familiar with something, but it can still be good and still be different. That's what I went with on All 6's and 7's and that's what I got.
BallerStatus.com: Did you know, going in, what type of sound you were trying to capture for this new album, or did you play it by ear when you would hear the beats?
Tech N9ne: Not exactly, because I just gave them instructions and they sent me beats on different CDs. If there was like 50 beats, I might just pick one. The first beat that I chose was a song that I did with [Brotha] Lynch Hung called "This Is Hip Hop," and I was just like "This is what I'm looking for." It was like a Beethoven track with a hip-hop kind of swing that was eerie, but it was still kind of Tech N9ne, because it was slightly dim and dark. It's giving you the way that I view how hip-hop hit me, and what I think hip-hop is. That was the first beat that I chose and there was another beat called "Overtime" that's on the album with Stevie Stone. When Coco first sent me those two beats, they were big ... they were big enough and they seemed like a king was rapping on them, so that's how I knew I wanted them.
BallerStatus.com: "World Wide Choppas" is a huge track, but what made you want to put it together in the first place?
Tech N9ne: When I heard the beat, I said to myself that it sounds like a "choppa" track, but the question was: What I would call this one? I already had "Midwest Choppa 1" and "2," so I felt like this has got to be "World Wide Choppas." I had just gotten back from doing shows overseas in places like Paris, Germany and Denmark. One of my homies, U$O, was over there in Denmark and it just came to me that I know choppas all over the world, so I was like "That's what this song needs to be." I came up the hook first, and then I looked for who else was kingly when it comes to rapping and I had to get Busta, I had to get Twista, I had to get Yelawolf. All the guys on there are kings of their own universes and I think that's how it came together. I got everybody that I set out to get.
BallerStatus.com: A lot of people are saying that B.O.B. is sending subliminal shots at Odd Future on your track "Am I Psycho", so what are your thoughts on that situation between the two of them?
Tech N9ne: I don't care. It's like, if they have something going, he didn't say their names on my track. It sounds like an MC, but people are talking about he said minors, but that's cool. When people rap with me, I want them to get out what they're going to get out. I sent for a verse from B.O.B. and he came back with a dope verse. He didn't say nothing about no Tyler the Creator, and he didn't say no names about no Future either. To this day, I still haven't heard neither one of their diss tracks and basically I don't care. If that was happening around the time, and he's kind of going at him, than so be it. Don't nobody want it with me anyways. I got respect for both crews. He didn't say nothing about their names and if he is going at them, that's funny as hell. That's rap sh**, go back at him. I don't care, as long as nobody says anything about me because they don't want it.
BallerStatus.com: You made a bit of noise for yourself when Lil Wayne put you on his wish list of rappers he wanted to work with, so what was it like getting to make that happen for your new album?
Tech N9ne: It was wonderful to be able to go down to Miami after visiting him in Rikers, and then when he got out, it was on. He didn't have to follow through, but he did and we did something dope for his album, and we did something dope for my album. It worked out wonderfully, and it was one of the best feelings in a long time since I met Pac or worked with Roger Troutman, or since I just did a song with Stokely Williams of Mint Condition, or working with Ice Cube and Scarface on my Killer album. It's up there with all of those.
BallerStatus.com: So what was it like in the studio with him?
Tech N9ne: It was just like everybody said. You always want to know if people are telling the truth about not writing, but I walked into the room and everybody was in there looking at the sky thinking of words and Wayne said "What if I say clear? Does that make sense?", and he looked at Mack Maine and he was like "Yeah that makes sense." Those n****s was writing out the sky, and I was like "Whoa", because I ain't never seen no sh** like that before. That was the weirdest sh**, but they were really doing it. I had already written my sh**, and I was ready to go home and go to sleep, but they were all in there doing it and looking up in the sky. I'm standing there while they're doing it, and I was telling them that I'm about to leave and they all looked at me like I broke their concentration.
These n****s was writing out the sky and if that ain't Martian sh**, I don't know what is. I can't believe I seen that sh**, because I'm a pioneer who's been doing this sh** for years and n****s have always wrote their stuff at the studio. When I first walked in the studio, he was in the booth and he didn't have nothing in his hands and he just "Yeah. Ok we'll put that right there", and then came out the studio, but there wasn't nothing in there. If he can think all his verses up like that, that's cold blooded. Hats off to that n****.
BallerStatus.com: If the fans haven't heard by now you're doing a crazy tour that is going to hit 82 shows in 85. What made you want to take part in something so grueling?
Tech N9ne: More people are asking for me now, so in order to accommodate all these people in all these new places our usual 50 to 60 shows turned into 82 shows in 85 days, but it was like nothing and I just wanted to go do it because we almost did something close to that before just not as many shows. I got a personal trainer while I was at home so I could keep it up on the road and see if I could lose my belly all the way on this tour. 82 shows in 85 days sounds like a challenge to me, so I'm just like let's go. My voice gets kind of hoarse because I did something different and got my show to where it's me almost the whole time and I barely have a break, but it's getting better now and I can't wait.