‘A Top Three Experience For Me’ – HipHopDX Editor-In-Chief Jake Paine On Tech N9ne’s Live Performances

Jul 30 2012

Jake Paine Tech N9ne

Once in awhile there’s a chance to see a show and you know in the back of your mind that you better go because you might not get that chance again. August 24 at KC Crossroads with Tech N9ne, Krizz Kaliko, Stevie Stone and CES Cru is definitely one of those opportunities.

With Tech N9ne at the top of his game set to play an outdoor venue in the city that carried him on its shoulders, and coming off of the most grueling tour in hip hop history, this is definitely a homecoming you will not want to miss.

We’re getting the pre-party started with the Editor-In-Chief of the most powerful hip hop website in the game, Jake Paine of HipHopDX!

We had the pleasure of asking him about his Tech N9ne experience (“T9X”).

Here’s what he had to say…

A Tech N9ne live performance, have you seen it?

I have and I’ve been blessed enough to see one in the backyard there in Kansas City, you know, and got to see the hometown crowd, and I have to tell you it is definitely – and I’ve – I’ve gone to a lot of shows in my life in a lot of different genres of music – that definitely is a top three all-time show experience for me.

Tech N9ne LiveWhat was your impression of Tech N9ne’s live show?

Unbelievable and what’s funny is that it was accented by the fact that it was in front of a city that helped kind of put him on their shoulders and take him to where he is today. But I have to say that – I’m a critic of rap shows – and I think that a lot of artists fail to bring the magic of their records to the live performance, and I think that even if you don’t own or have never bought any Strange Music stuff or Tech N9ne stuff , I would still take anyone in my family who might not even like hip hop, and I think that they would absolutely be entertained from end to end.

Being such a hip hop aficionado, I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of concerts thrown by the best emcees in the game. How does a Tech N9ne show stand up to the rest?

I think what’s so interesting about Tech N9ne is, you know, the Technicians have their songs, but with a lot of artists, I think that they rely very heavily on hits from yesteryear. Everyone’s kind of waiting for those moments to play the hits and I think it’s very hard for an artist to work new material, especially if it’s not a hot single.

What blows me away is that Tech has this ability of doing album cuts or stuff on an album that maybe not everyone’s heard and he delivers it with so much energy and so much conviction that it’s like he’s never lost a step. What’s really interesting to me on top of that too is I caught the tour last year in 2011 and Tech created an environment where the audience is really going to embrace the openers, which only the elite, constantly-seasoned performer really has that ability to do – to create that kind of atmosphere where people want to get their money’s worth. They expect a show, but there’s that attentive ear and eye and that respect for what’s going on. That really impressed me.

Everyone always wants to write about the make-up, the pyrotechnics on stage, the lights, the backdrops and all that, and that’s great, I think it’s really cool. It’s crazy to see Tech tour on the level that Jay-Z and Kanye do with their Watch The Throne tour in terms of you feel like you’re at a big arena show, but it’s really all of the stuff that money can’t buy, and electronics can’t plug in, that makes that show what it is, and it’s what makes it a top three experience for me.

Now let’s focus a bit on the man himself, in what ways do you think Tech N9ne is making an impact on hip hop?

You know, I think you and I had the opportunity to discuss this subject last time, but I think that the 2010’s are gonna be so much about the independent leverage in the marketplace. Yesterday’s major label stars are trying to get an independent machine I think and most artists would be satisfied if they had 1/100th of what Strange has been able to accomplish..

What’s so great about Tech N9ne is I firmly believe that his music, in my opinion, has only gotten better, sharper, and better produced, so he’s one of those artists like a Jay-Z, like a Masta Ace – I mean you can go on and on and on with these guys that have the rare ability to only get better with time and still be able to be true to their early albums. That’s really important right now because I think a lot of people that are in the spotlight, to the degree that Tech N9ne is, are constantly forced to go pop or do collaborations that don’t feel authentic. Meanwhile, Tech doesn’t need to change for anyone, and that’s always been the hip hop attitude: “We do what the fuck we wanna do,” excuse my language. I mean I love that because I think that authenticity is everything.

