In between the grueling studio sessions to wrap up the recording for his upcoming blockbuster album, All 6’s and 7’s, we were able to get Tech on the phone to discuss a few things about the album itself, the meaning of the pledge, and his status as “cult leader”. Candid and revealing as always, Tech pulled no punches with his answers.
You’re in the studio, still recording All 6’s and 7’s. What does this album mean to you? Is it just another album or does it represent a new stage in your career?
It’s totally something new man. It’s all about now. “All 6’s and 7’s” is a term that comes from playing craps. When they say you’re “All 6’s and 7’s” or “at 6’s and 7’s”, it’s that you gotta be confused to put all that money on one thing. You gotta be confused to roll like you do or crazy to place that kind of bet, you know what I’m saying? The actual meaning of the term, it means in a state of confusion or disarray. Me, I’ve always been confused spiritually and the whole world is in disarray right now when you look at it. So, it’s all about now, you know what I’m sizzlin? So, All 6’s and 7’s: totally confused and disarrayed. This album is doing everything, you know what I mean? It’s doing everything at once.
Musically, it’s represented that way?
Totally, that’s what I mean. The music is doing everything, you know what I’m saying? I don’t really want to give it away but with saying All 6’s and 7’s meaning is confused, I can do anything and everything. I can do any style and everything within that style. With this album I actually had a different type of canvas. I didn’t follow a pattern. I didn’t follow a pattern at all. If I wanted to put someone at the very end of a song, if I wanted somebody for two bars, I did it. If I wanted somebody on four bars I did it, or a sixteen bar verse. I just used this canvas to do whatever my dreams told me to do and with the title All 6’s and 7’s it allows me to do that. I don’t have to have a pattern. It’s just everything: it’s just a clusterfuck like it’s always been but to the 20th pattern.
Tell me about the album artwork: who’s idea was that and what does it mean to you?
The artwork was my idea. I had an idea before that which is why I got a personal trainer because I originally wanted to be on the cover naked with some kind of 6 and 7 thing over my dick so you couldn’t see it and some black boots. All my partners out in LA told us that if I did that and one person complained that they would take the albums off the shelf. So I said “okay, have me in a Mike Tyson towel,” one of those towels you cut the hole in and put over you so it can expose my chest and my arms to see me branding myself, because when I was naked I was still going to be branding myself, I was going to be all 6’s on one side and then all 7’s on the other side, naked. I just kind of covered myself with the Mike Tyson towel and the brands. We freaked it out, the Strange Music towel, and it’s beautiful to me. All of my fans are saying it looks like a Mortal Kombat character. I’m like “Hell yeah,” that’s what I wanted.
This is an old topic, a dead horse, but I want to revisit it from a new angle. Of course you’re still probably getting people saying you’re going mainstream and stuff but the way I want to revisit this is I want to ask: what does the “Fuck The Industry” slogan mean to you and do you still stand behind F.T.I.?
I still stand on F.T.I. all day, all night. Strange Music is one big Fuck The Industry because we let people know that we can do it our way and we didn’t need a major label to succeed. We did this: we sold over a million copies independently, we still doing it, we’re selling out our tours. Strange Music in itself is one big Fuck The Industry. When you look at the song I did with T-Pain and Wayne called “Fuck Food”: I got two of the biggest artists in the rap game, put them on a song called “Fuck Food”. We’re cursing all through it, we’re doing music. We doing what we felt, not putting these niggas on the album to fucking sell records. It’s just like I heard these niggas on these records and we did it and I didn’t do it to put on the radio or nothing like that. That’s a big Fuck The Industry. We can do what we want to do and that’s what makes us number one and that’s what makes us one-hundred, because we can actually say “Fuck what ya’ll doin, this is what we doing and we’re succeeding at it!” That’s one big fuck the industry! Tech N9ne is one big Fuck The Industry because I’m letting people know that you can do it other ways and still succeed.
With your loyal fanbase and to the extent that they’re dedicated to your music and your message, it has some people calling you a cult leader. How do you feel about that?
Cult leader? (Laughs)
Yeah they’re comparing you to Jim Jones or David Koresh.
You know that’s real fucked up to compare me to Jim Jones or David Koresh. Those were not people that were for the greater good. If they’re trying to say that I’m going to feed my fans electric Kool-Aid, that got me fucked up. If they’re saying that I’m telling all my fans that we’re going to kill ourselves to go to heaven, that got me fucked up. If they’re saying I’m going to tell my fans that we’re going to shoot motherfuckers who penetrate our love…maybe! Now, I don’t know if that’s what David Koresh did but I do believe that at the end of all this we have to protect our loved ones so if you’re in my compound or if you’re in my house and we have to protect ourselves with ammunition, best believe I’m going protect myself from the evils that may be outside that door. So if they’re saying that, yeah, but that aint got nothing to do with my music as of now. If they’re saying the Techn9cians remind them of something of a cult, I haven’t turned nobody on. I haven’t said we gotta get these people on or turn these people against you. All our shit’s about love and if you’re shit’s not about love–if you’re shit’s about evil then you might have a problem with me and the Techn9cians but other than that they’re just a fanbase to me.
