Strange Music might be known as the indie hip hop label, but with Tech N9ne’s Therapy EP, a rock EP produced by legendary producer Ross Robinson (Korn, Slipknot, Sepultura), Strange Music is making it known: this is a music label.
One of the stand out songs on Therapy is “Head Now” featuring Bernz and Wrekonize of ¡MAYDAY!. The dirty, blues-inspired banger is a big middle finger to anybody who wants to be cool with an artist once they blow up, but weren’t ever down with them when they weren’t popular. Wrek and Bernz serve up verses and assist with hook duties on the hard-hitting track. The result is a rude and swaggering anthem that carries all the elements of great classic rock.
We talked to Wrek to get his perspective on the song, its meaning and the making. Along the way he told us one of his biggest pet peeves with certain fans and also answered the eternal question that dogs any rock and roll fan: Plant or Jagger?
I know you and Bernz are big on rock and roll. Who are some of your favorite bands?
I’m still very much a classic rock dude. My parents played a lot of Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin in the house growing up. I think they’re definitely two of my favorite groups. I know they’re two of the biggest so it feels like a bit of a loaded cliche answer but it really is Floyd and Zeppelin man. They really kick ass. I didn’t get into the Stones until later. Bernz is heavy into the Stones. I didn’t really get into them until later in life but I do fuck with the Stones as well.
Who’s the better frontman, Robert Plant or Mick Jagger?
Oh man…man! I’m more of a fan of Zeppelin for real but I think Mick Jagger might be the better frontman. He’s more animated and he’s just more fun to watch where as, you probably favor Plant if you’re a woman because Plant was just like the ill sex symbol of the time. I think women wanted to jump him a little more than Jagger but personally I’d say Jagger is the better frontman.
You and Bernz are huge fans of rock and roll, how excited were you to hop on the song “Head Now”?
It’s always a joy to jump on any Tech project with him anyways. His projects are always so dynamic and so exciting. What he’s doing is always very cutting edge and innovative and just creative as fuck, so it’s always a pleasure to be invited on a project with him. Even more so because this time it was on the road. We’ve never really recorded vocals with Tech around. It’s always been we do it in Miami and we’ll go out and send him the stuff. We’re never in the same room so when he told us “Hey I got this one joint. I want us to record it. We’re going to go to a studio in Denver,” which is already a fun day because the show is so big but “We’re going to go to the studio and knock it out” was just a new, different experience and it was definitely dope.
How did he approach you guys when he asked you to be on it?
He was playing us some joints from the EP. We were just listening to some of the rough mixes and he had a rough mix of “Head Now” with his vocals already on it. He was like “I’ve got a little verse section here that I want y’all to be on, so let me play you this record.” He played a few records and then he played “Head Now” with all his vocals on it already which was super dope. I loved the beat for it – the second it drops. All the music on the EP is dope anyway, but that one in particular was one of the ones where I was like “If I’m going to be on any track, this is the one to get on.”
It’s got this great, dirty blues-rock lick to open it up.
Yeah dude. Man, it’s mean as fuck and it’s got a great swing. The drums hit too so it just hits everything on my checklist.
Was that chorus already written or did you guys write it?
He already had the chorus written and the concept. The whole record was pretty much fleshed out by the time he got it to us. He just wanted us to fill in a verse. I had a harmony idea to add to the hook. We wanted to make the hook a little bit bigger and he was into that. We stacked up on the hook with him, but yeah it was already written and laid out by the time we got there.
How do you take the song and the meaning of it? Can you apply it to your own life? I’m sure for most musicians that achieve a career, success or any kind of recognition have to deal with the person who didn’t think they were the shit then, but do now.
For sure. Bernz and I were both like “Perfect concept.” We’ve both been through this separately and together in ¡MAYDAY! have been through that experience. Also in hip hop, I don’t know if it’s hip hop in general, you run into a lot of people at shows and out on the street who give you compliments and appreciate your music but always follow it up with “Aw man, I’m not trying to ride your dick. I’m not trying to suck your dick or anything” or whatever. It’s a huge pet peeve of mine. When somebody says that they’re automatically assuming that you think that’s what they’re doing, which is always really irritating to me. To have that hook laid out like that “We don’t need no head now.” Don’t even mention it. Don’t even worry about it. That was dope. You definitely run into that a lot and that’s something that Bernz and I said was a concept that was like “Oh yeah, this is right up our alley?”
What the fuck does that even mean if someone says “I don’t want to be a dick rider”? It’s a broad phrase and maybe I’m taking it wrong, but I don’t feel like there’s anything wrong with being on someone’s shit if you really like what they do, as long as you’re not being a weirdo about it.
(Laughs) It’s just like, you can give somebody a compliment without feeling insecure. To say “Yo man, I’m not trying to be a groupie.” It’s like, “Yo man, I never said you were. You’re implying that I think you’re a groupie for giving me a compliment, which I don’t, and it’s kind of offensive” but it’s not something you can really say in conversation because there’s just no way to really put that across without being a dick. You just have to be like “Yeah yeah, no doubt. It’s all good.” That’s what I always say: “It’s all good.” Like, don’t even mention that, because you’re kind of squashing the compliment by telling me “Oh yo, I’m not riding your dick” or “I’m not a groupie.” It’s like, yeah, what does that even mean? Dude, you can totally give me a compliment and I can give you one back and it’s totally cool. You don’t even have to worry about saying that.
So as a public service announcement to everyone, can you say “It is okay to have a genuine enthusiasm about what I do and the music I make” ?
Well yeah! 100%. If I run into an artist that I’m a fan of or a fucking director or anything, if I see Steven Spielburg on the street, I’m going to go up to him and say “Yo, I love your work.” Period. I’m not going to be like “I love your work, but uh, sorry Steven, I’m not trying to be a groupie or ride your dick.” It’s unnecessary. You don’t need to say it. It’s all good. We can compliment each other. There’s no inclination of anything else.
As far as the other side of that coin, meaning Tech’s interpretation of the song: “A lot of people weren’t feeling me then are trying to hop on this bandwagon now, but we don’t need no head now. We’re good.” Would you ascribe that to insincerity on the behalf of the people he’s talking about?
I think most of the time that people who are those kind of people, they’re not the people who have to mention it anyways, they’re not those people because those people are still thinking about it. The people who really didn’t appreciate you or are just jumping on to appreciate you now because it’s the cool thing to do – or Tech gets on Wayne’s album and there’s a whole bunch of people all of the sudden give a fuck about him. Like, you can make new fans as an artist all the time and there’s nothing wrong with that. You can find out about an artist 10 albums into their career and that’s cool too, but I definitely think there’s a certain kind of degree where it can be a little disrespectful when someone comes in and just acts entitled and to be there. To come on and pretend to give a fuck, that’s where it’s like “Oh you just want to be where it’s at. You don’t give a shit about the music” or the foundation or the genuine love that’s being shared, you’re just there because it’s the place to be.
The EP itself, have you heard it?
What do you think of it?
I love it man. It’s slammin’. I think it’s very well done. It feels like Tech still even though he’s like crossing over into another genre of music. I also think putting Seven in was a genius idea because it still has a feel and it knocks like a Tech project should. With the instrumentals brought in and the production from Robinson, it’s just very well done and put together. Very cohesive and it’s got a great sound. I really didn’t hear a track I didn’t like.
Anything you want to say before we wrap this up?
I can’t wait for people to hear the joint. I know there’s a preview for it on YouTube but I can’t wait for people to hear the whole project and I hope they like our contribution to it. Yeah man, more to come.
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