by: Bryant “B-Boy” Worthing @bboyworthing
Tech N9ne has sold millions of records and visited the top 10 four times on the Billboard 200 Chart, with his most recent visit being his latest release “Special Effects”, which moved 60,000 units in one week alone after dropping on May 4th. The kicker behind Tech’s success is that he is 100% independent, although his team works with different distribution companies to help push its physical and digital records. His label, Strange Music, was founded in 1999 as a 50/50 partnership with Tech and his partner Travis O’Guin, with Tech serving as artist and vice president while O’Guin has been the CEO.
Born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, Tech has always beaten to a different drum. He is not the typical rapper with the typical swag – his dizzying delivery, fiery live show, and cult-like following puts him in a league of his own. However, the entire rap industry has the utmost respect for Tech, who is known to be on tour 250 days of a calendar year and is always in the studio working on material, hence his 15 albums. The newest record has been nothing short of amazing, and the early on sales are showing it. At a recent show in Seattle, Tech was backstage signing the CD inserts of thousands of pre-sale albums that fans pre-purchased two weeks before the record was even out.
“To be signing these when they are already sold and it ain’t even out yet, it’s crazy” says Tech. “It is such a blessing man. It gets nerve racking because it hurts your shoulder and arm, but I just think about all that love that people ordered before we even had a physical copy available.”
The featured guests on “Special Effects” are legit and diverse. “Speedom” has a cameo with Eminem, “Hood Go Crazy” features B.o.B and 2 Chainz, while “Bass Ackwards” has Lil Wayne on it, and that is truly only naming a few. The way Tech N9ne has moved around in the industry holds weight, and has taught the industry a lot about being independent and making music the fans can connect with. Most importantly, big name artists want to be on his record, and that is saying something. It was great to catch up with Tech in person and hear more about his FLVR:
Q) How do you feel about this new record, “Special Effects”?
A) This record is like validation all across the board from all my peers in music. We got the dopest muthafucka’s in the game in almost every genre. We got people in the top of the game. If it’s metal we got Slipknot, if its hip-hop we got Eminem. We even went EDM on ‘em. We got gangsta shit with T.I., we got the party shit with 2 Chainz and B.o.B, we got the G shit with Lil Wayne, we got the funny club shit with me and E40, we got psycho shit with Hopson on Psycho Bitch II, we got Audiopush on there with some lyrical shit. It’s me being the three-dimensional person I have always been. It ain’t changed man; it just got better with time. It flabbergasted me, usually when you are about to be 44 years old your shit is supposed to be going downhill and I am still going uphill.
Q) How was it working with Eminem?
A) It was beautiful man. The fact that he even considered doing it let me know that the beat Seven did was dope. He thought all the verses were dope, so for someone of his stature being at the top of this hip-hop shit, it’s overwhelming.
Q) What are the top places you love to do shows in?
A) I just had a ball in Honolulu. It was my first time going because I was banned from there. We stayed for a couple days; it was the shit. It was bananas, and I don’t even use that word. It was sold out, and all the Samoan bloods was there and they were G, but they took care of me. Denver, Colorado is always intense – can’t be matched. Denmark can’t be matched, period. 25,000 people came to see me, and next time I go it might be 60,000. Of course my hometown, Kansas City, always goes down too.
Q) What is the best advice you can give to a kid trying to come up and get his name out there as an artist?
A) It takes money. That’s the hardest part. Once you get past that you have to make sure you have a product that people want. If muthafucka’s ain’t trying to download your shit for free or if they ain’t checking for you what are you doing it for? You got to first find the money to produce it. You got to have money to print the CDs. Sometimes you got to grease the DJs palms at the clubs. You just can’t be the only one that thinks you’re dope; people have to agree. First they have to agree in your house, then outside your house, then the next block, then the next city. Once everyone is in agreement, then you can move and get it poppin’.