Famed poet Allen Ginsberg once wrote, “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness.” A half-century later, this sentiment still rings true. There is a fine, almost illusory line that separates genius from madness, creativity from insanity. Tech N9ne walks this line.
The Kansas City native’s in-your-face lyrics — that invite you into his twisted mind, or sometimes out to a seedy strip club — are often more than most people can handle. That is, if they even give it a listen after seeing his punk rock red hair (which he recently cut off: “If I had known that it meant getting more pu***, I’d have done it a long time ago”).
But these same things — his honesty and persona — that have held him back, have also attracted a loyal following; as has his knack for quality music making. His fans might deem him a genius, while others call him a madman. He might say he’s a little of both.
BallerStatus.com caught up with Tecca Nina to discuss how people perceive him and how his new album, Everready, may affect their views.
Ballerstatus.com: When I first heard you’re music in 2001, I assumed that you were an artist from the Bay Area. But when I learned that you were from Kansas City, I remember wondering how that happened. At the time, I sort of just dismissed it as a fluke. But one of the first things I noticed when I looked at your tracklist, for your new album Everready, was that it featured both E-40 and Brotha Lynch Hung. So, what I thought was a coincidence back then, really wasn’t at all. And I’m curious about this Bay Area to Kansas City connection.
Tech N9ne: If you come to Kansas City, it is so Bay Area. It’s not like Mac Dre blew it up and everyone is on the Bay Area now — I’m talking about years. That’s why E-40 used to always come down here; Luni Coleone, Killa Tay, C-Bo, Messy Marv, it just goes on and on. And that’s why Mac Dre was down here, because of all the love. It’s ironic that he had to die in Kansas City because there was so much love for him here.
40 and Lynch came through for me on this album. Rick Rock did five tracks for me and 40 wanted one track, “Jellysickle,” but I had bought it. So I called 40 like, “Guess what I got? That track you wanted,” and he’s like, “I’m on it.” It came through just wonderful. And with Lynch, all my fans love my dark side, so we got that in common.
Ballerstatus.com: That ability to speak you’re mind — no matter how f***ed in the head you are — is one of the things that characterizes you’re music, and that I applaud you for. It’s why a lot of people listen to you’re music. But do you think this has marginalized your audience?
Tech N9ne: A lot of my people strayed from me because of my imagery, or my red hair, or the way I speak about suicide letters and sh** like that. It scares a lot of people. They think I’m playing with religion. But, they don’t understand that I wasn’t playing. I think Everready is what will catapult me into the rest of the world. My whole reason for being in this, besides for my kids and my fans, is to get it to the rest of the world. And that’s what a lot of my underground fans have f***ed up because they want to keep me there in purgatory. And what I mean by that is being right in the middle of blowing. Now don’t get me wrong, purgatory has taken care of me, but what my fans have to understand is that Tech N9ne deserves Heaven. And Heaven is the rest of the people who are still afraid of Tech N9ne.
What I want the world to take away from Tech N9ne is that these are beautiful instructions on what not to do. On my last album, I had a song called “T9X,” it talked about how I took fifteen pills, shrooms, acid and GHB in one night and almost died. We were wildin’, baby. But at the end of the song I said, “This is my f***ed up life, don’t try this at home.” So I’m the perfect example of what not to do, but you’re going to have a ball listening to it because it’s wonderful music.
Ballerstatus.com: Do you think that by doing a song with E-40 that more people will accept you?
Tech N9ne: I think to people, 40 is a status symbol. People think if you did a song with 40, you got to be tight. N****, I was tight way before then! 40 came through and did that track for free. I put him on that song because he wanted that song really bad. When it first started leaking, I saw that my people wanted to come shake my hand again. But I had no idea. I didn’t sit and contemplate that if I get this song with 40, my people are going to like me again. I don’t really give a f***. That pisses me off because my people have missed out on all this beautiful music. I hate that my people missed it, but hopefully they’ll catch it again on this one. But f*** it, if they don’t love me then they will never love me. And I’ll keep staying where the f*** I am and doing what I do because I can only be me. And if me is not enough, then I’m in trouble because that’s all I can be.
Ballerstatus.com: How does this album compare to Anghellic and you’re slightly more mainstream-friendly Absolute Power?
Tech N9ne: When I did Anghellic I was going through a lot of pain, didn’t have no money, no nothing. And even though [the record company] ran with our money, touring let me know that we had absolute power through the fans. So with Absolute Power came a lot of partying and the loss of lot of friends because of my mediocre success. You know what I’m sizzlin’? So it’s like Everready is a mixture of both. If I could have called this album One Big Clusterf***, I would have.
I named it Everready, like the battery, to symbolize strength. Their symbol is the number 9, ironically, and a black cat with a lightning bolt tail jumping through the loop of it. This battery is long lasting, nine lives just like a cat. I’ve been knocked down so many times and every time I get back up stronger than ever. I wanted my cover to be that symbol, but my partners wanted people to see me. I don’t give a f*** about me being on the front cover, but they said that people want to see me, and a lot of females like my music. That’s a blessing because I don’t know what I would do without women. Can I tell you something real quick? How I feel about the female species?
Ballerstatus.com: Yea, go ahead.
Tech N9ne: First and foremost, I think that the female species is the best thing to ever happen to us. Have you ever thought of the things the woman has to do in order for her to have sex with you? She has to take off her shirt, go through the bra process, take off her pants, or undo her skirt, and then she gives you the go to take off her undergarments. And for her to open her legs and let you inside of her willingly, that’s the biggest f***ing compliment on the planet.
Ballerstatus.com: I wouldn’t say that’s the only thing that a woman does for man that is impressive.
Tech N9ne: No, no, no. I was just talking about that act. I’m saying that man should be thankful that a woman would even do that; on top of all of the other sh** a woman does to compliment him. Recognize because they don’t got to do sh** for us because we’re such f*** ups and beasts that they’re starting to f*** their own kind.
Ballerstatus.com: That’s kind of interesting because your music doesn’t necessarily say that.
Tech N9ne: What you got to understand that in 2006, there is such a thing as a bitch, a hoe and a lady.
Ballerstatus.com: While we’ve been talking, you’ve alluded to religion a lot. Where does all of that come from? Were you raised in a religious household?
Tech N9ne: Did you know my mom is God?
Ballerstatus.com: No, I didn’t know that. I’d like to meet her then.
Tech N9ne: So imagine, you’re mom is [the Christian] God. And imagine God being a woman. Now imagine that woman that is God marrying Master Mohammed. My mom married a Muslim when I was twelve — they’re not together anymore because you know that sh** ain’t gonna work — but when I say I’m one big clusterf***, it’s true. I’ve been taught so many things and I’ve always been searching. I was a curious little cat. I’ve studied Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Hinduism, and even Holier Than Thou-ism — which is me.
Ballerstatus.com: Anything else that you want to touch on?
Tech N9ne: I want you to tell my people two words: Celebrate Life. Jim Morrison of The Doors said, “I know one thing man, I’m gonna have my kicks before the whole sh**house goes up in flames.” I’m gonna have my kicks, baby, because I’m celebrating life. I want to pass that on to everybody.