It might as well still be summertime for Tech N9ne, because the self-made star is hotter than July as 2010 comes to a frigid, snowy close for most. Thanks to a surprising endorsement from Lil Wayne finally bringing Tech’s name to the lips of those in the industry who previously shunned the “King of Darkness,” the veteran Midwest rapid-fire rhymer is on the verge of a commercial breakthrough over a decade in the making.
Speaking to HipHopDX from his Strange Music headquarters on Tuesday, (December 21st), it’s apparent in his voice that Tech’s newfound notoriety hasn’t gone to his head. The always humble, (and maybe shocking to some, really, really nice guy), hardworking co-head of Strange Music is not letting co-signs from artists he never knew were even aware he existed slow down his relentless grind. While dealing with an even more hectic schedule than the hardest working man in Hip Hop already kept – that now includes dealing with lawyers to clear appearances from A-list artists for his upcoming album, All 6’s And 7’s – Tech took time out to talk to his faithful fans at DX about why the always business-minded emcee is releasing his first ever free mixtape, Bad Season (which is being presented to the masses courtesy of XXLmag.com). Kansas City’s favorite son also revealed his plans to team with two titans of mainstream Hip Hop and R&B, a collaboration that should help keep Tech N9ne nice and warm from the heat he’ll be generating this winter.
HipHopDX: Now, you’re the king of independent Hip Hop, beloved by hundreds of thousands of Technicians, you’re one of Lil Wayne’s favorite emcees, but how does it feel to finally receive the honor all artists dream of: having a pizza named after you? [Laughs]
Tech N9ne: [Laughs] Oh my goodness. And why would they put all that shit on a pizza? I don’t even eat that kinda shit on my pizza. I eat sausage on my pizza, extra cheese… But it’s cool, it’s flattering [to have] “The Tech N9ne Pizza.” I just need to find out their logic behind it.
DX: Are you familiar with this Lee’s Summit Next Door Pizza?
Tech N9ne: Yes. My boy, Cross Eyed Joe, took me there and told me I had a pizza named after me. So I ordered a pizza – I didn’t order [“The Tech N9ne Pizza”], but I ordered the way I like it. And, they were real nice about it. They were real shocked that I came in. They all froze. I’m like, “Helloooo.” I just moved to Lee’s Summit, so I might be frequenting that place soon. I been in my new house for almost a week.
DX: Besides reports of food being named after you, you’ve stayed in HipHopDX’s Hip Hop News for a variety of reasons recently, maybe most notably thanks to Fat Joe. Did you know Joey Crack thought of you as a “genius of marketing”?
Tech N9ne: I read that. He been coming to a couple of shows, [arranged] through my security, who’s like his brother. And [Fat Joe's right-hand-man] Macho is the one that hooked the thing up with Lil Wayne for me to get into Rikers [Island]. Macho is I think Joe’s manager or something like that. So, we’re all connected. Joe just came to my show in Fort Lauderdale. We did a show here in Kansas City. That’s family. So that’s beautiful that he thinks that about [me].
DX: Before Joe, obviously the co-sign from Wayne got everybody talking. But have you and Wayne spoken since his release about working together?
Tech N9ne: Not yet. We been speaking back and forth with E.I., [who’s] his people. And they like, “Why y’all didn’t come to the thing in [Las] Vegas?” I’m like, “We ain’t [get] an invitation.” And they like, “Man, listen, wherever we are, y’all family, y’all can come.” …[But right now] everybody’s busy. I just did this mixtape for XXL and [DJ] Whoo Kid. So I was busy doing that. And [now] I’m working on All 6’s and 7’s, my new album. So, the first song I’ma do is called “Fuck Food.” I’ma send it to Wayne. And T-Pain. I’m probably gonna contact him first. I’ma put my verse on it, and put the hook on it for T-Pain. Hopefully T-Pain will do it. We been talking back and forth with T-Pain through [Krizz] Kaliko, ‘cause Kaliko just did a song for him on his mixtape. And my producer is now his producer. T-Pain stole my producer, Young Fyre. So that’s why I can’t get no Young Fyre beats no more. [Laughs] So tell Pain since he stole my producer, he gotta do this hook for me. [Laughs]
DX: You said the song is called “Fuck Food”?
