Tech N9ne Talks Unity Through Music, Destroying Separatism, Rage Against the Machine + More
Tech N9ne possesses one of the most unique minds on the planet. Though heavily based in rap, there's no sonic realm he won't explore while fusion and unity is the final goal. In this interview, you'll delve into the core of Tech N9ne to explore a psyche just as diverse as his discography.
You may have heard Tech's recent collaboration with Slipknot / Stone Sour vocalist Corey Taylor on the track "Wither," which we premiered exclusively here at Loudwire. "Wither" showcases a refreshing open-mindedness from both Tech and Taylor to create a seemingly contradictory, yet extremely fluid piece of music. This is Tech N9ne's expertise, but very few rappers or hip-hop fans would even admit to enjoying metal, let alone experiment with the genre itself. We asked Tech about this mindset within the urban community, eventually bringing the conversation to points of society, the popularity of separatist thought within mainstream music and much more.
Check out for yourselves in this exclusive interview with Tech N9ne!
I come from the world of punk and metal. From being in that world for a long time, it taught me that a lot of metalheads and punks can be very open-minded when it comes to music. Would you say that rap fans are just as open-minded?
I wouldn't say that. A handful of my fans don't want me to do the rock s--t, but that's because they came in late and they don't know it's always been there. Asking me why I'm going straight rock, I'm like, 'Where the f--- you motherf---ers been?'. I've been doing it for so many years, man. People come in in 2009 and think that's the start. The start was in 1990 with the Technicians in Kansas City. Anybody can trace it back to that. They just come in when they come in and think it's supposed to be that way. They hear the rock s--t and some motherf---ers don't want to hear that s--t.
I'm doing Rockfest in Kansas City, Mo. I look at the YouTube comments and you've got a handful of people saying, 'What the f--- is Tech 9 doing there?! That's rap, not rock.' It's because they don't know. You've got people saying he's going to bring f---in' gangbangers, which I'm not. If I bring the gangbangers they gonna be the motherf---ers I grew up with and they gonna be on stage with me. The whole f---in' gang culture in Kansas City is not going to come to Rockfest. They're not trying to hear it if it ain't f---in' Young Jeezy or Boosie Badazz. You gonna have that pushback and that's what I've seen, but we always prove motherf---ers wrong. They don't know until they see and go, 'Oh okay, we get it.' We're like nothing anybody has ever seen. Black dude up there with a painted face, used to have red spike hair, I'd come out with a bishop's robe; they didn't know what the f--- to do with that. 'He's a devil worshiper!' Thank you.
It's a divide but it does not have to be, is what this album [Special Effects] is trying to tell people. F--- separation. At first, the honorable Elijah Muhammad preached separation, total separation of the black race and the white race. That's man's idea was how to fix things, but even in the hoods and s--t, we couldn't stick together. We were separated together. You've seen what happens, the same thing that happens in other races. I think this album is trying to tell motherf---ers is what we need is each other. We all need each other. F--- the genres, good music is good music. That's how I feel.
Malcolm X went and found, when he went to Mecca, that he could drink from the same cup from a Muslim with a light complexion. He came back and said he was wrong in what he was speaking and they killed him. That only makes me feel like somebody's money was going to get f---ed up so they had to silence the motherf---er that was going to change the whole thing. It breaks my heart because whenever you have the God plan, which is togetherness… It's what Martin Luther King was talking about. Jews and Gentiles and all people from all creeds together, free at last. Thank God almighty, we're free at last. People being together.
Rap culture does preach division sometimes. Especially lower, middle, upper class division or racial division. There have been rappers and fans who delve into rap and find it difficult to be a part of this because there's so much division; the 'I'm better than you' kind of stuff. For you, is that a difficult thing to be so close to?
You have to distance yourself from hate, period. When there's motherf---ers saying that there is supposed to be a master race; like I said, we need each other, my n-gga. The master race, for real, is money. Money can buy you anything. You try your best to keep away from hatred and things that might lead you down the path of destruction, dude. I've been down that path. I've been down it, but I've survived it. So now I can flaunt my s--t and say, 'Hey, we kicking it, but we sharing this inspiration.' This is beautiful music, dude. F---ing enjoy it, it don't matter what color I am. If you love "Wither," you love "Wither."
I tap into emotion, I've learned that from Quincy Jones. Everybody has madness. Everybody has sadness, gladness and confusion. You tap into emotion, it should be colorless. The world is f---ed up and makes s--t divide. People can say, 'We don't f--- with that Tech N9ne s--t because white people are going to be there.' I've heard motherf---ers say that. Dude, just come enjoy the show, you'll love it. When motherf---ers come, it's like, 'Damn, I had a good time with the white motherf---ers. They was kicking' it!' People got their own comfort zones. People on YouTube say they don't think people should mix genres. Those are the same people who don't think they should mix races. It's gonna always be that, but you can only pray that music can bring everybody together as one. Music has done it before. You think they're ain't no motherf---in' skinheads at my show? Bulls--t. I've seen them. Hate groups everywhere, dawg. But music soothes the savage beast and that's what I was put here to do. Hopefully people will get that. Let's bring all these motherf---ers together, man.
