The past year has seen a meteoric rise in Tech N9ne’s popularity and exposure. A #4 spot on Billboard with All 6’s And 7’s gave the independent giant both bragging rights and the attention of the entire music industry. A co-sign from Lil Wayne gave way to his now highly praised appearance on Tha Carter IV, which early estimates put at 700,000 first week sales, giving Tech N9ne the biggest break of his career. For many artists, this would be a peak moment in their careers. For Tech N9ne, it’s just the beginning of something bigger. As he prepares to unleash a new album on the world, Tech expects the climb to the top to keep going and surpass any expectations that anyone could ever have. The stars simply aren’t enough. As Tech N9ne told us in an exclusive and intimate interview, it’s time to go into God status.
It feels like, in your career, you’re at the edge of something and at the beginning of something else. Do you feel that way?
The whole Strangeland theme of the album is, a star fell years ago after signing a deal with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis in 93, after signing a deal with Quincy Jones in 97, after doing a deal with JCOR/Interscope in 98 or something like that. A star fell from where they had me all the way under underground, six feet under six feet, and that’s why I started creating Strangeland with all my fans. Ever since then I’ve been shooting for the stars, but now with All 6’s And 7’s we’re right here by the stars, the awareness. We’re about to shoot past the stars into god status. What I mean by that is like, me and Krizz, we see our faces on people’s bodies for life. Our signatures for life. Our faces, like, guys and girls have our faces. We have a responsibility to uphold to them, you know, to where people won’t have to get them erased. Over this last tour, it’s all we been hearing, “You guys are like Gods. Gods of music.” When you’re no longer a star, there’s no other place to go but up, they say you go down. The whole theme of Strangeland is Welcome To Strangeland, it goes up, it’s vertical. We’re shooting past the stars man. That’s where I feel like it’s about to start something up, start from a higher plateau man. The world is catching on right now. The stars are getting a whiff of it, all the stars know. Now the people are about to know because the stars are speaking about Tech N9ne. They’re sprinkling. Wayne did a big fucking shower. Not just sprinkling people, putting me on Tha Carter IV, that’s like showering motherfuckers. Millions of motherfuckers at once.
The stars, Rick Ross gave me accolades last night, felt so good. He said, ‘From one boss to another, I really dig what ya’ll doing, you and Travis‘, he pointed at Travis. I had my son right there with me, he said, “Man, you doing it the right way man. I pay attention to ya’ll.” I can’t remember everything he was saying, but I said, “This is my son, sixteen.” Rick Ross said to my son, “How does it feel to have a boss like that as your daddy?” My son said, “It feels good.” That’s coming from Rick Ross man, THE boss. I got a lot of respect for Rick. His flow is so wonderful man, a lot of people I hear lately sound exactly like him. He did it. “Say I’m Big Meech/ Larry Hoover”, know what I’m saying. It’s like, I hear a lot of people trying to duplicate that. That means he did something wonderful. When I first heard him on “Everyday I’m Hustlin”, it was just immediate. Ever since then, his flow just got better and better and better. I been paying attention to him, mixtapes and everything. Then the Teflon Don [Explicit] hit and it was like BAM, that’s a fucking impeccable album dude . He gave me accolades like that holmes. Brought my son into it, it’s a big thing Rick, I appreciate it. The stars are sprinkling, telling people about me. So now, it’s time to go into God status. Last song on Strangeland will be a song called “Gods”. It’s not going to be pompous or anything like that, it’s just going to be like we’re Gods lyrically. We move these people. They trust me enough to recite The Pledge that I created in Strangeland. People say, “Why would you have a pledge?” Ok, the United Stated have a pledge, I created this land, why shouldn’t I? My fans love me, and they follow that and they tattoo their bodies with my face and my label, Strange Music. Everything that I say, I see girls that have lyrics on there. The small of they back and their ribs and stuff like that. That puts us beyond the stars. I was listening to Watch The Throne, Jay-Z and Kanye, and I love what they’re doing. It’s like brothers of the same mind. They got this song with Beyonce, they say, “take it to the moon, take it to the stars/ how many people you know can take it this far/ I’m super charged, we gon’ take this whole thing to Mars” I’m like yeah, take it to Mars that’s tight . Dwayne is already a martian, Andre 3000 is already an alien. Beyond that are Gods. That’s me and Krizz Kaliko on this album.
There’s two way to get success, you can visualize this light at the end of the tunnel, this ultimate goal, or you just handle whatever is front of you the best you can. Which one do you think you follow more? Did you ever see this at the beginning?
