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Q&A with Technician #1

Tech-N9ne

So, one day, I up and decided to get on the phone and call Tech N9ne, KC’s premier name in the rap game, to ask him a few questions about life, music and his upcoming show at the Granada (October 10, people!) And that is exactly how it happened. Okay, I maybe had to go through his publicist and we arranged a time to talk. But still, Tech is a chill guy, answered all my questions and is funny as hell.  So, without further ado, here’s the interview:

G: In a lot of your songs, you talk about your hometown pride for Kansas City. Can you describe how growing up in KC has influenced your music?

Tech N9ne: I was born and raised in Kansas City. I don’t know anything else like I know Kansas City. You know, I moved to LA and I moved back. This is where my family is, this is where my love is, this is the town I know inside and out. And I love it. I don’t want to be anywhere else. Yeah, I might have a place in Florida one day, you know, on South Beach. But no matter what, I will always come back. This is where my love is, this is where I do my music. It’s a wonderful place.  There’s no place like home, just like “The Wizard of Oz.”

G: Like you said, you’ve been everywhere, but you have a huge fan base in Kansas City. What makes us fans in the KC area special?

TN: Well, it started in KC. The first Technicians were here. It’s where I started. And it was never written in blood that everyone was going to latch onto me, but they did, years and years ago. It has to start at home.  If you can get it at home, you can get it anywhere. They say Kansas City is the hardest place to get it because people are so critical. Thank God they love me.

G: You have a strong relationship with your fans—you still do meet and greets before your shows. Why?

TN: You know, I have to have normalcy. I can’t get so big that I can’t touch my fans, can’t touch their hands. I need something to keep me grounded. I need normalcy or I’ll go crazy.  I feel like I’ll always do meet and greets, we’ll just have to cap them at a certain number. But we do that already.

G: What’s the best part about meeting the people who support your music?

TN: The best part is seeing them smile at you.  That’s the best part about being on stage too, everyone smiling at you.

G: What made you want to start your own music label [Strange Music]?

TN:  Years ago, I was signed to major labels. They were bullshit! They were bullshit, they were bullshit, they were bullshit! I did not like it. They did not know what to do with Tech N9ne. So meeting my partner Travis was a blessing. It could have been anybody I met, it could have been someone incompetent and it would have failed in the first year. No, me and Travis, we mix, we mesh, business-wise, music-wise, it’s beautiful, it was a blessing.

G: You guys have some crazy work ethic over there at Strange Music. You put out albums like none other. How do you guys keep up the pace?

TN: We just try to push ourselves to do the most we can possibly do. Uh, ‘What do you think about 90 shows in 99 days?’ ‘Okay let’s do it!’ ‘Well these 90 shows turned to 94.’ ‘Okay, let’s do it!’ We just go, we have ideas, and we do them.  And then we stop to look back and next thing we know we’re in Forbes magazine, and, ‘what, what happened? Oh, okay, we have a lot more work to do.’

G: You have producers send you beats and then write a song based on the beat. How do you choose what beat speaks to you and how do you decide on the lyrics to it?

TN: I’m all writer.  The beats talk to you, man. The producer is going to give you 30 beats, and I’m so critical about my beats, and only one of them might be the one I’m looking for. And it has to move me one-million percent.  It has to move me totally.  I want it to where the beat makes you move before I even get on it. That’s what they do. Luckily I have two in-house producers that do the majority of my beats and they’re incredible when it comes to giving me beats that fit me. I’m lucky to have them.

G: Once you’ve found the beat, how long does it take you to pen the lyrics?

TN: If I feel it, I can do a song, like, “E.B.A.H.” in an hour-and-a-half.

G: Are you kidding me?

TN: I mean, I know people who can do it faster than that. If I sit down and actually go at it and don’t take breaks, I can do it in an hour or two. Like, “Worldwide Choppers” might take a little more time, because it’s triple time. ‘Follow me, all around the planet, I run the gamut on sickology, They could never manage, we do damage wit’ no apology.’ You know, that’s hard to do. So that might take, three hours.

G: With “Worldwide Choppers” you collaborated with a bunch of artists. Do you prefer collabs or solo work?

TN:  I don’t care, I love the good music, however it comes. If I hear the beat and say, ‘Whoa, this is going to be Worldwide Choppers’ then I’ll put people on it.  The first ‘Midwest Choppers’ I did with Krizz Kaliko, D-Loc and Dalima. It’s something I keep doing every other album. I like doing solo songs also; I like them both. I don’t like one more than the other. I like good music however it comes out. I do what the beats tell me to do. If they tell me to do a solo song called ‘Alone’ then I’ll do it. If you listen to a beat and you’re like, ‘wow, I can dance to that’ then you might want to write something that people can dance to.  You might hear a beat and go, ‘whoa, that one sounds like Caribou Lou.’ The beats will have feelings. One of them might come to you and you’ll go, ‘whoa, I’m going to talk about my momma on this one, and I’m going to call it ‘Mama Nem’’ because of all the beautiful things they did for me when I was growing up. It’s a nice feeling song.  The beats tell you exactly what to do.

G: In a lot of your lyrics, you’ve said you wouldn’t go mainstream, but the mainstream would go Tech. What’s the difference between you and the mainstream?

TN: Well, I’m not there yet, if that’s what you’re asking. You’ll know once you hear me every day on the radio, see me every time you turn on the television and see me on commercials on the television. Until that day, no. I have had some incidences of the mainstream going me, like Lil’ Wayne calling me for the Carter IV and MTV started playing my videos a little bit. But it’s reaching the mainstream, I don’t have to do anything different to go there, I just have to remain sure and remain hardcore and it always will blossom. Boom! Real shit always shines.

What can we expect from you after E.B.A.H?

They can expect… a lot more music.  I have something in store for my favorite holiday.

G: Hmm, does it have something to do with Halloween?

TN: Hmm, I don’t know, my mind just went blank. I don’t know. They can expect a lot more darker music.

G: We’re known for having the best barbeque here in KC. What do you thing is the best of the best? Basically, where do you eat?

TN: I eat Gates, I eat Jack Stack almost every other day. That’s why, when I come home, I get fat. Gates and Jack Stack are on the way to the studio in Lenexa. Sometimes, we’ll want Gates and get the Presidents tray and take it to the studio and munch on that all day. Hold the ham, the turkey, heavy on the sauce. And then sometimes, we’ll be at the studio and be like, ‘You want Jack Stack?’ And we’ll get fire-kissed wings, baked beans, fries and margaritas and stuff. Basically, I eat a lot of Gates and a lot of Jack Stack.

That’s that! Peace out homies, I’m driving to Kansas City, grabbing some barbeque so I can eat it while listening to Tech’s most recent EP,” E.B.A.H.,” while preordering his new EP (coming out just in time for Halloween) “Boiling Point.” Caribou Lou!

The show is Wednesday, October 10, with Strange Music Crew Krizz Kaliko, Stevie Stone and Ces Cru. Doors open at 7p.m. and the show starts at 8p.m. $30 for advance tickets, $35 the day of the show.

-Alexandria Freeze

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