Exclusive: The king of independent Hip Hop discusses his much-discussed Carter IV showing and refutes fans reasoning for why a union with Slim Shady has yet to materialize.
Ten years ago next month, the never-ending debate began over whether or not Eminem really did murder Jay-Z on his own shit, as Nas would stingingly surmise a few months later on “Ether” regarding the first, and last, released collaboration between Hov and Em, “Renegade.” The beginning of that now decade-old debate commenced the now commonplace practice of Hip Hop heads worldwide debating which artist “won” with their respective appearance on any given collaboration or posse cut.
On Monday (August 29th), Tech N9ne spoke to HipHopDX on the heels of his arguable “Renegade”-ing of the three-part posse cut "Interlude" included on Lil Wayne’s just-released Tha Carter IV. The Strange Music founder revealed the concern he now has that his peers may not want to collaborate with him – ironically during a brief break from writing for his own latest collabos project, Welcome to Strangeland, which Tech plans to release on his birthday, November 8th. In addition to addressing fan feedback from the “Interlude” he reveals was written in part while he was half-asleep, Tech talks about his fear that fame could prevent him from eating barbeque in public and explains why fear is playing no role in preventing a collaboration between he and the guy who inadvertently set off a decade’s worth of fruitless forum debates.
HipHopDX: How did it come to be that you ended up on “Interlude?”
Tech N9ne: [Lil] Wayne was in jail, and Funkmaster Flex interviewed him. I never met Wayne before in my life – never been face-to-face with him or nothing. And he said out of the blue – or out of the red in our case – “I’d like to work with Andre 3000 and my man, Tech N9ne.” Whoa. Floored me. I’m like, Damn, I ain’t even know he knew who I was. So from that came to me coming up to New York to do my press week, like I usually do with Shade 45, XM Radio and everybody, make all my rounds. And, the O.G.’s hooked it up for me to go visit him up in Rikers [Island]. I talked to him for three hours up at Rikers, and he said, “When I get out, it’s on.”
So when he got out, he was down in [Miami], Florida. And Mack Maine and them hit us late at night one night, on a Tuesday night. And [he] said, “Yeah, Wayne’s ready, man. Whenever y’all can get down here …” And we got on a plane that same – like, six o’clock in the morning, something like that. Got down there, we walked in the studio, he was recording a song, a beautiful song that’s still on the album by him and John Legend called “So Special.” He was recording it when I walked in. I was like, “What’s up, nigga?” He was like, “What’s up, Tech? What’s crackin’?” And he played me the [“Interlude”] joint when he came out [the booth], and he already had his verse on it. And [I heard the beat] like, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun. I’m like, Aw yeah, it’s that bangin’-ass shit. We just [gonna be] rhymin’, rhymin’. So, he gave me the beat and I wrote it. I fell asleep – [after] my first four bars I fell asleep …. So, I woke up and I said, “Travis, man, I can’t fuckin’ finish this right now” – Travis is my business partner. He went with me. It was the Super Bowl time, so everybody was at the Super Bowl [in Arlington, Texas]. … I said, “Can I come back tomorrow and do it?” And Wayne and them was like, “Yeah, yeah, we’ll be here. We ain’t leaving [for] the Super Bowl for another day or so.” I was like, “Cool.” So I woke up that [next] morning, wrote the rest of it, boom, went to go record it at 10:30 at night. Murdered it. I had no idea if it was gonna make it on the album ….
They actually told me when [Lil Wayne] was just here in Kansas City last weekend that Andre 3000 was on it. And I’m a big Outkast fan, so you know I was floored. They told me and I just looked up to the ceiling like, “Thank you, Jesus.” And [then] I was [thinking] like, I hadn’t heard it since he had the wish to work with me and Andre. So, he got his wish. I gave him his wish. I did the song, and I did my best on it too. And … he put Andre on it. And I’m like, “That’s so beautiful, man.” Because, he didn’t have to do that for me. He ain’t have to do that to get the people that don’t really know Tech N9ne to listen to that like, “Andre’s on it. Oh! Who the hell is that nigga rippin’ on it?” And Wayne put me out there like that, and I got love for him. I got love for him even if he didn’t do that, but that’s such a big, beautiful move, man. I’m wit’ him, all day.
DX: Any thoughts on folks saying you stole the show on Carter IV?
