When the first Strangeulation came out, the biggest buzz surrounding the Tech N9ne Collabos album was the cyphers. Finally, Strange’s deadly roster would be ripping the same track to shreds alongside one another.
With Strangeulation Vol. II, Tech decided to switch things up a bit, having his artists spit on vintage Tech N9ne beats. Did it work?
Read below and see what Tech had to say in this exclusive interview, in which he also addresses a certain controversy for the first time.
What led to the decision to use classic beats for the emcees to spit over on the cypher?
I’m always thinking of new things. The last cypher we did, we all did the same beat. It had a story [taps out beat on table]. We all did the same beat, just like they do for the BET cypher. They used James Brown the year I did it, but I’m thinking, “How can we make it more interesting?” and my brain said, “Boom.”
We were all in a meeting about what we’re going to do for the cyphers. I said, “I had this idea to choose a few of my classic beats and send them to my artists to see what they’d come up with.” Travis was like, “That could be dope.” I thought CES Cru and Stevie Stone would sound perfect over “Come Gangsta”. I thought ¡MURSDAY! would sound wonderful over “He’s a Mental Giant”. Then I sent Prozak a challenge that I knew he could do with “Midwest Choppers I” with Rittz and Krizz. That’s a task. He did that shit.
Scooby and JL – same area, same block; big homie, lil’ homie. That’s why I said, “This cypher means a lot to me because it’s a long time coming.” Put them both together on the old Kutt Calhoun beat “Whip It” [taps beat on table and raps “Whip It”]. It’s hood – it’s our hood, so, it’s our hood on one track. I thought that would be wonderful.
I had a chance to do my cypher over “Anxiety” or “Wavy” and I’m like, I gotta do “Wavy” because it gives me the ability to do everything: I can chop, I can rap, I can slow it down, I can say shit, I can speed it up again, I can do so many patterns on this.
To see the fans the last couple days, getting pieces of [the cypher verses] is beautiful. When they got the “Come Gangsta” one, all the 300 comments on that one. Then the Wrekonize one came out and all the comments. People are finding out it’s gonna be all classic Tech N9ne beats. It’s beautiful to see that come about when it’s my idea.
I hoped the fans would like it, and they love the idea. When they find out who gets “Midwest Choppers” they’re going to fuckin’ flip. I think they’re gonna flip when they hear me on “Wavy”. And then when they hear what I do [raps cypher verse], just off the top…fuckin’ beautiful man. Now that the fans are figuring it out, like “Oh, they’re gonna have all classic beats, Tech N9ne beats,” that makes me feel good. Because that idea just hit me off the top.
You’re a fan of Tech N9ne, so I think you know what the fans of Tech want.
I’m the biggest fan of Tech N9ne. I tell them I’m Technician number 1. I mean that. I listen to this nigga every day. I’m listening to “MMM” like “Shit!” When I say, [raps “MMM” verse], I’m like “What the fuck nigga!? That shit’s crazy!”
I’m a Tech N9ne fan. When I’m writing it and putting it into my recorder, I’m laughing, like “This is gonna be crazy!” But when I get into the booth, I say, “Ben, I don’t know if this is going to work.” He’s like, “You say that all the time. It’s gonna fuckin’ work.” I’m like, “I don’t know how it’s gonna come through the mic, but I know how it sounds in this [points to head]. If I can get this perfect, it’s gonna be dope.” “You’re gonna get it perfect Tech. You say this with every song.” Because I’m always trying to do something greater.
Yeah, it’s a little bit further out of the zone. You’re not doing the same thing every time. Which is cool. There are people that stay comfortable.
The fact that the fans are responding to my classic beat idea-passing them onto my artists, I love it.
They’re really excited. How did the artists respond?
Weird, kind of. They’re like, “How do you expect us to rap on “He’s a Mental Giant” when you did every fuckin’ style?” And then, CES Cru with “Come Gangsta”, like, really? Stevie Stone asked for “Come Gangsta”. I had Stevie Stone on “Whip It” with Scoob. But he’s like, “I wanna do “Come Gangsta”. I got something I want to get off my chest.” He was pissed off about the Hopsin thing, just like a lot of us were, and he wanted to get something off his chest. He said he was gonna pull Hopsin to the side and talk to him.
Only thing I wanna tell Hopsin is that we’re all family, so we’re on the same mother fuckin’ team. Say you’re gonna challenge any label, lyrically? We’re from the street my nigga, and we’re family. That means when somebody says to you, when Sway says “Shady? Strange?” And you say “Anybody.” We’re over here like, “Hold on my nigga, we’re supposed to be bustin’ on niggas with you! We’re family. We help each other out.”
That was the mistake in our eyes. And that’s why all the Strange artists were upset by it, because they know how much love I put into Hopsin, as a fellow emcee. You know, niggas hate on each other. I want to lift a nigga up. So when Sway said, “Anybody? Strange? Shady?” and [Hopsin] said “Anybody”. Man, we’re supposed to be family. Come on man. You’re supposed to say “Stange is family. They’re on our team.”
That’s what I would have said. That’s what I said about Funk Volume. Because when I’m working with Dizzy Wright and about to do a video with Dizzy Wright, when I’m taking Jarren Benton on the road with me. When I’m putting Hopsin on “Psycho Bitch III” and getting him on MTV and BET for the first time with “Am I A Psycho?“, we’re family.
When somebody says you’re gonna challenge us, you don’t back down, but you say “No, we’re family. We don’t battle each other.” Same thing I said about Shady. From Crooked I, to Joell Ortiz, to Royce, Joe Budden, Yelawolf – all of them – Trick-Trick. We are family. We’re not about to battle each other. So if we get the balls to say, “We gonna go against everybody.” Shady? Funk Volume? “Oh no no no, they’re my family. They’re on my team.”
That’s what Hopsin was supposed to say, in my eyes, and that’s when I talked to him. But the backlash from that is my artists – like Wrekonize, like Stevie Stone – he really knows Hopsin, better than I do, so he really took it personal, more personal than I did. And this is my first time talking about this. Who else? Stevie Stone, Wrekonize, Ubi in “PBSA” [raps verse]…he’s really going.
It’s gonna be resolved, because Funk Volume is family, but next time a motherfucker asks you, “You’ll battle Strange?” No, you’re not supposed to back down, like “No, that’s my family. We fight together.” So, you’re gonna hear some shit on this album.
How do you like how the cyphers came out?
If the cyphers didn’t come out good, I would not use them. There’s a cat that didn’t make the cypher.
So the experiment worked?
Oh yeah. The experiment with using my classic beats? Yes, it worked. The fans are gonna fuckin’ love it. Because I know what Tech N9ne beats I love. “He’s a Mental Giant” is one of my favorites. “Midwest Choppers” is the start. You get sent that, Rittz is like “Shit man, I gotta do this?” “Yeah, motherfucker, you’re a chopper, let’s go!” He went. Krizz Kaliko’s like, “I’ll do it again.” That’s why he says “Here we go again!” He did it. Prozak’s like, “Oh fuck. Rittz and Krizz? That’s a task.” And he did the cleanup. He’s the last verse. Proud of him. That’s a heavy task. I wouldn’t want it. It’s like Eminem sending me “Rap God”. Am I going to do it? Yes. I’m going to do it, but I’m going to be like, “Fuck! I’ve got to fuckin’ work on this shit.” Like us sending Eminem “Speedom”, he’s like, “Oh shit.”
I like emcees to push me and all my artists to push me to want to be better, because I ain’t gonna be sitting around. On some of these songs, I might say that one of them got me, or some of them got me, and that’s what’s supposed to happen. That’s all I’m going to say about that.
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