A new album, new tour, two gold singles & the 10th anniversary of a career milestone, Tech N9ne is still "a playa" in 2016!
Tech N9ne is one of the few artists who seems to be having the biggest year of his career with each passing cycle around the sun. With over two decades in the indie hip-hop world, he’s transcended countless niche fanbases into a movement whose sheer size is on par with most major label rap superstars, but with a passionate devotion that eclipses just about any other entity on the mic.
Tech caps off 2016 this week with the release of The Storm, his latest album that's painstaking perfection has been the center of his orbit over the past year. We caught up with Tech mere days before its release to catch-up on all that the past year has given him.
Best Moment of 2016: I went to more live shows than I’ve been to in a long time. I’ve seen so many live shows — Steely Dan, Marshmellow, Diplo, Kevin Gates, Logic, Wiz Khalifa and Snoop. I can’t remember everything I did. I want to go all over the world and attend shows. This past summer, I did that and I did the best music I’ve ever done.
Most frustrating moment of 2016: Missing the first [release] date that we had for The Storm, September 9. That offset the tour and so many things for the tour and for our business that we didn’t meet that date. Everyone knew it was my fault and I don’t like it being my fault, so I was mad as hell and I was hurt too. But, I had to make the perfect Storm.
Most memorable fan interaction of 2016: I found out that Shia Labeouf was a fan. He tried to call me, and I missed it! They sent me a picture of him and the head of my security, and that made me happy to know I had a fan on the level of Shia.
Most unexpected question you were asked in 2016: “Why did you change the paint to a mask on stage?” I thought once Corey Taylor [of Slipknot] hit me to his people who makes their masks on stage, I didn’t think anybody would have a problem, but a lot of fans had a problem even though it made it easier for me. They got used to it, but in the beginning, no, I didn’t expect it.
The song on your new album The Storm that was the most challenging to write was: It has to be “Godspeed” because of the cadence, the style and the lyricism. It was hard to write and record, but I always push myself and that’s why it’s the first song on the record.
The hardest collaboration on The Storm to coordinate was: The Gary Clark Jr. feature called “No Gun Control” because he was on tour. While he was touring, in the 9th inning of my album during the mixing, he was touring in Kansas City and called and said he could do it after he show, and HE DID!
The song on The Storm you would be most excited to play for yourself 20 years ago would be: The song with Jonathan Davis of KoRN, “Starting to Turn.” That would have killed me 20 years ago! It’s gonna kill everybody. It’s timeless.
The biggest difference in your life having two songs certified Gold in one year is: I can tell more people are coming to the shows and it’s their first time at the Tech N9ne shows because of those songs.
The song on The Storm crowds seem to go wildest for is: “Ery’body But Me.” When I do that at the end of the show after “Hood Go Crazy,” the party does not stop.
Album you couldn't stop playing in 2016: Every night was Travis Scott’s Rodeo album. I played the hell out of it. I loved it.
When not making music in 2016, you spent the most time: I was going to other artists’ concerts.
The place in Kansas City you most suggested visitors check out in 2016 was: Gates Bar B.Q. and Jack Stack BBQ. You have to visit both places.
When you first realized your album Everready (The Religion) turned 10 this year, you: said “I’m that old?”
If you were recording Everready (The Religion) today, the biggest difference would be: I wouldn’t have “My Wife, My Bitch, My Girl,” that song would be nonexistent. I would not be saying “and time is running out.” I wouldn’t be talking about my Mom being sick because she’s passed now. It’s a lot of differences because a lot of things I was talking about came to pass.
The biggest misconception people in 2016 still have about Tech N9ne is: I am a member of the Illuminati. [laughs] Only group I’m down with is Anonymous.
In "Erybody But Me," rhyming "selfish / help it / Elvis" and "Hell's pit / Celtic / Pelvis" came about through: I’m a lyricist and I like to flex how well I can rhyme. And if I’m rhyming on the second verse, I want to show I have so many other rhymes with the same set-up. It has to make sense.
When making songs for an album, you know what song is right for the intro when: you start an album with a super elite up-front bang and end with a bang. If they fast-forward past your first song, they probably aren’t going to like the second one.
The sports moment in 2016 that absolutely floored you was: we didn’t win the World Series again. I was ready to go again. I’m not a sports nut either, I just support all of our sports teams.
The biggest difference between Kansas City and the rest of America is: everybody else will try to compete with [their] barbecue, but it does not compare to ours.
The main goals for Tech N9ne to have completed in 2017 by this time next year are: I will not be fat anymore. I lost a lot of weight for The Storm and got down to a medium shirt. I ran into a lot of depression of this last tour and drank my stomach back, but by the time 2017 hits, I want to be on stage with my shirt off in shape again.
See your favorite artists' best and worsts of the year by visiting our 20 Questions page.