Tech N9ne: Nah, man, I just think the people have they preference. And, I had a lot of words – [Starts rapping part of his verse] I’m like, I’m really goin’. [Laughs] That’s what I do; I’m a chopper. That ain’t all I do, but that’s one thing I can do. I’m known for doing it. I hate doing it, [Laughs], I hate writing the fast shit, but that’s how people got to know me, when I did the Gang Related soundtrack in ’98 …. So when people ask me to do a song, that’s pretty much what they get. So when Wayne played me the beat, it was moving slow … [and] I had to be in the middle of it, so that’s what it required. When it requires it, I’ll go in. And people are saying that I stole the show – That’s flattering, next to Andre 3000, ‘cause I’m a big, huge fan. I love Andre’s part. I’m still trying to decipher the words he’s saying, like what he’s talking about, ‘cause it always means something. “Everybody’s always talkin’ about the light ones, but tonight we’re gonna do it for the dark ones.” I was like, Okay, he like brown skin bitches. [Laughs] I mean, I love brown skin bitches, I love light skin bitches, I love white bitches, I love Asian bitches, but tonight we’re gonna do it, do it for the dark ones. Andre, I’m all wit’chu. [Laughs]
Tech N9ne: Oh my God! Busta will always give me a run for my money. That’s my brother though, we on the same team, I ain’t trippin’. That’s one of my shooters, and I’m one of his shooters. I’ll bust for him; he’ll bust for me. … And he murdered it, once again. Busta showin’ his ass. He showed his ass on my album, [All 6’s And 7’s]. I called him and politely said, “Nigga, fuck that! How you gon’ kill me on my album? Don’t do me like that.” [Laughs] It’s wonderful, ‘cause can’t nobody really kill me. Busta’s a muthafuckin’ monster and he’s on my team, so whenever I hear him spit I’m laughing and jumping and clapping … not hating.
DX: “It’s gettin’ all the people knowin’ that Strange in the game.” Thoughts on possibly recruiting two million new Technicians from Carter IV sales?
Tech N9ne: Uh … I never had that happen to me, so in my world – I don’t do songs with niggas just ‘cause [of] their name, or to gain their fans. But if I do get their fans, it’s a wonderful thing, because worldwide domination is what I’m reaching for. And I’ve been shooting for the stars ever since - down here in the underground, shooting for the stars. Now I’m right here with the stars. I’m gonna shoot past the stars sooner than later into God status. I have a high expectation, [and] God status is awfully high. That’s above the stars. So we’re still shooting. And, I don’t mind people catching on and latching on. That’s what my quest is for: to get everybody around the world. This is global domination. So it’s like, if two million people or more get turned on to Tech N9ne, it’s not written in blood that they’re gonna buy my album. That ain’t why Wayne put me on the album I don’t think. And that ain’t why I put Wayne on my album. We put each other on our albums because we respect each other as emcees. And it’s like, if something like that beautiful happens for me, praise the Lord, but I’m not bankin’ on it. I built this shit in Kansas City with my partner, Travis O’Guin, [and] with previous partners when I was younger. We built this shit up to what it is right now, and Travis O’Guin got it to where it’s massive. And we’re gonna [keep growing] it. And people like Wayne they help us grow it, out of the love in their hearts. So I’m forever indebted, ‘cause he didn’t have to do that.
DX: Any plans at all to do a video for “Food?”
Tech N9ne: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, we’re talking about it, because all the deejays are sending the reports back like, “'Food’ is the one.” And we’re like, “Well, yeah, [but] we wanna do ‘Worldwide Choppers’ with Busta and Twista and Yelawolf.” And they like, “Yeah, that one’s good too, but ‘Food’ is the one.” … I didn’t make “Food” for the radio. That’s why I named it “Fuck Food.” And it’s like, the deejays are playing it. They playing it at every club now I go to. So it’s like, Wow, that’s what they wanted, huh? They wanted the crazy, vampire sexual music. That’s what they wanted? They didn’t want “He’s A Mental Giant?” “He’s A Mental Giant” let everybody know I can rap – if they didn’t know it. So, what they want is the sex-fueled music. That’s cool, ‘cause I’m a Scorpio male. I love sex …. But, getting single rights for shit like that is harder than people think. We haven’t tried [yet], but we’re gonna see. But that ain’t why I did that song. They say, “You got two of the biggest niggas on there, T-Pain and Wayne, and you ain’t put it [out]. And you gonna put ‘em on a song called ‘Fuck Food?’” You damn right! Nigga, this is Strangeland. I’m bringing these niggas into my world. That’s what we do; we fuck bitches in my land. [Laughs] That’s what I had on my mind, and I’m like, I know these niggas can talk about pussy, let’s go! [Laughs] The gal sho’ look like fuck food to me. Like, yeah, she’s really somebody I’d eat alive. She’s beautiful. … Now they wanna play it on the radio. [Laughs] What’s that gon’ tell your kids? [Laughs]
DX: I gotta close out by asking the requisite question: just if there have been any more Wayne/N9ne mergers since “Interlude?”