Tech N9ne: “Fuck Food,” yeah. “The gal sho look like fuck food to me.” It’s like a Scorpio’s outlook or a man’s outlook on a woman like, wow, she looks delicious. You be at the club and you be like, Oh my God! I don’t know how you feel about it, but the gal sho look like fuck food to me. I took it from a sample from one of my songs on K.O.D. called “Hunterish.” I said, “The gal sho look like fuck food to me / Might as well bitch, I know you suck dudes for free.” But, I just wanted to take it and screw it like, [says in screwed tone] “The gal sho look like fuck food to me, gal, gal.” Sorta like on some vampire shit. Like when you think of the video and everything, and it’s totally gothic-sounding. It’s just perfect for a modern day Lost Boys [inspired] video. So, for the video it’ll just be called “Food,” or for the radio it’ll just be called “Food,” but for my album it’s called “Fuck Food.” It’s beautiful. I think it’s a beautiful fuckin’ idea to bring all these cats into my world.
DX: Now, I just gotta ask…can you speak at all about what you and Wayne spoke about when you went to Rikers Island to see him?
Tech N9ne: We talked for three hours. It started about religion – no, it first started about how he knew about me. ‘Cause I never met Wayne. I never crossed his path or nothing. So when he said that to Funkmaster Flex [about wanting to do a song with me] it threw me for a loop like, wow! I wasn’t even sure I was on his radar. ‘Cause we in two totally different worlds. We’re all in Hip Hop, but different worlds. I’m in Strange land. So the first thing we talked about was how he knew about me. He said he’s been up on me since “The Wake Up Show Anthem” I did with King Tech and Sway. And that’s ’98, homie. I was like, “Wow! That’s beautiful.”
From there, we started talking about the people that are around him [in Rikers]: the older cat in there that was talking to him and asking Wayne why does he believe in God? Why does he have faith? And giving him demonstrations why it’s not a God. But Wayne has faith in God. And we established that we both got faith in God, even though I question some of the stories in The Bible. [But that] don’t mean I don’t have faith in God; I pray every day. So we talked about all that.
We [also] talked about being away from our children, how I’m always on tour [and] I’m away from my children and him being away from his children being locked up. It fucked with me because he’s a real knowledgeable cat and I hated to see him like that. Now that he’s out, it’s a wonderful thing.
We talked about everything. Everything you could possibly talk about, [we talked about]. We had a lot in common. I never tell nobody this, but I told him my people always say that they thought I was a devil worshipper. And he said, “They think the same thing about me!” And I was like, “Really?” [Laughs] I didn’t know that. It was like, we was on the same shit. And he told me – this freaked me out right here – while we was in there – I told him my album was called All 6’s and 7’s that I want him on. And he told me he had a digital release coming out – ‘cause I was speaking about my digital release that was about to come out called Seepage. He said, “I got one coming out called I Am Not A Human Being.” And it didn’t even dawn on me when I was there that I had said that about myself before in a song prior that was on one of my artist’s songs. I think it was on Krizz Kaliko’s album, [Shock Treatment]. It was a song called [“All Gas No Brakes”]. I say, “I am such an animal, I am not a human being…” I had said [that] before. And when I was there we was on the same wavelength with a lot of shit: with religion, with how we felt about our kids, and like the same niggas for real, youknowhatI’msizzlin’? And, when Krizz Kaliko’s album came out and I heard the song again – ‘cause you know we do so much music that we don’t remember what the fuck we say sometimes, unless we study it. So, I heard myself say “I am not a human being” and I was like, “Damn! We got that in common too, it’s like we both don’t think we human beings.” It kinda freaked me out. So I told E.I., I was like, “Man, do you know I said that [before Wayne’s EP dropped]?” So the moral to the story is that what I found [in] the cat I didn’t know [is that] we had a lot in common. And that’s why when I left Rikers I put that on Twitter like, “Whoever got something bad to say about Wayne don’t say it to me, because I just met a real nigga in there.” And I meant it.
