Ever since the first Strange Music Collabos album dropped, the mindset has always been, “Well, how do we top that?” and with several additions to the roster since the Welcome To Strangeland and more eyes on the label than ever, the desire to craft something truly elite has never been more palpable.
Recently the homies from ¡MAYDAY! were in town shooting videos for their upcoming collaborative project with MURS titled ¡MURSDAY!, and with Tech N9ne Collabos: Strangeulation just days away, of course we had to talk to Wrekonize and Bernz to get a glimpse of the upcoming collabos album from their perspective.
What ensues is some great insight into the process of the album, what fans can expect from ¡MURSDAY!, and some pondering on the potential of Tech N9ne actually being a vampire/robot. Enjoy.
This is the first collabos album since Welcome to Strangeland, and the roster has expanded since then. How is the vibe on this album different than Strangeland?
Bernz: It’s like a fuckin’ feeding frenzy is what it is, alright? That’s what it is, it’s like a fuckin’ feeding frenzy, and now you got a bunch of hungry-ass sharks in the water that are all fighting to get on these fuckin’ tracks, that’s the difference. Last Collabos album was super chill, this Collabos album is like…fuckin’ high-octane know what I’m saying? Everyone just wanna get on that shit, everybody wanna rap on that bitch, everybody trying to bring their A-game. It’s like a bunch of hungry sharks in a kiddy pool.
How much influence did you guys have on the album musically?
Wrek: Man we had zero. Working on ¡MURSDAY! and being in Miami, just not being around I think prevented us from really getting our hands dirty.
Bernz: I think this album is a complete product of Seven and Tech, that’s how it feels to me from listening to the little bit that I have, and in a good way. I think this is a cool take on like how Tech feels about the Collabos, his vision of where everybody fits in inside of Strange, you know what I mean?
Wrek: After hearing the whole album I was glad we didn’t have any beats on it. It just cohesively sounds really good. I think one producer working on everything as the way to go.
Was that telling for you guys? To kind of see how you fit in, in Tech’s mind?
Bernz: It was cool, I wish I would’ve fit into Tech’s mind for like two more tracks (laughs), but it’s cool, any little tiny space I get in Tech’s mind I’m happy about.
It’s a busy place
Bernz: It’s cool though, we’re both just feeling really honored to be on it and shit.
Wrek: One thing about us, sometimes I think we get put into a corner like…we get put on all the serious shit. We don’t get put on fun shit a lot, if I had a gripe about like what people see us as or what Tech may see us as. Like we always bring tracks like “The Noose” and “Fragile” and “Retrogression”, these are all dark and hardcore songs, you know? So there was definitely a couple songs on there where I was like, “Oh shit, that’s up our alley too,” but it’s cool.
Totally, and I think ¡MURSDAY! will open up that perception a bit for you guys, because I know y’all had a blast making it and it shows in the music.
If you could pick one label, past or present, to do a Collabos album like we’ve done, who would you pick?
Bernz: Uhhhhhhhhhhhh [Editor’s Note: This goes on for a solid 45 seconds] MOTOWN! Wait, no, Motown is too easy though…how about…hold on, I’m gonna fuck your brain up right now…who had a crazy label? Who had an insane label? Asylum. Peep Asylum for a second. You had fuckin’…I don’t know who you had, fuck you I don’t wanna talk about that.
Can you kind of take us through the process of writing to “We Are Free“? It’s just such a different sound, was it a challenge for you guys?
Bernz: It wasn’t, because again that’s the kind of shit that’s up our alley. “We Are Free” is like…Tech knows us at the same time. That shit sounds like it could have been on a ¡MAYDAY! album.
Wrek: The thing I found challenging about it is the rhythm of that beat, and it changes up a bit too…I don’t know if it was the rhythm or just that I knew the tone of how serious it was, but it took me like five drafts.
I literally wrote the verse multiple times, which I don’t normally do. I had problem starting that verse. I don’t know what it was but I definitely found it a little challenging. Something got me on that one.