I’ll let you know when we’re at the light at the end of the tunnel. Not there yet, I keep telling people. I always said in interviews, they said, “Are you surprised at your success?” I’m like, “No, I been planning this all my life.” The people that signed me are moguls. Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, did work and still do work I’m sure for Janet Jackson. This is in the Jackson circle. Quincy Jones signed me, in the Jackson circle. They signed me man, they saw this star in me. The people they had working for them didn’t know what to do with it. I think about it all the time and I’m like, wow, these are the people that signed me. Quincy done called me the Michael Jackson of rap and all that kind of thing. This is not it, this is just what was planned to happen . It’s always blowing my mind though, because you never know if it’s going to play out that way, the way you planned. It’s never written in blood that you’re going to survive to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m going to be Carol Anne one day, I’m already at the end of the light. “Look into the light and come back Carol Anne, you’re too far gone.” I’ma be somewhere in the “further” man, that’s how far I’m trying to go. If you’ve never seen Insidious, you don’t know what the “further” is. It’s like a dream state, you’re in a coma at home, but your body is somewhere else.
I’m trying to take it God status, Gods of music. You know, the Gods of music like Led Zeppelin and shit like that. Ronnie James Dio, you know who it is. It’s just that rap wise, I think of Jay-Z as the hip hop President. Kanye is like Vice-President. Big guys. This motherfucker Jay-Z can go to Madison Square Garden and sell it out. That’s fucking insanity, that’s the hip hop President. He’s like the Obama of rap. When I seen him, I was on tour with him, he had so many people around him and I’d be back stage. I would just see him from across the way and I just put my fist up, and he’d put it up, right back at me. He’s just this monstrous figure. When I say God status, I’m not talking about, I’ll make a billion dollars and that makes me a God. What I give, spiritually, through my music puts me beyond everybody. I’m starting to accept it. Like, ok, how do I become a God of music? I listen to All 6’s And 7’s, and I’m like, “Wow, it’s coming. It’s coming, I can feel it.” On Strangeland we’re going to really try and get it across. This is what we mean by Gods. Above all, spiritually and lyrically. That’s pretty pompous, but we give so much. That’s what puts me beyond everybody, and the stars are starting to feel it. Thank God for somebody like Dwayne Carter for even recognizing it and wanting to showcase it to people who might not know. He didn’t have to do that at all.
We always felt like we were godly. I got songs called “Holier Than Thou”, I got songs back on Anghellic called “God Complex”. It’s always been there, but now you’re about to see me on major stages. Just when you think that it’s reached its peak, it takes on another life. I’m just going with it man. Trying to keep a calm head, I’m excited as fuck. I’m going to become that God of music. I’ma do K.A.B.O.S.H., I’ma do 816 boyz, I’ma keep doing Tech N9ne. I’ll probably have another solo album out in September. I’m looking for the name, I’m waiting for the name to hit me right now. Thus far it’s Strangeland, K.A.B.O.S.H., 816 Boyz I get to have fun. Then I get to see where this Tech N9ne, Strangeland God of music thing will go. I’ma try to do right by my fans and not try to get too full of myself. I think the way I am now, I’m going to be this. This is how I’m going to die, the way I am. My heart is how it is, my brain is how it is. It’s a pity that people disappear . The people you think will be around you for the rest of your life, they tend to recede. Loved ones recede, you know. Just along the way you think, “Aw damn, I miss those people.” That’s the only thing that changes, people change while you’re changing. My job is going to take more of my time. I have no idea what’s in store for me. I just try to be careful out here and not get killed. Try to remain as healthy as I can, I love to eat. Try to stay healthy for my fans, so I can do this as a long as I can. I think there’s beautiful things waiting for us out there man. It’s happening right now, I can feel it . I’m getting in God mode…of Strangeland.
It seems the humility you might have learned or if you’ve always had it, but from not being some overnight success, has actually taken you to a place where you can attain greater success than that would have ever given you. You know?
I wouldn’t change all my blunders for anything. It taught me. If I didn’t have blunders, it would not be a Strange Music. Even if Jim Morrison gave me the idea to do Strange Music while I was on another label, and I was, that was meant to happen. All those blunders were meant to happen. Keeping my money and shit like that, that ain’t meant to happen. Hopefully we get that shit back. All that shit I wouldn’t change it for the world because it made me who I am. It made me say, “Fuck The Industry.” It made me say, “The Industry Is Punks”. It made me say, “I’m going to do something totally different.” The beauty of this whole Tech N9ne thing is, I didn’t have to compromise my personality or my flow or anything. I didn’t have to conform to another style to get where I’m going. This is not where I’m going right, this is not it. This is getting there, the awareness is still building. This is not the light at the end of the tunnel. This is not what I’m talking about, you’ll know what I’m talking about when it happens. It’s humongous. It’s Tech is over in Abu Dhabi, and Tech is over in Africa doing some shows. Tech done fucked around and almost ended the war through music. You’ll know.