Tech N9ne: Yeah, we just merged at Strange Music to eat barbeque. ‘Cause Wayne can’t go to restaurants, people will bother him to death. And, it made me think like, Damn, am I gonna have that problem? ‘Cause I love to go out to eat. I still go out to eat, but I take pictures with all the cooks and the waiters and waitresses. I do that already. I’m doing that right now. That’s the stage I’m at right now. The cooks come out and say, “How was the food? Can I have a picture?” The waitresses are like, “I don’t wanna bother you while you’re eating, but I need a picture.” The owner of the muthafuckin’ place – I’ll be at The Capital Grille and the manager is like, “Let me get a picture, Tech.” I’m wit’ it; that’s where I’m at right now. But is it gonna get so bad that we have to bring Jack Stack Barbeque, have them cater it at Strange Music [all the time]? Luckily, we have a big enough spot that we can do that. And we had them bring that whole shit up: fire-kissed wings. Wayne and them done already had Gates [Barbeque] the night before with Keri Hilson, so we got them Jack Stack. … So that’s when we merged, and we kicked it for some hours. The whole Young Money clique was there kickin’ it like donkeys – not everybody, not Drake, and Nicki Minaj, they were gone. But, Mack Maine was there … It was like, everybody was there, dude. It was wonderful. We took the niggas to go play basketball. So that was the last merger we had. We merged, and we ate, and we kicked it, and we played music, and he played me that shit with Andre 3000. And I was like, “Goddamn.” That’s when they told me, “Don’t tell nobody.” So I been knowing for like a week and I ain’t tell nobody. It was a surprise. It was a surprise for me, for him to even put me on it like that, that he respected the lyrics so much to put me next to somebody great like that. It lets me know what he think about me, and that’s a wonderful thing ‘cause that’s what I think about him.
So, you been reading that a lot of people are saying that I stole the show, huh?
Tech N9ne: It’s crazy. It’s kinda embarrassing. Like, that’s cool to say that, but my fans, man, they treacherous like, “Aw, Wayne didn’t even wanna get on the song wit’chu.” And I’m like, Nah, it ain’t like that. He just put the song up in threes. And he’s already on it; he’s the first one on there. It’s a wonderful thing. I just don’t want muthafuckas to make niggas not wanna work with me. Like, “Aw, Tech N9ne murdered all you niggas!” You gonna always get that in Hip Hop, ‘cause it’s competitive and all that kinda shit. But it’s like, Damn, I don’t want muthafuckas to not wanna work with me. ‘Cause I’ma spit no matter what. I’ma do what the track requires.
DX: Yeah, that’s what I heard about the Eminem thing, that supposedly he shunned you out of fear.
Tech N9ne: Nah, I don’t think he’s fearful, man. That nigga’s damn-near like the best rapper out here, when it comes to technique, technical rhyming, wordplay and shit like that. [So] I’m like, Goddamn, I don’t think that. I don’t think that personally, I just think it’s a thing that niggas didn’t have time. Those muthafuckas was busy and time didn’t permit. We work quick, nigga. Muthafuckas send me a beat, you might have it back the next day, or the same night. I’m on it if I’m in the studio. But some muthafuckas got shit to do. Paul Rosenberg said they couldn’t do it within a month’s time. And, the mastering date was in two weeks, [so] I’m like, “Damn, sorry, I called too late.” I just put it on that. But the fans gonna make it sound like, Aw, he don’t wanna rap wit’ Tech. Why he ain’t never rapped wit’ Tech? It’s like, he ain’t gotta give a fuck about Tech N9ne. Who the fuck is Tech N9ne? We did a song [way back] in ’99, [“The Anthem”]. He got homies he gotta put out [right now]. Why he gonna help some other muthafuckin’ nigga? Much love to Wayne for doing what he did, ‘cause he didn’t have to do that. But, some muthafuckas, they gotta do they people first. I don’t think Em scared of no muthafuckin’ lyricists. He is the lyricist.