You know if an album has the words “Tech N9ne” somewhere in the print that Krizz Kaliko is somewhere in the fold. With Tech N9ne Collabos – Strangeulation almost due to hit the shelves, we talked to Strange Music’s resident multi-talent to get his perspective on an album that reaffirms the Everready-era motto “Y’all can’t fuck with us.”
Krizz Kaliko delves into how the recording process has changed since moving into Strangeland Studios, what makes him Strange Music’s “utility belt” and what fans can expect (hint: it’s the unexpected) with Tech N9ne Collabos – Strangeulation.
How was the recording process for Strangeulation, specifically being able to do everything at Strangeland?
It was good. It was a little weird because I’m a person that gets used to my surroundings. Like even when I record in the booth, I like to have the box that you plug the headphones in in a certain position. I like the music stand in front of me, even though I don’t use the music stand because I write everything on my phone, but I like to have everything how I’m used to it looking when I record. Naturally, I haven’t recorded in Strangeland before, so it took a little getting used to even though it’s the nicest studio I’ve ever been in in my life. So it was a little weird, but the familiarity of our engineer, Ben, being on the other side of the glass always gives me some comfort. I know that he knows what he’s doing and I know I can get in and out of there. It was a little different than recording the other albums because usually I’m in there and Tech’s in there at the same time. This one was kind of like everyone was dipping in, doing their parts and dipping out, it was a little more robotic this time. So I think on Tech’s next album, we were just talking and we’re going to make sure that we’re in there together and get those creative juices flowing.
So were you able to make Strangeland into your new home through this recording process?
Yeah, I was. I positioned the mic stand, headphone box, chair and music stand how I like it and I was able to get really comfortable in there. After recording this album it feels like okay, this is where we’re supposed to go.
This album is different from previous Collabos albums in that it only features Strange Music artists. Was there ever a point when anyone thought an outside artist would be necessary?
Two things: one – I always felt like the Collabos should be Strange Music artists. Tech and I talked about that before and on the first couple Collabos I used to think that we should only do Strange Music artists. So I’ve been a proponent of that for a long time. I feel like we have a deep enough roster as far as the amount of people and the amount of talent that each artist has. I think it’s enough to make an exceptional release as you’ll see by what came out with this one. So that’s always been something that I’ve wanted to do. And, quite frankly, I think that until every artist is a mega superstar I think we should keep the concentration on just us.
Do you think that everyone delivered on the concept of the album as far as having the industry in a choke-hold?
I do. I feel like Strange Music is a force to be reckoned with. I feel like we definitely can have them in a choke-hold. I feel like after this release a lot of artists in the industry probably will feel like that. They’ll be like, “Wow!” There’s not another label that has a roster with these kind of emcees on it, though. There’s a couple other labels out there that have deep rosters but everybody’s not dope on them, in my opinion. And this is a label where everybody is really dope. You’re only as good as your weakest link and our weakest link is still a good rapper.
Is there a song on Strangeulation that you think is going to come as a surprise to the fans?
I think we already released it, it’s “Nobody Cares” because it sounds kind of like a song you would hear on the radio to me. And we do radio hits. We do hits for our fans and then we do radio hits as well and I think it’s definitely one that feels mainstream, but it still has that Strange Music flavor in it.
What is your favorite track from the album and what makes it your favorite?
“Withdrawal” is probably my favorite track off the album, and not just because I did it. It just has this feeling to it. I say, “Take me to a place where I can’t feel my face” on the hook and when that hook is going, it definitely takes you to another place. I think that people will really feel that one. I think that’s another one that’s going to make people cry when they meet me. A lot of fans see Tech and they get super excited like, “Oh my God, oh my God, it’s Tech N9ne!” Then they see me and they start bawling. They just immediately start crying. It happens in almost every city and I think that’s another one that could do that. I love that people can feel me like that and people can feel that way about any song that comes from Strange Music so I will definitely saw “Withdrawal”.
We recently saw a video in which you referred to yourself as Strange Music’s utility guy. What all roles would you say make up your “utility belt” so to speak?
I usually do a lot of the hooks and a lot of the hooks on a lot of the artists’ albums, that’s one of the roles I play. I’ll also help people write. A lot of the artists usually come to me a lot for help in writing various songs on their albums. I’ve also always been kind of a leader here, too. Trav harass me or bust my chops at the tour meetings and stuff but that’s just so we can have a little entertainment. But we’ve talked about me kind of being a veteran. Me, Tech, Trav and Kutt were here in the beginning and I think people do see me as a veteran. They’ll come to me for guidance musically and just guidance period. Like Strange Music’s life coach. I’ll help other people do their jobs too. Me and my wife were just talking last night about why I get involved in everything. She says that Strange Music has security and I’m the security’s security. Because when they have a problem or there’s been a real deep situation and they hop off the busses, I come off the bus with them. I’ve been the security’s security. I think that’s all the hats I wear. It’s been that way since the beginning and I will always be like that. I feel like that’s what God put me here to do – to help people, to entertain people, to protect people and to put me through trials so I can know how to give guidance to people.
Do you think the fans are prepared for what’s coming with Strangeulation?
I think the only thing they’re prepared for is the quality of music that we deliver. I think they’re prepared for us being elitists on every album. But out of Tech’s model, we always have to reinvent ourselves on every album. I do it on my solo albums, we do it on the Collabos albums and on his albums too. We reinvent ourselves and we drop stuff that people are like, “Wow! I didn’t see that one coming.” I think the quality of music they’ll expect, but the types of songs they won’t expect.
Do you have anything more you’d like to say to the fans about the album?
I do believe that they will enjoy this. Every couple of months they’re hungering for something else from us, and we’ll never let them down. This is going to be one of those things. I think the reason why Tech came up with this album concept was to get the industry in a choke-hold and I think this just proves it over and over again. Y’all can’t fuck with us.
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