What is it like having MURS on the label now? I know you guys have ¡MURSDAY! on the way, but now we’ve got these two independent legends on one label, what is that energy like?
Bernz: Fuckin’ cool. MURS is like a long lost brother dude, it’s fun times. It’s like you found out that like your homie ended up being your cousin or whatever.
Wrek: Exactly. And there’s nothing like already feeling like you have a gang that you can walk down the street with so to speak, and no one can fuck with you lyrically or as a musician, and then to add someone else who is of the legend he is and of the caliber he is, it’s like, “Oh well shit, how much stronger can we get?”
Speaking of ¡MURSDAY!, are we going to be getting any features you guys can disclose?
Bernz: Not on ¡MURSDAY! bro, we wanted ¡MURSDAY! to be just…like the vibe of some friends having fun, you know? We really did it because sometimes features end up becoming more of a political function on the album.
A function of like, hey let me get my album to more people or more ears, and they don’t necessarily serve the artistic function of the song, so for us this time around we felt like MURS is the feature basically, and so we don’t need anything else. We have a few singers that came in.
Wrek: They were all friends though, and I believe all of them were from Miami, or in Miami.
Bernz: Yeah, we didn’t go out and like search the industry for that political connect feature, we didn’t play that…and the only reason we don’t have Tech on the album is because he was about to go on tour, he had just finished Something Else, and then on top of it, it felt refreshing. Everyone else has Tech on their album, and we thought maybe we’ll save it for a remix or something.
Wrek: Besides the fact that we really didn’t feel like there was a song that stared us in the face that felt like a Tech song.
Bernz: We didn’t wanna force Tech on the album, you know what I’m saying?
Wrek: And on top of that, there’s no other rappers. Regardless of whether we know them or not, the few features there are – like three or four tops – are all vocalists. They’re all singing hooks or whatever and there’s no other rap features on the album.
For your cypher verses, was the writing process on those different? Was there a lot more going back and tweaking or re-writing than normal or did it just come organically?
Bernz: For me my cypher verse came relatively quick. I had part of it written for another song I had started, like I had the beginning line that I was carrying with me, the beginning four bars, and the rest I ended up writing there pretty quick that day.
Wrek: I wrote my quick but I think we definitely looked back more times than we normally would over it, because you know how many other people are gonna be on it. We wrote it as quick as we write some of our other verses. It didn’t feel like trouble.
I had more trouble with “We Are Free” to be honest, but yeah, when we got back and got done with it and recorded it we were like, “Ehhh let’s sleep on it though, let’s make sure it’s cool.” Because you know everyone’s coming to the lunchroom with their A game and shit.
Is it possible that Tech N9ne actually is a vampire, and that’s why his lyrical cache is so extensive?
Wrek: Quite possible. If someone said it, I’d believe it. That guy never fuckin’ sleeps.
Bernz: I think he’s either a vampire or…
Wrek: …A Machine. I truly believe he functions off the steam of work, that’s why I think he’s machine-like. Even when he says he’s tired, he still goes and works more than the average fuckin’ human being times three. His work ethic and stamina for work is fuckin’ stupid bro. So yeah, if he was a vampire or a robot I would believe that.
Have you gotten to hear the finished product yet? How would you describe this album to a Strange Music newcomer?
Wrek: Yes, heard the album, extensively. Won’t tell you how I heard it but, I heard it. It’s…I feel like it’s really…Strange Music as a label operating at its highest caliber. It’s really the best of the best, it’s a bit of everything that Strange does. It’s a good representation of the vibe of the label overall.
So kind of like, if Strange Music was weed, Strangeulation is like the hash oil.
Wrek: Yes, exactly. Concentrated Strange Music for ‘dat ass.
Anything else you guys want to say before we get outta here?
Wrek: Nah. ¡MURSDAY! is June 10th, Strangeulation May 6th and…
Bernz: …Let’s get fucked up! Today. Like…now. Not now but…now.
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TECH N9NE COLLABOS: STRANGEULATION
- Who do you look forward to hearing from the most on Strangeulation?
- Did you catch ¡MURSDAY! live at SXSW? What did you think?
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