That old adage of how life is akin to a roller coaster–filled with glorious ups and treacherous downs–is one we all know, as nobody’s life is perfect. However, sometimes it seems that roller coaster gets stuck in one of those downs, as Nikola Mrdjen can attest to.
Nikola, or Nik, is an 18-year-old aspiring rap artist who lives in San Diego, California. His family split due to an abusive father, and relocated to Las Vegas, while the father moved to Bolivia. Life was cramped for the five-member family living in a one-bedroom apartment, but they made it work. One random summer day, Nik’s mother informed him and his brother that they were going to Bolivia to visit their father–quite a shock given everything. Once in Bolivia, their father proclaimed “Welcome to your new home!” This arrangement soon fell apart as tensions grew, exponentially this time, and within a month, Nik and his brother were back in America. While back home, things stayed stagnant; his sister started seeing a guy who got her hooked on cocaine, and as a result, she threw away her full scholarship after a week of college. The family was continuously falling apart, and to make things worse, on his 17th birthday, Nik’s mom threw him out of the house.
With nowhere to go, Nik headed to a nearby park and found a park bench. His thoughts raced as the sun dropped, “That was one of the darkest and coldest nights of my life,” Nik says, “I truly felt like my entire life was just pulled from under me.” When the sun rose, Nik looked around and saw it was actually a beautiful day and pulled out his iPod.
“By this time, I had almost every Strange album…something was different though, the music seemed to be vibrating in my bones. I felt every message of every lyric and felt every feeling…at this point I realized that I was fully capable of changing my situation, and that nothing was going to fall out of the sky. I remember being on the bench and listening to ‘Suicide Letters’, and I felt like doin’ it more and more – until the end, where Tech mentions at the end of the song that suicide will never be for him, because of his children and loved ones. This completely turned the entire situation around. He was building up the emotions and feelings he had when he wanted to end it, and then completely flips it around to show how beautiful life really is. Tech’s music saved my life. I had no value for my life, sometimes taking 15 Lortabs and not give a fuck if I die, until Tech opened my eyes.”
Discussing a recent Tech N9ne concert, Nik discloses one of the most inspirational moments in his life:
“At Tech’s Las Vegas show, my friend and I, Lawrence, were up in one of the opera boxes. Tech started singing ‘F.A.N.S.’ and looked up and pointed to our box while he sang the chorus – which always gave me a knot in my stomach, because you can actually feel the love in his words. That was the night that inspired me to write this piece. I felt he has been giving us so much love, that it was time to return the favor – I wrote it so that Tech could know he is touching his fan’s lives.”
Why I’m A Technician
It seemed like suicide was always on my mind,
With all the problems and no grind,
Till I heard that one track from the n9ne,
that sent chills right through my spine.
Cuz at seventeen I was alone on the street,
fam turned their back and i had nowhere to sleep.
So I tuned you in my iPod and just let it repeat.
I sat there absorbing the information
that you gained through tribulations,
I learned my problems and how to face ‘em,
and with this strength I was able to waste ‘em.
You opened my eyes to my angel,
that I was blockin’ out cuz of my mental angle.
You taught me how to brush off the haters,
fly by the procrastinators and feed the infactuaters.
Tech, i ant got nothin’ but respect,
even if it makes the industry a little upset.
Cuz your real and got flows heavier than steel,
but more than that you open our minds to heal and feel.
You showed me the way out of the dark,
and guided me with scrilla to move out of the park,
cuz my mind was in trenches while I was sleepin’ on benches
but then I started hoppin’ fences cuz I saw life through your lenses.
I realized I had to hustle if I wanted to survive
cuz the law makes it impossible for an innocent citizen to thrive,
which in turn makes it a burden to be alive,
except for us with the sickness who continue to strive.
You pulled me out of depression with that technician rope
and made me strong again, gave me a vision of hope.
Right now I’m in a really low place
but you’ve been pullin’ me out with the red strings and lace,
so every time I see your face, I have upmost respect for strange and its place.
I guess u could say I don’t have anymore
cuz when my pops walked out and became a whore,
I didn’t see any beauty in life or what it had in store,
but now I’m startin’ to get feelings back
realizing beauty will come when I learn to stack,
and there ain’t no way I’m heading back,
down the same road cuz there ain’t no time to slack.
Every time I hear people talkin’ bout tech,
I re-inform them it better be with respect.
cuz this is a nigga who saved my neck
and continues to keep me in check.
Thru your music and wisdom I live my life with ambition.
This is my gratitude of the highest magnitude
cuz as my evil spewed;
it was pacified by your music dude.
I’ll say it again bro u saved my life.
Much love from this technician with strife.
For eight months, Nik sold drugs to survive and re-built anything resembling structure since his fall to rock-bottom. Since then, Nik has re-established ties with his family, and also started going to school at his new home in San Diego; it seems that roller coaster is finally back on track.
Written by Jason Ours