DX: Let’s switch gears here to the Bad Season mixtape. Tech N9ne doing a mixtape, I don’t know of Tech N9ne doing anything that don’t have a barcode on it. [Laughs]
Tech N9ne: Exactly! This was [XXL’s] idea like, “Okay, you want the east coast more on you, maybe we should hook you up with Whoo Kid.” I said, “Let’s Go!” ‘Cause the [objective] is to get everybody on Tech N9ne. My music belongs to everybody. That’s what I’m sent here to do, to give music to everybody. It’s not supposed to be like, okay, white people listening to his music [and] that’s it. Or, gangsta niggas love his gangbang music, that’s it. It’s everybody that listen to my music. And that’s how it turns out at my shows. It’s turning into a melting pot. That’s how I planned it. So, if we’re doing 4,000 seaters in Denver, Colorado…and 3,500 seaters in Seattle, [but] when we get to New York we got 500. Which is cool, but…this is a big-ass [city]. [So it’s like], “Nah, not 500 people. Y’all ain’t ‘bout to have me down here at this little-ass gym room performing…” So we gotta do something. [And] so when XXL said, “Hey, you should hook up with Whoo Kid… You need to hook up with [Funkmaster] Flex.” We doing all that. We just did that show for Flex at B.B. King's [Lounge & Grille] and it was wonderful. We killed it! So the [goal] is to [now] get everybody [on the east coast] on it. That’s why this is the first mixtape I ever did. I did it Strange Music style though, so when you listen to it, it sound like a east coast Collabos disc.
DX: I just listened to “Table & Chest Stress” .
Tech N9ne: Yeah, they leaked it today. I’m butthurt, but it’s all good. That’s the first song on the mixtape. And when I do the first song, my original recipe, my tactic is the first song is for the core [fanbase]. So, don’t leak the first song. They didn’t know that though, so it’s all good. [Laughs]
DX: You went in on that joint.
Tech N9ne: Thank You. It’s me as raw as it can be, like when I didn’t have no beats, in sixth grade just beating on the table and beating on my chest… Back [in 1984] when [starts singing beat to “Beatbox”] Art of Noise did “Beatbox.” The only way I could tell people what that beat was, was beating on my chest… So this is me raw, without no beats, without no stage props, no nothing.
DX: Now you know I gotta ask about the other joint that’s leaked out [from Bad Season], the Travis Barker joint, “Hard Liquor”
Tech N9ne: It was actually [originally] on there with two other verses [from] Big Scoob and Alan Wayne. So we probably gonna release that [original version] later. Because Whoo Kid got it, and once we sent it to Whoo Kid he was gonna do whatever he was gonna do… I had no idea when I got the track that it was [Dr.] Dre-produced. ‘Cause the whole thing was, Whoo Kid was just sending us beats. I don’t know who Cookin’ Soul is. I’ve heard Red Spyda’s name. But I don’t know who [these producers] are, I’m in Strange world. So he’s sending me these beats, and we’re just doing ‘em…even if it ain’t what I’m used to choosing. Like “Ego Trippin’,” I woulda never chose that beat, but it turned out wonderfully. So we was just doing ‘em. Like, this is what we trying to do, we trying to get these people – when I say “these people,” I mean the east coast – on Tech N9ne to let them know I go, in case they weren’t listening to The Wake Up Show and this, that and the other. In case they don’t know, here I go again. So, we was just [recording to] the beats [Whoo Kid sent]. “Hard Liquor” came when I was on this last tour with E-40…and I hadn’t heard no west coast beats coming from Whoo Kid and was like, “Whoa! This sound like some west coast shit that Game would do.” And I loved the hook…sounded like it was Kokane on there, I’m not sure.
DX: I can’t believe you wasn’t feeling “Ego Trippin’,” man. I love that joint.
Tech N9ne: No, I’m saying I love the beat, but it wasn’t what – I’m not in that frame of mind right now. The frame of mind I’m in, I’m on Seepage, I want gritty like [growls]. And deep bass, 808’s. And ain’t none of [that] in it. I ain’t on that right now, but when I heard it I was like…that’s that classic Hip Hop shit that reminded me of The Wake Up Show. I’m on it. I can do it. I’m an emcee. So when Krizz Kaliko put that hook on it [starts singing hook], I was like, oh my goodness, that’s a hit! I said, “I ain’t putting nobody [else] on that one.” So I did two verses. But I only did two verses ‘cause I thought Whoo Kid was gonna put somebody on the third verse. ‘Cause everybody was talking about like, “He gon’ put Lloyd Banks on something, he gonna put Fabolous on something.” I don’t know who was saying that, but I left the third verse open. But, they liked it so much, the two [verse version], they didn’t put nobody else on it. I love it.
DX: “I can’t stands no more like I was Popeye / Then I got my spinach and now the industry dropped by.” [Laughs]
Tech N9ne: Yeah! [Laughs]