When I do a song with Corey [Taylor], it's strategic. For one, I'm a big fan, but I'm trying to make a statement. When I do the s--t with Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz, I'm trying to make a statement. It's all me; I'm the king, the clown and the G. I'm three dimensional, I can do everything. I'm the complete technique of rhyme, I don't have no boundaries. I'm looking for Gary Clark Jr. on my next album, dude. I'm looking for Clarence Greenwood of Citizen Cope. I'm looking to work with Kylie Budge. I've been talking to Rob Trujillo, he played some s--t for me, we got a song together. I want the whole band [Metallica] now. [Laughs] They said they warm up to "Einstein." I'm like, 'What?!' I'm trying to make a statement my n-ggas, beautiful music to bring people together, man. Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson.
Even Paul and Kanye recently.
Yeah! Totally. I love to see s--t like that, man. Togetherness.
Speaking of the separatist attitude, to me it feels like the radio gravitates towards that kind of music when it comes to rap. Songs like Nicki Minaj's "Only" and songs that just put as many N-bombs in as they can.
They created that when they made urban radio, when they made rock, rhythm and top 40. Everything is separated. So if you got motherf---ers over here in the ghetto, they just want to hear "Only" and Young Thug scream on some s--t. You be like, 'What the f---?!' It's culture s--t, man. Luckily in my culture, my s--t wasn't closedminded. My family was open to rock and everybody doesn't get that. It can shut people out. Kendrick Lamar went outside the box and did this s--t with Imagine Dragons and it was a beautiful performance. I don't know who put that together, but it was a good idea. I love to see that. What they gotta do is start taking that music that Chris Brown does so well and put it with something else. Take it a step higher. Don't just be complacent right here. Keep taking it higher, man. That's what I would do.
Outkast had "Hey Ya" on urban radio and it sounded like a Weezer track. Black motherf---ers were dancing to it! I was like, 'Y'all gonna tell me I'm weird? And you have that on urban radio?' That was amazing that they got that on urban radio and all other radio stations. Amazing. That was progress; motherf---ers taking chances with music. CeeLo Green does that all the time; "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley was on urban radio. You got people out there who do it, but you've got to realize that a lot of these motherf---ers are young, they're in their early 20s and they're only coming off their block. We're gonna be on urban radio, n-gga. We're gonna use the auto-tune and we just gonna f---in' drink our "lean" and whenever it's over, it's over. Dope man mentality. You'd be a genius if you figure out how to integrate all these people. I can try with all my might to try and integrate all types of music. Some people it just goes over their head, it's too intricate.
Now that you're saying that, it's making me think of more psychological parallels. We're talking about stuff like different kinds of anger creating different kinds of music and different types of self-destruction too. Then rappers are talking about shooting people while metal musicians are talking about serial killers.
Everybody chooses a side. I chose a side a long time ago [Blood] and you can see all the red on me. I chose a side that my mom would kill me if she knew her angel did that. I fell in love with the dudes that lived on my block. I fell in love with their attitudes and how they took care of their families. I adopted something because I have their back. I love them. We all went to junior high and elementary school together. I grew up in that neighborhood, but everybody chooses a side, whether it be the skinheads or Amish. Whether it be Kappa or Alpha or Q-Dog or whatever, even in college.
Everybody has a lane, but it's this one thing that can make everybody agree; music. Everybody is going to chose a side, man. White trailer park motherf---ers are similar to the n-ggas in the hood, is what I've seen. Poverty is poverty. As long as there's poverty there's always going to be crime. Everybody is going to choose a side whether it's Christianity, Islam or Confucianism, Shintoism, Taoism, Buddhism, Judaism, whatever. But one thing I've noticed; when I go to Kuwait or Germany or Poland or Finland where no one can speak English that good. When I throw on that music, they know that s--t, man. Everybody is as one. So I've got an idea; music is going to rule this motherf---er and it always has, it does soothe the savage beast and it does bring skinheads to my show when they ain't supposed to like n-gga music.
In your opinion, which is the greatest example of rap fusing together with rock or metal?
Rage Against The Machine. Zack de la Rocha, man. Tom Morello, man -- unmatched. Zach just gets on the mic and you can tell it's on his lips. He don't give a f--- about a pop-screen, but he's talking about something. They probably thought he was so crazy that they didn't want to do music with him no more because he's so for his cause that they had to go somewhere else. Every once in a while they might do a show, but this motherf---er was really with the s--t. I've never heard anyone scratch with a guitar, ever in my life, like, 'What?!' F---ed me up! Rage killed it, man. I loved it. Rage.
Thanks to Tech N9ne for sitting down with us. Be sure to grab Tech's 'Special Effects' album, which features his "Wither" collaboration with Corey Taylor. To buy a copy of 'Special Effects,' click here.
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