What amazes me is that so many of the cool things I’m seeing – and I used the live show as an example – I can trace back to Tech N9ne, you know? I went to go see a Doomtree show, and that’s a big collective out of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, and they’re finding a lot of success independently. They’re hittin’ the charts, and their crowd was really open to watch the openers. That sounds a little redundant, but hip hop so often, I feel like, grabs a beer and turns its back to whoever’s on stage before the headliner, and I got to see that. The other day, just last month, I went to go see, Slug and Ant of Atmosphere with Blueprint and B. Dolan out in Atlantic City. I’m walking into the show and there’s Slug, you know, and he’s shaking everybody’s hand walking in, and Rhymesayers, which I feel has some great things in common with Strange, when they realized it wasn’t gonna be a sell-out crowd cause he’d never performed in A.C. before, they decided that if you bought a ticket you got a ticket free so you could bring somebody. Like, things like that are really going a long way right now, and with so many of the cool stuff that I’m seeing, I have to say, and it’s not cause I’m on the phone with Strange radio, but Tech and Travis O’Guin, and Strange did it first, and that’s kind Jake Paineof ill to me. So I think Tech N9ne is the ultimate trend-setter right now. Everybody wants to be him and everybody wants to sound like him, at least when it comes down to getting the audience hanging on every word.

Yeah, and it seems to have been a shift from artists being seemingly so far away and unattainable, to whereas now they are attainable. Like, with the VIP package you can hang out with them, you can shake their hands, and stuff like that. Have you seen this trend?

Yeah, I really am. It cracked me up the other day, one of my childhood favorite musicians was Warren G, and I was just B.S’n on Twitter for a minute and Warren G asked a question about a sample or something. He’s like, “Anybody who answers this question, I’ll follow you.” I answered and I had Warren G follow me on Twitter and I was like, “That’s kinda cool.” I’m not gonna get at him but at the same time, I remembered being an adolescent kid watching the “Regulate” video hoping for it on MTV five times an hour, and I was like, “You know what? Artists really are crossing into their fans”.

What songs or albums would you like to see Tech perform if you were going to watch him live?

Hm, you know, that’s hard to say. I feel, and I never got to ask Tech this I don’t think, but I feel like his set changes night to night. You know, and what cities he’s in. I think that he has a really fundamental, good understanding of his crowd, and one of the things that Tech told me long ago, and I’m not dodging your question, he used to do raves at a time when raving and hip hop were very different cultures. I live on the East Coast, and in Philadelphia, and it’s funny because, you know, this year Tech stopped in Philly, but for a lot of years he would stop in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, which is very rural, a different political and social demographic, and he would perform shows, sometimes outdoors in the woods. And I love that, and I’m quite sure that those shows are different than arena shows. So honestly, you know, it’s funny, like I went to see Atmosphere last month and I was really hoping they’d perform this one record, but with Tech N9ne shows I kind of go there more to receive whatever he sees and whatever inspires him to go there with a set like, “Oh man, I’ve never heard him play this”, which I know a lot of the Technicians out there have that experience, but for me, I’m more hands off with it.

What can you tell us about KC barbecue, have you had it?

I’ve been to Jack Stack. I’ve eaten my weight in beef and pork ribs there. I’ve been meaning to try some of the others, but it’s funny I was just with our editor-at-large Omar, and he made the trip to Kansas City with me last year, and we were just hanging out in Phoenix, and we were eating some barbecue out here and some good Mexican food and stuff, but uh, we were both just kinda had a moment. All he said was “Jack’s Stack” and my eyes started rollin in the back of my head and, you know, you guys have it the absolute best, you know? I might not be welcome in Memphis or the Carolinas for saying something like that but KC barbecue is A-1 the best.

Anything you want to say before we let you go?

Well, one thing I just will say to the whole Strange family and all of its fans, I love having you guys on HipHopDX, and it doesn’t mean we’re always gonna agree cause I know we don’t, but I’m always personally proud of the fact that wherever I’ve been, I’ve had the opportunity to make some great stories and content with Tech and his company, and, you know, I – I respect you guys just as much as I hope HipHopDX earns your respect.

-Jeff Nelson, Senior Blog Editor Strange Music Inc.

Click here to order tickets and VIP Experience Packages for KC Crossroads, August 24!

Tech N9ne - KC Crossroads