Tech N9ne: The Killer

Tech N9ne is nothing like your typical rapper; he doesn't need big name producers or an outsized budget to generate sales. His new double-disc album Killer is on deck, and it's generating momentum toward his millionth album sold independently. There is also a thirty-city Strange Noize tour about to take life, as well as his Strange Music record label to man. But Tech isn't sweating all the responsibility, this is what he does. Kansas City's finest pumps the brakes to give the details on creating Killer, selling a million copies, the M.J. swag on the album cover and the whispers of retirement swirling Why did you decide to mock Michael Jackson's Thriller album cover for Killer?Tech N9ne: The imagery behind Killer man, what I was trying to say is that when you think of Michael Jackson, not his personal life per-se because I ain't with that [laughs], but when you think of Thriller you think of 50 million sold, 100 million worldwide. That's the highest selling pop album. So what I was trying to say is [with] Killer, this would be my highest selling rap album. All Killer, no filler, I just had to pay homage to a veteran in the game, Michael You been in the game for a while now and this is your first double disc album, was it a marketing strategy or did you have a lot of music you wanted your fans to hear?Tech N9ne: I don't write meaningless s**t, so it's like if I got 32 tracks that means I been doing a lot of living, I have a lot to talk about. What happened was I had 19 beats slated for this album, when I got through writing [to] those 19, Travis O'Guin, my partner, just kept feeding me beats. I said, “Ok, keep feeding me beats.” After I did 25 I'm like, “Ok, is it too late to do a double album?” He said, “Nope,” so I kept going man. He kept feeding me beats that were hardcore, what can I do, so a double album came in a month’s time, [it ’s] Who were some of the producers that you worked with on the album?Tech N9ne: When I first set out to do this album, the guy that gave me the first beat helped me set the stage for the rest of the album. Nobody knows him but he's brand new , he from Iowa and his name is Young Fyre. He gave me "Wheaties," the track with Shawnna. When I heard that I said that's the caliber of beat that I need for this album, so that it can kick the album off for real. The second beat I heard was from a cat name Wysh Master, he did stuff for Nelly, Chingy, he is part of that big St. Louis movement. He gave me "Pillow Talk" with Scarface, those two cats kept sending me tracks so I can get that sound. My boy Seven out of Wichita, Kansas, he's been with us for years. These are all new producers in y’all eyes; these beats are heat so this is wonderful. This cat by the name of Aaron B gave me "Too Much" it sounds like something out of 300. We do a lot of our stuff over the Internet like people just send us beats and if they happen to be wonderful, we'll use them. This brand new cat by the name of Matic Lee out of Atlanta, he did "One Good Time" on the second disc and he did "Sh*t is Real" for me. He came through a cat named David Sanders, who did "Beat You Up." Robert Rebeck came through; just wonderful producers coming together to make heat. Was there a specific sound that you wanted for the album?Tech N9ne: I wanted big beats, you can’t send Scarface some Casio beat it doesn't matter what you are paying him, if he don't feel it he won't do it. In the studio [Scarface] wrote it right in front of me, you know why? Because he felt it. When I set out to do this album, if I'm going to be mocking anything Michael Jackson, the status of his music was top-notch at that time. You know what I'm saying? This album can be your millionth album sold independently, that will make you the first recording artist to do so. Has it dawned on you yet?Tech N9ne: [laughs] I don't think it hit me man. We [were] grinding so hard, we were pushing since day one, since the end of '98. We just been pushing Strange Music. Now, it's getting to the point we [are] to a million albums sold it's like…I don't think it hit me yet. I feel [that] we have so [much] more work to do. So much more people need to hear Tech N9ne. But that's a beautiful accomplishment. Me and Travis do the work quickly, we do the work and keep moving. I always say we hear the echoes of our work. It's like constantly going , now when you say it “It's a million albums sold.” And it's a wonderful feeling when you think about You have toured a great deal of your career. What are your thoughts on other recording artist getting huge touring deals?Tech n9ne: If your smart, you know that [touring] wins fans. You shaking hands and kissing babies. Touring is politics; you got to touch the people, I did my first show in San Diego years ago and there were seven people in the crowd. But we rocked it like there was seven-thousand, so now when we go to the House of Blues it's sold out. That's because we are out there touching the people…that's what we There has also been some news of you contemplating retirement. Where do you stand on the idea of retiring?Tech N9ne: I truly feel like that but I can't do that now. In a perfect world Killer would be my last rap album, but its not a perfect world. I still have plateaus I haven't reached…I can sit back with Travis [O'Guin] and just be an [executive] but I have Hip-Hop in my bones. I been here since the start, so of course on this album there is an attitude, [I have a] chip on my shoulder, like f**k this, they're not getting What do you have planned for Strange Music?Tech N9ne: After this strange Noize tour, we have a month off. After that we have the Strictly Strange tour, which is everybody on Strange Music [and] it keeps It seems as if you are enjoying the moment.Tech N9ne: I been waiting for people acknowledge beautiful music coming from me. Everywhere I go there is such a warm f**king feeling. For a minute I lost my Black folks because of my imagery in 2001, because of my album Angelic. My people thought I was a devil worshiper, so they abandoned me. So I made my people my mission after a while… I told them that they were missing greatness, I'm not saying greatness because it’s me, it's a proven fact. There is nobody like me.