Do you think you have the best fans in the world?
I think I have wonderful fans. I don’t know what the other fans are outside of my fans so it’s hard for me to say until I go and see other fans. I’m expanding everyday but what I have right here, I’m totally happy with.
Why do you think people are looking at you and calling you a cult leader?
I think because of the tattoos my fans put on themselves of me, I think it’s because of the pledge I came up with, I think it’s a number of things but I believe in togetherness. If we’re going to be doing this music, make it mean something, make people feel something to want to come together so if we’re ever in trouble together we’ll go together, we’ll go at that evil together. I believe in teamwork. If all that whole team is believing in love and love is what we got and we’re going to fight evil with love, shit there’s no way we’re going to lose I don’t think, unless they got bigger guns than us, or they got bigger bombs than us, or whatever. We gotta make money. We gotta make money for war. That’s what Pac said: “You can’t go to war if you aint got your money right, now I got my money right, now we can go to war.”
Tell me about The Pledge of a Techn9cian. Where were you? How did that happen? How did you come up with that?
I was at my house. I was thinking that it was time. It’s like Lil Wayne said my name and it started turning a lot of people on to me and I appreciate it. It started making a lot of people look my way. But my people over hear that I was already with, I didn’t ever want them to think I would alienate them to get other fans to do anything, to get other fans, to continue to do what I do to get other fans. What Wayne did helped a whole bunch but I kept doing me though, I aint doing nobody else so I wanted to let my fans know: “Okay, all these fans about to come in so we’re about to clique up right here together. I’m going to have our pledge and we’re going to put the pledge on them. If they want to be a part of us, they gotta know the pledge. When I say “one, two, three spit it” they’re supposed to be able to say it to me. So I had to make a pledge for the existing fans, the core fans, to say “Okay, this is what we’re going to have, and when the newbies come in we’re going to teach them.” We’re going to spread and keep spreading. So I had to make us real clique-y real quick before it gets out of hand because it’s about to get out of hand.
You think it’s about to get out of hand?
Yes, I know for a fact: it was written.
Why do you think your fans are so dedicated to your music, does it go back to what Quincy Jones told you almost 20 years ago?
Yeah, “Rap what you know and people will forever feel you.” They feel that I give all of me: I’m inside out, and when you do that…Dead Prez said “But then if you a liar-liar, pants on fire /Wolf-cry agent with a wire / I’m gon’ know it when I play it.” When they listen to my music they know that shit aint fake, I’m talking about my life. So the next nigga that say “I don’t listen to that Tech N9ne, that shit aint real.” Their reality is different. Their reality might be selling dope everyday so want to hear a dope dealer speak, and that’s cool. My life is something different, I’m aint no motherfucking dope dealer I deal dope music. I aint cooking shit up in the kitchen. If that nigga respect good music and good lyricism, then maybe he’ll love Tech N9ne, I’m just saying that my fans see that that shit aint fake, and I can’t see the next nigga saying that because I don’t do what they do then it’s fake. No, I think everyone’s reality is different, and my fans connect with my reality.
How much longer do you want to do this for?
As long as I’m breathing I guess. I keep getting younger man. As I’m getting older I feel like I’m getting younger. My bones are getting stronger instead of weaker, my dick is getting bigger, I’m starting to breath a lot better. Ahh…it just feels like…I’m getting gray hair on my balls and everything but I shaved that shit off, it’s great! Other than that I’m getting younger. When you see me on that stage man I look like a young boy you know what I’m saying? I think I got time in this shit. I really don’t know. I’m torn because I’m ready to go, I’m ready to go, It’s time to go! I’m ready to go with this music. This new wave has hit me, boom! I’m ready to go, but at the same time I still do want to kick it with my children. I miss a lot of time so I’m torn. Yes, I’m going to go and provide my kids with whatever the fuck they need. I feel like I’ve got time in this shit. I’ll know when it’s time to stop. My fans will let me know. I’m thinking they’ll let me know…I can’t say.
Anything you want to say to the fans before we close this out?
Together we are a powerful force,
As one mind, body and soul.
Let no evil enter nor attempt
To reduce us because of the beliefs we hold.
And with this love combined with our strength,
We ward off pain and stress.
Technician I am wholeheartedly in life and in death!