INTERVIEW: TECH N9NE TALKS TOURING, PLANET AND SOBRIETY

Tech N9ne is one of the gutsiest trailblazers of the hip hop industry to date and on the back of his twentieth studio album Planet, he is still a force to be reckoned with.

Delivering intricate rhymes with breakneck speed, Tech N9ne has made his own way, all the way.

And now the Hip-hop Powerhouse is coming back to Australia performing in Adelaide on Saturday September 15 at Fowler’s Live supported by Krizz Kalico.

We had the opportunity to speak with Tech N9ne as he relaxed at home in Kansas ahead of his upcoming tour.

It’s hard to imagine that such an iconic powerhouse felt deflated after the release of his 2016 three -part album, The Storm.

Thankfully though, the storm has passed and Tech N9ne’s lasts album Planet is just what this world needed.

Planet dropped in March this year and the reception has been a wave of relief for Tech N9ne.

Surprisingly everybody loved it! I was kind of afraid at first, because with my last album my fans were like ‘yeah… okay’ so this one everybody said ‘YES! This is what I need!’ and I was like ‘okay’ so I’m happy with the reception across the board,” he says.

It’s been almost twelve months since Tech N9ne did the Australian and New Zealand circuit, performing to packed venues and adoring fans.

With the New Zealand leg of his upcoming tour sold out, the Kiwi’s may well be lining up to cross the ditch to snatch up the last tickets here in Oz.

Despite forging his own way through a cut throat industry, Tech N9ne has always managed to hold his own amongst the big names.

In 2014, Forbes listed him one of their ‘Hip Hop Cash Kings’, then in 2015 Forbes again listed Tech N9ne amongst the world’s highest paid hip hops acts.

However, regardless of the lucrative music empire he has built for himself, the rapper can still be found giving back to those who can appreciate his humble beginnings.

During his last tour in 2017, Tech N9ne took time out with some of his youngest fans.

“I went to some schools for Aboriginal kids, music school for kids. They showed me some of their rap music. There were a lot of wonderful fans, that’s why I’m coming back,” he says.

After almost thirty-four years of producing music with the likes of Eninem, Andre 3000, Lil Wayne, Ice Cube and Kenrick Lamar, it’s not only hip hop artists on Tech N9ne’s radar for future collaborations.

“Yeah man! Actually 21 Pilots fall into the hip hop genre because Tyler Joseph raps, but they are such a wonderful group. I would love to work with 21 Pilots. I’d love to work with Imagine Dragons. I’d love to work with Lana Del Ray. I’d love to do a song with Lauren Hill, Metallica, James Hetfield, Trent Reznor… ah man, the list goes on. Billy Joel, Elton John, people that I adore the music of,” he says.

It’s perhaps Tech N9ne’s eclectic taste in music that sets him apart, ensuring his longevity, which he attributes to the sounds he grew up with.

“The house was always filled with Christian gospel music, not rap. And I heard the rap next door, of the neighbours next door and I would later grow to love rap music,” he says.

Whilst most parents were trying to steer their children away from hip hop, Tech N9ne’s mother gently guided him towards it.

In fact, the self-confessed ‘mamma’s boy’ had his mother’s blessing when he showed an interest in rapping.

“She didn’t care, man, she just wanted me to be happy she wanted me to do it for Christ and that’s about it,” he says.

Being renowned for giving the proverbial finger to mainstream music machines Tech N9ne draws upon his fans for strength.

“My determination comes from people that cared to listen in the beginning and then care to listen today. They motivate me to keep impressing them lyrically, musically, period! The people that agree that Tech N9ne is the truth are my motivation. My children have always motivated me, life motivates me to write about it. So all those things in life,” he says. 

With an ability to document his life’s journey through music with humility that connects his fan base, at almost fifty years old, Tech N9ne has no intention of hanging up the microphone just yet.

“I’ve been in it for three decades, 34 years, man I’ve been doing this, making music. I told my fans that in four years I’ll be fifty and I might have to slow down, but I don’t see any sign of me slowing down, so I don’t know, I’m just going,” he laughs.

With the Australian leg of his tour kicking off in Melbourne, touring has certainly changed for the man who once admitted to taking fifteen ecstasy tablets in one night.

“Yeah twenty years ago I was almost about to die on drugs,” he laughs. “I’ve been clean for fourteen years or more… I stopped counting after ten.” 

It was this self-destructive lifestyle that cost Tech N9ne his marriage and almost his life, but those days are over and he is living for the music.

“After a gig now, it looks nothing like it used to, like a party! Now I stay solitary by myself; make sure I have a voice for the next night. Back then I didn’t care; party all night! It’s different now. But I like it because it’s not self-destructive,” he says. 

Regardless of his new subdued lifestyle, he will continue to deliver in the studio and on stage.

You can catch Tech N9ne and long-time partner in rhyme Krizz Kaliko at Fowlers Live on September 15 with tickets through Moshtix.

By Katrina Hall

 

 

 

 

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