Tech N9ne fans everywhere share a common bond over his music and the various special experiences that come with it. For those serving and working in the Middle East, Tech N9ne’s music means just a little more. During a period where our country faces criticism and outright retaliation in countries like Afghanistan, many of our country’s young men and women find themselves working hard to assist our government. As they do their best to adapt to life in a completely different world, things like Tech N9ne’s music help them feel a little comfort from home. Joseph Rochon, originally from Iron Mountain, MI, has faced life in the Middle East for the past four years. As a contractor for the U.S. government, Joseph has traveled all over the world and continues to assist in Afghanistan. With so much time away from home, Joseph has found relief in Tech N9ne’s music. A veteran of the Tech N9ne scene, Joseph has continued his love for Tech’s music in Afghanistan and has not hesitated to represent it to the fullest. As he shared his story with us, it became very clear that Tech N9ne played a very important role in Joseph’s life, especially now more than ever.
Even though he currently lives in a foreign world, Joseph has found that his love for Tech N9ne’s music is considerably easy to maintain as he does his best to serve the government:
“Afghanistan has been awesome so far. I have only been here for a few months, but it is better than Iraq which is where I was before this contract. The weather is great here and the scenery is crazy. We are surrounded by huge mountains that resemble Colorado or Montana. I have been a listener/student of Tech’s music since the ‘Mitch Bade’/‘Cloudy Eye Stroll’ era and really started to follow him when he was featured on Yukmouth’s ‘Bumbell’ track. & then, once I heared ‘Now It’s On’ featuring Lejo, I was hooked as a listener. There was just something about his flow, combined with his lyrical content and delivery that attracted me to his music. Before I started to follow Tech, I was a huge Bone Thug fan. I found similarities in the two’s flow, and I found Tech’s lyrics and flow to better fit my style.
With Tech’s distribution deal, it sends his music all the way over here to the Middle East. I have been overseas for the passed three years and I can still go to the store and purchase his music. Even when I landed here in Afghanistan, I found one copy left of All 6′s and 7′s on the shelf before I finally purchased it. His music has definately helped me to just relax and help pass the time out here. It definately helps that his music is distributed onto military bases as well, it makes it easy to support him as an artist.”
Joseph’s appreciation for Tech’s music runs deep, and is certainly nothing new to him:
“To me, Tech’s music can be summed up in one word: INDEPENDENT. What I admire about his music the most is that he writes his OWN life. That is how he built his fan base and continues to draw new fans and keep the old fans. With me being 27-years-old, I represent the old school Technicians before we were labeled. He doesn’t conform to other people’s opinions and beliefs, but instead he shares his own with his fans.”
Doing his best to bring Tech N9ne to Afghanistan, Joseph shared how he requested Tech N9ne’s music on the radio station running out of his base:
“I requested Tech N9ne on the radio station for several reasons. At the time, I was sitting in my truck waiting on my co-worker to come back from the Airport Terminal as he was checking a flight time. I had the radio bumpin’ since it was playing oldschool hip hop and rap from the late 90′s and early 2000′s. The radio host came on after a song was done playing and asked for a caller to request a song they would like to hear from that era. So I called the request line, and just said ‘Tech N9ne.’ She said she had heared some of his music but wasn’t sure if she had anything that was edited for radio. So after about 3 minutes of searching, she found ‘Imma Tell’ and ‘I’m A Playa’. I chose Imma Tell since it was more of a radio song. I wished she had All 6′s and 7′s but as you can imagine, music is limited in a war zone. & I have a lot of my co-workers who don’t get the whole Strange Music / Tech N9ne thing so I wanted to record the song on my phone while it was playing on the radio here in Afghanistan. I guess some of my co-workers have led me to believe that they underestimate his music and his success in the music industry. Still to this day, some of them finally get it, while others are doing what they do best, which is ‘hate’ on anything they don’t understand. So that is why I recorded it.”
Surpsingly, being so far away hasn’t kept Joseph from experiencing Tech N9ne live. Like many fans out there, he did what he had to in order to catch Tech N9ne live on the Strange Days Tour in 2010:
“It was June 11th, 2010 I believe. It was his first ever sold out show in Chicago at the House of Blues. I had made the trip all the way from Kuwait just to make the concert. I brought my friend Matt Lemp with me from Traverse City who is also a huge fan of his music. We purchased the VIP package from Strange Music and also bought the most expensive VIP package through the House of Blues and their Hotel. We actually saw Tech and Kaliko several times before the meet n greet started as they were in our lobby. I would put money on it that they might even remember us since we were the only Technicians who picked that hotel to stay at. The whole trip to Chicago was a one of a kind experience for myself and Matt as well. We can’t wait to do it again. I also admire Tech for signing his whole catalog of music that I had brought with me. Humble.”
As he continues his work in Afghanistan, Joseph can rely on his love for music to give him a piece of his life at home. He also keeps up his efforts to convert co-workers into Technicians, and like a true fan, takes every opportunity to represent for Strange Music. Whether it’s in places like Afghanistan or even somewhere in the United States, Technicians are responsible for the growth of Strangeland, and fans like Joseph Rochon are at the center of it all.
-Victor Sandoval, Assistant Editor Strange Music
Follow Victor on Twitter: @VicMSandoval