Tech N9ne: Blood Sweat ‘N’ Gears [Excerpt From the June 2011 Issue]

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    Today, Tech N9ne released his thirteenth studio album, <em>Something Else.</em> The album, which features collaborators including Kendrick Lamar, Cee Lo Green, T-Pain, Wiz Khalifa, B.o.B and Serj Tankian of System Of A Down, has been buzzing for months now. Poised to be one of Tech’s breakthrough albums, the KCMO native didn’t hold back with his lyricism. As Tech says, his pen heated the paper, and there’s enough evidence here to show he’s at place where he belongs. We complied the 25 most quotable lyrics from <em>Something Else.</em> <em>Tech N9ne!</em>
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The conference room inside Strange Music’s headquarters is decorated in various shades of brown. Based in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, a quiet suburban town of 84,000 located 20 minutes south of Kansas City, the Strange HQ is tucked away off a long, flat stretch of strip malls and Panera Breads and car-parts stores. The only photos inside are of local softball teams that CEO Travis O’Guin sponsors. Simple, neat and safe, it’s more insurance agency than hip-hop label. But at the head of the table stands Aaron Dontez Yates, a.k.a. Tech N9ne, the label’s co-owner, executive vice president and biggest star. He’s holding a CD, an advance copy of his new album, All 6’s and 7’s, which promises, by all indication, to bring him to new levels of success.

Not that he isn’t already very successful. He is. Years of relentless touring, through mostly second-tier markets, for a modest but particularly passionate fan base, largely White, who call themselves “Technicians” and paint their faces like he does and tattoo themselves with his name and the Strange Music logo and buy not only his music and tickets but loads of merchandise, which he produces himself, right here out of Lee’s Summit, have made him a multimillionaire.

This afternoon, Tech is getting ready to conduct an hour-long podcast, during which listeners will call in and repeat “The Pledge of a Technician,” which ends with, “Technician I am, wholeheartedly, in life and in death.” His is the very definition of, and a display of the power of, a cult audience.

Tech, 39, has been at it for a long time. In the 1990s, he signed to and left labels founded by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, as well as Quincy Jones. Since releasing his first solo album under Strange in 2001, he’s dropped nine solo albums, the last four of which have made the top 20 of Billboard’s top 200. But still, the average rap fan would be pressed to name even one Tech N9ne song. There’s a lot of rock in his music, a lot of heavy metal. He’s more well-known among the Juggalo circles devoted to the Insane Clown Posse.

It’s been during the past year that Tech has made his biggest inroads toward attracting mainstream attention. A feature story in the July/August issue of XXL last summer, while Tech was on the Rock the Bells Tour, revealed that Strange Music raked in just under $15 million in 2009—an incredible feat for an independent label during a music-industry slump. Then in August, Lil Wayne, during a phone interview, his first while serving his Rikers Island sentence, told New York’s Hot 97’s Funkmaster Flex that the two artists he most wanted to work with upon his release were Andre 3000 and Tech N9ne. Surprised and flattered, Tech visited Wayne in jail. Topping off the year was Bad Season, a Tech N9ne mixtape hosted by DJ Whoo Kid (and presented by

So All 6’s and 7’s hits stores in June to more attention than any Tech N9ne album has ever had before. It features a dizzying array of guest artists, including Lil Wayne (who met Tech in Miami to record two songs soon after getting out of jail in November), Busta Rhymes, Snoop Dogg, T-Pain, Yelawolf, Twista, B.o.B, E-40, Kendrick Lamar, Blind Fury and even Stokley Williams (of Mint Condition) and the Deftones. And Tech will support it by playing 82 shows in 82 cities in 85 days, his longest tour to date.

