“To become truly great, one has to stand with people, not above them.” – Charles de Montesquieu
“There are countless ways of attaining greatness, but any road to reaching one’s maximum potential must be built on a bedrock of respect for the individual, a commitment to excellence, and a rejection of mediocrity.” – Buck Rodgers
What is music? What is it that inspires its creation? What is it within us, the audience, the listeners, the fans, which incites these potent emotions simply by hearing a recorded arrangement of rhythms and melodies and words? What is art? What is it that separates the lackluster and pedestrian from the satisfying and remarkable?
This may seem at first glance just a series of philosophical questions but if you consider Victor Sandoval’s two editorials, “Dial N9ne for Juggalo”, and “F T I: An Open Letter to the Fans”, and the feedback they’ve concerned and generated, then you just may find that these questions are painfully relevant. Tech N9ne collaborating with Lil’ Wayne was the reaching of a level in his career that he has deserved since the days of Anghellic and Absolute Power though been denied for an inane and innumerable myriad of reasons. His acceptance into the Juggalos as a legitimate artist existed on the same platform of success, though for vastly different reasons and yet, once again “fans” have come out of the woodwork like cockroaches after a nuclear blast in order to debase Tech’s accomplishments.
Whether or not you believe Lil’ Wayne to be a talented rapper has no absolutely no bearing on the fact he is one of the most commercially successful rappers of the last decade. Whether or not you think Insane Clown Posse was talented has absolutely no bearing on the fact that they were wildly successful in their glory days and catalyzed the formation of a face-painting, havoc-wreaking, counter-culture movement that has persisted far beyond the popularity of ICP. Whether or not you believe Tech N9ne has sold out and deviated from his own philosophy of anti-industry rebellion has absolutely no bearing on the fact that he hasn’t.
We live in an age of industry whose primary focus and motivation is the accumulation of wealth and fame regardless of the quality of the production. We also, however, live in an era of idealism that exists in perpetual conflict with that industry and though they are so incomprehensibly distant, Tech N9ne, while remaining real, true, and raw, has paved the yellow brick road that connects them. He’s not only bridged the gap between mainstream and independent rap, but between seemingly unrelated genres. His collaboration with Travis Barker, a punk rock legend, was dope and his new album, All 6’s and 7’s is going to feature a track with members of the Deftones. In 2000, the Deftones released an album entitled White Pony. Alternative Press ranked it the second best album of 2000 and then a decade later, the same source ranked it as one the most influential albums of that year. It was 3rd on the Billboard 200 and though I wasn’t able to verify this statistic through its original source, it was ranked #1 that year on a global chart for best albums of 2000. The inclusion of the Deftones successes was to delineate how rigid are Tech’s standards of quality when it comes to collaborating with other artists.
Tech N9ne and his true fans – or Techn9cians as WE are now called – are not encumbered by the same superficialities and callow narrow-mindedness that has disallowed these babbling agents of dissension from seeing how inexpressibly monumental his recent collaborations truly are. It is lost on no one even vaguely familiar with Tech N9ne’s music and method that he needs no assistance when it comes to creating art of the finest quality. But what is lost, and only on the misled, intellectually-autistic Neanderthals throwing stones and swinging wooden clubs of hollow criticism, is that the achievement of absolute power in a creative industry cannot be attained alone. It requires an intrinsic humility, a profound awareness of one’s own strengths and weaknesses, and a passion and allegiance to the art and the dream itself that transcend the meaningless cravings for money and celebrity we so often and dejectedly witness today. It also requires interaction with other like-minded people. People who although perceive and pursue the same dream differently, understand it to be a grander goal than one mere mortal can accomplish. Lil’ Wayne, Travis Barker, the Juggalos and the Deftones are evidence that Tech N9ne desires absolute power and knows precisely how to get it.
I want to thank Victor Sandoval for his inspirational courage and talent and recommend to anyone interested in the topics discussed here to check out Victor’s blogs and follow him on Twitter. I also wish to thank Tech N9ne for his perseverance, endurance and unrelenting ambition and passion in the reaching of a dream none believed capable of actualization.
~ Stefan Pyles, Strange Music Blog Contributor