Tech N9ne remains the most iconic independent rapper
With his own break-neck skills, humility and a record label stacked with talent, there's no question as to whether or not Tech belongs at the top of the rap game
Tech N9ne has performed in Tucson so many times he’s lost count, but he’s not going to stop coming as long as the fans want him here. And if Tuesday’s concert was any indicator, Tech will keep coming until he retires.
During his 20-plus year career, the Midwest rapper has accumulated some of the most zealous and loyal fans in the world. These fans, notorious for getting rowdy, earned Tech the nickname “Riot-maker.” But while he’s all about intensity and passion, he said he doesn’t want anyone to get hurt.
“It’s important because if they fight, I can’t come back,” Tech said. “So I tell them if they don’t fight, I’ll come back. So let’s not fight, let’s fuck.”
Tech doesn’t fault anyone’s dedication either, and even after decades in the rap game, he radiates humility, saying he feels blessed that his fans come to see him and buy his albums over and over again.
What’s even more impressive, though, is his ability to continue attracting new listeners. Even Tech can’t believe it sometimes.
“They’ll say, ‘For how many people is this your first Tech N9ne show?’ And the crowd will erupt,” Tech explained. “It’s a blessing to be able to have that. My mind is blown every night. I’ll never get used to it. I’m always thankful because I know what it’s like to have nobody in my corner.”
There’s an easy explanation for Tech’s popularity. His break-neck, chopper style and intricate, honest lyrics are talents audiences can’t find anywhere but Strange Music, the independent label he helped found in 1999 with Travis O’Guin.
It’s the freedom, too, that attracts both big names like Krizz Kaliko, Kutt Calhoun and Brotha Lynch Hung and up-and-comers like Jay Rock, Ces Cru and Rittz. And it’s freedom that Tech loves to give.
“I wouldn’t have it any other way, because that’s how I built this,” Tech said. “It’s like me. I won’t conform for any amount of money … So I don’t want to censor them, because I’m not censored.”
Working on Strange Music means always being busy. He said music is always on his mind, whether he’s on a cruise with his kids or on tour.
He’s even making music while on the road, finishing up some tracks for his latest album, Something Else, out on June 25. Tech said he prefers to work in the studio without the distractions of a tour, but he doesn’t want to keep fans waiting any longer. He even released some tracks originally meant for his album before it came out, putting them on his recent EPs.
“I give my fans my all,” Tech said. “I’m not just gonna do six songs and say these are the bullshit songs I’m gonna give you. I give them real shit.”
Tech was literally dancing in his seat with excitement about the new album and some of the featured artists on it. He couldn’t say who they were, but he did explain that the album will be broken up into three distinct sections — Fire, Water and Earth.
Fire, Tech said, will have darker tracks, but the CD will finish with a heavenly theme in the Earth portion.
“I’ve got some heavenly ‘We Are The World’ shit on this album, swear to God,” Tech said.
As for Water, Tech said he hasn’t quite decided, but possible themes might be partying or confusion.
No matter what Tech ends up doing with Something Else, it’s already shaping up to be another great addition to his legacy, and another piece of evidence for why Tech N9ne is the best independent rapper there is.