Before that, though, the man behind the face paint sits down with XXL to talk about his improbable rise, the notion of crossing over, the fears of his longtime fans and those persistent rumors of devil worship.—Hyun Kim


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  • D90

    his new album is mainstream… its still got dark soundin shit on it but theres sumthin about it thats jus not Tech N9ne… itll be successfull nd im all 4 seein tech get the success that he deserves but the new album isnt like his other 1s nd he is workin towards goin more mainstream

  • Ch*l*z

    I feel like if his LP was 12 track deep it was gonna be phenomal. Nonetheless it was dope but could’ve been………!!!

    22 tracks is 2 waaaaaaay inconsistent n 2 loooong if it aint a classic like say “All eyez on me”!!!!!!!!!!

    • Duarte

      I completely disagree with what you jus said homie. To long, so I take it you didnt like K.O.D.? Ye there b 24 tracks on there, but 6 are skits, so only 18 actual songs, and how bout Killer, that was bad to? Its not the quantity IMO its the quality, and wit the exception of maybe 3 tracks, I think this album is sick! But I dont think its his best, I think K.O.D. can still blow this one out of the water. Besides that Absolute Power was dope as hell.

  • technicalinsanity

    i didnt appreciate that juggalo comment. but new albums the shitt. didnt enjoy fuck food but if theres only one song i dont like then hell yea that album goes hard. nxt album should bring some
    old wit some new. get wizz on there. wanna try something diff holler at borgore, example, foreign beggars. dubstep is the new shit

    • Pat

      im taking it your 1of the juggalos whos not getting any>

    • Mae-Alice

      I didn’t like that comment either, but w.e.
      I’m not holding it against him.
      It’s a little ridic.
      Mainly because Tech wouldn’t be shit with us,
      I’ve been a Technitions for about 6 years.
      I’ve been a Juggalette for almost 10.
      I definitely get laid.
      Most of my friends are juggalos and there is no shortage of sex going on.

  • J-Chron

    TECH TECH N9NE N9NE since summer of 03 he’s been my favorite raper all it took was seeing him live on stage and i was sold, ive been to alot of hip hop shows and hes the only one who doesnt just sit there and grab his nutts. Tech, Bloody Kutty and Kaliko put on the greatest stage show on earth!!!! if u doubt me go to see him!!! make sure u buy ur tickets soon cus they sell out quick cus he has the most devoted fan base!!! i would spend my last 30 bucks just to go see him and that alot comming from a guys who has seen him over 10 times!!! Tech writes his life and u can tell by the words he says and the way he says it its all from the heart, when he plays “this ring” live u can see the pain in his eyes and thats whats great about tech hes not a fakester rapping about money and bling hes raping about real life and the pain and struggle u go through and he raps about the greatness of life drinkn kc teas kix it with females yadamean hes the realest person in the rap game by far!!!!!!!!!!!!!! TECHNICIAN I AM WHOLE HEARTEDLY IN LIFE AND IN DEATH!!!! ARRRUGH ARRRUGH ARRRUGH

  • Jonas Krüger

    Worst album his ever made.. Its sad that he can’t look back on “Tech won’t go mainstream, mainstream go tech”.. Since thats not true anymore, he lost alot of my respect when making albums with the most mainstream artists in the world: T-pain and Lil’_SHAME_.

    Its not mainstream go tech, when you take autotune and the mainstream artist into your album.. When mainstream go _OLD TECH_, its because people would get tired of autotune and crappy songs with no feelings.

    Hope you read this tech, not to be a hater, but to be real. I was backstage with you in Oslo, Norway (im the underaged guy woop), but I got to say, as a bloody fan, im kinda.. Unhappy with your mainstream album 6s and 7s.

    • Duarte

      Not for nothing, but Ninna hasnt been after the mainstream artists, they came to him, so mainstream is gettin STRANGE, not the other way around. By your logic you sayin he went mainstream cuz he got mainstreamers on his album, but I guarantee if Snoop put Tech on one of his tracks you wouldnt be sayin that Snoop goin underground, so to you and all the rest who think like that, that argument dont make sense. He still spittin real ish, still speakin his life and still comin raw wit it. Tech will never b a sellout, he still calls all his own shots and he finally gettin some recognition now all of a sudden he a sellout, pffft. Hes doin what he set out to do, makin strange a household name, make it strong enough so that when he puts the mic down the label will survive. Technicians unite, make that a reality.

