One of Hip-Hop’s hardest workers is Kansas City emcee, Tech N9ne. With a decade-plus in the music business Tech has over a dozen albums under his belt and a handful of EP’s. This past July Tech N9ne released the critically acclaimed album, Something Else, which featured appearances by B.o.B, Wiz Khalifa, Cee-Lo Green, Red Café, Big K.R.I.T., Scoop DeVille, Kendrick Lamar, Game, and T-Pain.
Tech is currently on the Something Else tour along with Mayday, Krizz Kaliko, Stevie Stone, Prozak, and Ces Cru. Juggling recording, touring, and running his own Strange Music record label hasn’t slowed the man born Aaron Yates down one bit. Less than five months after releasing his last album Tech N9ne will drop the Therapy EP on November 5.
Tech N9ne spoke to Examiner.com about his latest full-length album, Something Else, performing in front of big crowds vs. small crowds, and his upcoming plans for Strange Music Records.
SS: Explain the title of the new album, Something Else.
Tech N9ne: The reason why I had to call it ‘Something Else’ is because I wanted to be narcissistic. I wanted to say after all these albums and being an open book and totally transparent, I actually have something else to say! That’s crazy to say late in life. I had to prove it and I did. The fans do agree. It’s all on Twitter, “Something Else is truly something else,” everybody is saying. I just spoke it. It says in the Bible, “Though you think, so it is,” and it says in the Qur’an, “Be, and it is,” so it’s like, it is. ‘Cause I spoke and I be that. It spread to everybody else and everybody agrees. The collaborations are humongous, the beats are humongous, and the content is really, really turned all the way up. I thank God that I really have the ability to reach people in a beautiful way and sooth the savage beast.
SS: How is it different performing at clubs versus big festivals?
Tech N9ne: The difference in performing at clubs is a lot of the clubs are intimate. We like intimate because you get to touch the fans. I still make it a point to try to jump off the stage at big festivals because I hate being away from the people. Cee-Lo Green said before he jumped down into the crowd, “It’s way too late for us to be scared of our own people.” I took that into consideration years ago and started jumping down and touching people. With big festivals you don’t really get to connect with people. You feel their energy when you’re rapping and it’s a beautiful thing and you can do that in the smaller spots but now as soon as I get on stage I see how I can get down. My security is like, “Tech, it’s too high tonight, man.” In Denver, Colorado they put a ladder so I can step down and get back up. That’s how serious it is for us to touch our people in bigger places. That’s the difference, intimate settings you can really connect. With festivals, all those people back there on the lawn you have no idea what they’re saying. You tell them to put their hands in the air and you can see who’s with you--that’s about it.
SS: Is it difficult to come up with a set list at a festival when you’re short on time?
Tech N9ne: No it’s not difficult to come up with a set list at all. Because I do exactly what I do on my stage, I just cut it down. I hate to cut it down because my show is an hour and thirty minutes, and hour and thirty-five at the most. So to cut it down to 45 I’m like, ugh! That’s the first part of the show that’s really powerful. So I’ll take that first thirty minutes that’s, boom, boom, boom, nonstop the way we do at our regular shows and then I’ll go to the end of the show and do the main songs like ‘I’m a Playa’ and ‘Caribou Lou’ and the songs that blew up over the years and end it. It’s like the 45-minute workout. That’s how I see it. I keep it the same. I don’t tailor it to fit an audience at all. It’s totally the same, just shorter.
SS: The ‘Dwamn’ video looked like a lot of fun [laughs]. What was it like filming that one?
Tech N9ne: To tell you the truth I’ve done that ‘Dwamn’ video so many times in so many other settings with Strange Music in the same strip club. It’s like normal. It’s something that we do. I haven’t been to a strip club in a long time because I don’t have time, but when we do it’s a party because all the girls know that we got it. We usually know all the girls in the spot because we used to run a strip club. Pretty much all the girls in the ‘Dwamn’ video I knew so it’s like a reunion. We get everybody drunk. We buy the bar for all the girls and we party, man. All I gotta do is try to remember the lyrics because they’re brand new songs and I’m drinking so it’s like, “What do I say right there?” It’s kind of stressful but after a while it came to me. It was a party, like it always is [laughs].
SS: What’s the inspiration for ‘Love 2 Dislike Me’?
Tech N9ne: ‘Love 2 Dislike Me’ is from a past relationship. I’m sure a lot of people go through these things. You have a woman, something goes wrong and instead of leaving you she stays and keeps pecking at you for years. It’s like, “Why are you still here? You must love to dislike me.” You’re still here. You point out all my imperfections but you stay, is what I say at the end. It’s nerve-racking. I can’t live this way--real spiel, man. I know a lot of people might feel this way so I write music to connect.
SS: What’s next up for Strange Music?
Tech N9ne: November 5th my Therapy EP. In the middle of November, Australia, New Zealand, possibly South Africa, I pray. India is calling. We have to do Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Kenai up in Alaska. A lot of people are calling and that’s a good thing. All of the artists on my label we’re planning a Strange Music CD, all of the strangers, so we’ll see.
Purchase: Tech N9ne – Something Else