Last month we caught up with author Soren Baker to discuss his new book, I’m The White Guy: The Tech N9ne Edition. During part one of our interview with Soren, he shed some light on the work he has done with Tech N9ne which includes writing and producing The Tech N9ne Experience DVD. For part two, Soren Baker tells us more about his book and how he came to teach Tech N9ne a thing or two about interviews.
Do you have a favorite story in the book?
When I did the pilot for my Music Matters television show. That’s chapter seven, “Tech N9ne My Co-Pilot”. Basically I wanted to include that little story of my trying to do a television pilot, and my having Tech N9ne on the program because almost no one knows about that. The pilot didn’t make it to air and the television show hasn’t happened. I also wanted to show that Tech N9ne is somebody that I believe could and should be interviewed on talk shows and television shows. It also shows that those guys really supported me, and showed me that they believed in me and my abilities. This is when Killer had come out, and helped push Tech N9ne to over 1 million sold collectively throughout his career. That was a big milestone for him, and at the time, it was a big milestone for me to do a television pilot.
Tech recently mentioned on AllHipHop.com that you taught him how to conduct interviews. What can you tell me about that?
I had noticed in a lot of articles that Tech had focused on smaller points. As I talk about in the book, he really would look at things to be 100% accurate, and looking at things from a purely artistic and factual standpoint. With Tech, he needed to do a better job of selling himself. Whether he started rapping in 1985 or 1995, in the grand scheme of things is irrelevant. It was more important to say, “In 2006, I have this new project coming out or Strange Music has this new tour.” So, basically I talked to Travis prior to talking to Tech and just made sure it was ok to talk to him about it. I just told him, “Look I could probably talk to Tech and teach him a lot of ways to conduct better interviews, and how to sell himself better”. Travis agreed to allow me to do it. Tech has told me probably ten times, and as you just referenced, he said it on AllHipHop.com, and he says it on a regular basis, “Man, Soren you really taught me how to do this the right way.” I think as a writer and someone that reads about rap all the time and listens to rap all the time, I can tell when a guy knows what he’s saying or doesn’t know what he is doing when he’s interviewed. I knew that Tech, despite being a great artist or immensely talented and successful, didn’t understand how to talk to the media properly. That’s why I talked to Travis about it, and talked to Tech about it. As I talk about in the book, I interviewed him for Murderdog that same day, and all of a sudden he was talking about different songs in his career and highlighting different albums. All of the other times I had talked to Tech, he had never really done that. So now, all of a sudden Tech is referencing songs from his catalog, touring, and merchandising. All stuff that he had never really done before. Almost instantly, Tech had made the change and made it into something that would help him.
How does it feel to see Tech N9ne as successful as he is?
That’s actually discussed in my final chapter of the book, “Better Late Than Never”. It’s very bittersweet for me. When I was trying to start writing about Tech N9ne and Anghellic era, even before when I was doing “off the radar” stories and “artists to look out for”, it was very hard for me to do it. In 2001 even, it was hard for me to get Tech coverage. By the time Anghellic came around and I was able to do an article on Tech in The Source in 2001, and then get him in the Los Angeles Times soon after, and with Absolute Power in the Chicago Tribune – now in 2010 or 2011, with everybody saying, “Oh man, Tech N9ne he’s the man. He’s somebody to look out for.” I’m like no, he was somebody to look out for in 2001 or 2002. Maybe if you missed him somehow, 2003, but you’re ten years late. This is not a newfound phenomenon. I think that’s part of why I wanted to write the book too. This guy has been around, he’s done a tremendous amount of work, and I thankfully have been there for some of it.
Can we expect a sequel to your book?
There’s a distinct possibility. As I continue talking with Tech, and as I release some other books and look at other things, there’s definitely stuff to expand upon, and revisit that I didn’t put in this book. This is my first self published book, so I still have to learn the process and learn how to do everything. There’s definitely room for me to write more about Tech N9ne, so more fans and new fans in 2011 can read about stuff that they don’t know about Tech N9ne that I have some insight on.
Soren Baker’s I’m The White Guy: The Tech N9ne Edition is now available on Amazon.com in a paperback edition. Be sure to check out Soren’s newest addition to the series, I’m The White Guy: The Jay-Z Edition , which examines his interaction with one of the biggest hip hop stars of the last decade.
–Victor Sandoval, Assistant Editor Strange Music
Follow Victor on Twitter: @VicMSandoval