      • Jonas Krüger

        Thanks for responding.
        Mainstream is a common word for what people are listening too. In 2011, people are saying “songs with autotune are mainstream”, and that is a fact that people can’t go around.

        If you take every song out from his album, you will find around 50% of them with mainstream artists and so on. You can’t go “underground” from mainstream, but you can go the other way around, and you know it. So I can’t find that argument as an.. argument..

        If you consider Tech N9nes latest album in the same genre as Absolute power and Killer, I would say you are wrong. If you take them up to eachother, you can clearly see that there is a huge differense between the old Tech and the Tech living today. Autotune does NOT belong in rap!
        Im sorry, but your arguments does really not make me like this album. Its sad, when you have been raised with tech n9ne, and you find him going over to something like this.

        • guy

          who are you to say what belongs in rap? thats the beauty of it is that it can have literally anything in it. you can have country rap, metal rap, r&b rap, spoken word, and even auto-tune rap.

          I hate to say it but you simply sound like a pure hater thats mad that his tech n9ne ticket prices might go up a lil bit. Im was born in raised in KC and Ive literally grown up listening to tech. every time tech puts out new music, everyone talks shit on it. when KOD came out, people said it was too dark, when OGMP came out people said it wasnt dark enough, when Bad Season came out people said it was too mainstream.

          Get over it, if you dont like ONE song because your a hater, then dont play it. But just realize that whether you like it or not, every single feature on any one of techs albums is pure dope(yes, even waynes) and Tech has always been at the top of the game when it comes to lyricism, so dont question him.

          • Jonas Svensson

            And also: If he managed to do some songs with the other quality rappers that contacted him, that would be awesome. I mean.. He got the chance of Marley, Raekwon, EMPD and so on.. Can’t imagine how he could break his promise to all his fans. But he did. That his choise, and I don’t like that choice. Ill still listen too his old music, and ignore the new. I hope that he doesent turn out like eminem though.. Like everybody hated on rhianna and so on on his albums, they can’t imagine how a fan of the music tech produces on wayne. I mean; Tech did this for money, not for the fans. Don’t try to say against that. Thats his choice, so be it.

    • TAy

      You are wack. You probably watch fox news also. You wouldnt know art if it slapped your dumb ass in the face!!! Get real.. Have an open mind and listen you judgemental EMO.. If its good music, which it is if you actually LISTENED, than give it up where respected. ANd this

  • J Dub 206 Technition

    Fuck all the haters that have been hatin on the N9NA STRANGE MUSIC IS GETTIN PAPER ! Its a new chapter unfolding for Tech he writes about his life and this is where he is at the time in it. all of his albums are from one point and time in his life. 6688846993 ! I have been listening to tech since everready my first tech n9ne show was at the moore theater in seattle wa I believe it was the strange noize tour or sricktly strange. Ive been to every show since. true fans like me who have met you and get the message your trying to send will always be here. 206. STRANGE MUSIC!

    • Duarte

      Happy to finally read some real shit. Jus cuz an “unknown” is all of a sudden bein recognized by the mainstream dont mean they sold out, especially not after doin it for as long as he has, the man has put in work to get himself and STRAAAANGE! to where its at today. I dont hate, I embrace. Tech is forever evolving as the music industry keeps changing, and I salute him for it. I will raise my glass and say SALUE for one of the greatest to ever spit on record.

