Tech N9ne’s reputation precedes him, known far and wide for outrageous stage antics and his own brand of hip-hop that’s somewhere between horrorcore and acid rap. A founder and co-owner of independent label Strange Music, Tech wears his “slacker” status on his sleeve, insisting, “I’m gonna have my kicks before the whole shithouse goes up in flames. […] Eat, drink and be merry. Tomorrow, you may die.”
He has two albums slated for release this year, one a collaboration project titled Sickology 101, which features guest appearances from the likes of Chino XL and Bay Area local Messy Marv. His solo album, K.O.D., is still obscure since the cryptic acronym is the only detail that’s been released,which has sparked a heated debate on his web forum, with fans desperately trying to figure out what it stands for.
CHP: Since it’s announcement, you’ve said that K.O.D. will be a departure from previous works. What sets it apart from your other albums?
All my other albums were about my life, you know, the shit that I do in my day to day. K.O.D. is about letting my imagination run wild. It’s gonna be hard to focus on writing, you know, I’m on the move every day, but when the tour winds down in June it should all be on paper and ready to record. I’ve only got about three songs worked out yet. I’m supposed to do the rest of the writing while I’m on the road.
What turn of events led you to start your own label, Strange Music?
As you know, I had a run on Perspective records in the nineties, but people didn’t know what to do with me, you know what I’m sizzlin’? I was talking backwards even then [demonstrates in a demonic tone and reversed speech].
Eventually I signed with Quincy Jones at his label Qwest, but that went poorly. He was too busy with Janet Jackson’s album so my projects fell by the wayside. I was just dealing with a lot of shit, major label shit.
I saw you playing with a Music Production Center in the “Slacker” video. How involved are you in the production process of your music?
Oh, not too much, man. I usually use in-house producers or my friends. I mean, sometimes I’ll get an idea for a song, like a beat or tone or something. But usually I leave it to the professionals in that department.
My favorite song of yours is “T9X.” The theme of self-destruction through substance use is a fascination I think a lot of people can relate to. What inspired you to write the lyrics?
That song’s just about gettin’ high til I almost die. I remember the first time I came out from Kansas City to California and meeting up with dudes who were taking half-pills and getting fucked up. I immediately said “fuck that, give me a triple stack.”
See, back then I was experiencing a lot of spiritual pain. I’d do anything, drinking, date-rape, acid, mushrooms, etcetera … whatever people around me had. I was experiencing financial woes, other emotional pain, usually not too much physical pain. Though I must say, when you’re on the road and meeting lots of beautiful women, you make quick friends with your ice pack, you know what I’m sizzlin’?
Do you have any opinions about drug enforcement or decriminalization?
I suppose it depends a lot on what drugs we’re talking about here. I remember getting dosed at a party with Special K once, you know ketamine? I’ve never wigged out like that before. I was actually scared! I looked in the mirror at one point and my face turned into a fucking panda bear.
And getting back to the hotel, I ran away from the women that were with me cause I was having a bad trip. You know me, you know my music. If something makes Tech N9ne run from the ladies then you know it’s bad.
I mean, let people have their weed and other shit that’s really harmless. Cops have better things to do with their time, and drugs can make for some beautiful music. Though, I’m really not doing much these days in that respect. I quit weed in ’97, [ecstasy] pills a couple years ago.
I actually even quit drinking for this tour. I’m not saying I’m straight-edge like a bitch, I still love to have fun, but I’m gonna try to focus on finishing K.O.D. while I’m on the road. It’s gonna be hard enough with all the distractions of a tour.
What’s the party look like when you get home to Kansas City in June?
I’m definitely going to spend some time with my wife and my children while I have the down-time, you know what I’m sizzlin’? It’s gonna be a short stay though. I think I only have about two weeks between this tour and the next and I’m supposed to do all the recording for K.O.D. during that time as well. I’m on tour this summer for Rock the Bells festival, so be on the lookout for that one.
Tech, it was a pleasure. Thanks for taking the time to talk with us. Do you have a parting message for your fans?
Just connect with your loved ones and celebrate life. Let your people know you appreciate them, cause when shit goes bad they’re gonna be the only ones there for you. Peace and much love.