  • devan murphy

    i am sp proud of tech! for lil wayne to say that he wanted to do some shit with tech did not surprise me, i was like it’s about time. he deserves all the success in the world. it doesn’t matter what direction he takes his music- whether mainstream or keep it underground i will always support him no matter what

  • pacman

    To be honest everyone on here who says this album is “mainstream” has no reason to be hating. This Album was amazing. And if you claim to be a real “fan” then you apparently haven’t heard the song F.A.N.S. which stands for “Forever Accepting N9ne’s Soul”. If you talk bad about this album your no Techn9cian nor are you a fan. This album was his biggest and, in many opinions, including his very own opinion, his best. Now, i understand it is an opinion but if you want to argue the albums mainstream-ness and hate on it then don’t consider yourself a true fan or techn9cian.

  • biged

    when u start to get successful someone is always gonna run their cum catcher sayin u sold out. i have everyone of his albums and the new one is just as good. say what u will but strange music got hottest shit right now. and its over 30 tracks with the bonus cuts. the song with brotha lynch killed it. strange music bitch!

  • ethan

    nice read. find the cd good

  • Bill Braden

    Tech is a beast one of the best

  • Amanda KObel

    Of course Tech don’t sound the same, ever album will be different. Music changes always. Tech is the shit will always be the shit no matter what. ALL YOUR TECH HATRED GOT YOU SOUNDIN’ LIKE A BITCH PLAYAS!!!!!!! TECH FO LIFE BABY!!!!!!

  • jason

    I don’t consider this album mainstream at all. I find it to be very good. F*&^ food is dope. It’s got a mainstream feel but the lyrics and song are nothing but.

  • jacksonv

    I did not like some of the things that Tech said. He does not know why the fans do what they do? Fuck people if they are concerned with you going mainstream? And other not getting pussy?

    Just remember this, when the mainstream is finished with you and throws you away like they do with entertainers like you, the only people you will have to fall back on are those fans.

    You don’t want to alienate your base and endocrine fickle people that are all about what is trendy right now.

    Stray grounded or fail!

  • 3996488866

    yeah….i dont see how ppl can say tech is mainstream when he owns his own lable….when ppl big get on tracks togather, its not selling out…it called making rap….. thats how rap should be, diverse…n tech is the deff. of diverse

  • Blacc Joka

    Aight…everybody got their own opinions about the all 6′s n 7′s album n overall of tecca nina’s come up…quote off tha Killer track…”CryBaby”: “If its negative, I dont wanna hear it”…so wit me cuzz…da album was dope to me…maybe i guess ya’ll still not ready for an underground king rippin tha mainstream head off n yet alone spit on radio knowin ya’ll request special ed retards all the damn time mostly…its a shame…smh..but hey Im glad dat he is gettin tha recognition datz been denied over belligerence n otha negative talk…all power to NNUTTHOWZE…n to all dat claim Strange Life is Beautiful…N Hail to the King of Darkness Tech N9ne…keep evolvin n live life to da fullest. TO All Hataz checc ya ear level n wake ya mind up yadadadiggz…enuff is enuff.

  • RECK

    TECH N9NE is the GREATEST Rapper ALIVE!!

  • Jim

    @ Biged…what song was with Brotha lynch?

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  • Jose

    Tech is dope as f**k! BET needs to play his sh*t.

  • ron

    man i think that if tech brought his KOD attitude and did a song with tyler the creator, that would be some crazy shit man.

  • RECK

    Tech N9ne is the GREATEST Rapper Alive!

  • d

    Im a juggalo, and i love PUSSY Motha Fackoo!!!! See you at the gathering tech,, WHOOP WHOOP!!!!!

  • nemesiszay

    i can’t understand why des so called tech n9ne fans hating on the all 6′s and 7′s album… yeah i admit it’s not the same darkness we all grown to enjoy coming from tech, yet the album is still dark. He’s still spitting reality rapid fire verses, he still isn’t making rapmercials like 90% of the industry. one of if not the most creative rapper i’ve heard. he makes hits out of songs that anyone else couldn’t even lay down a ok hook. tech if you read this keep doing ya thang boss… i been a fan and i will reamain loyal to real music…. TECH N9NE!!!!!!

  • thor

    I live in KC. Well done Tech. Good album. Looking forward to Kabosh.