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Tech N9ne released his 15th studio album Special Effects last week on Strange Music, the independent label he co-founded back in 1999. NUVO spoke with him via phone before his show Friday at the Old National Centre with Strange Music's latest addition Murs and longtime friend Krizz Kaliko as well as Chris Webby, King 810, and Bulletproof & the Fool.
NUVO: One week since the release of Special Effects, what’s the overall reaction from the hip-hop community and fans?
Tech N9ne: It’s such a wonderful feeling to know that almost every fan feels the same exact way that I knew they would. I said “this will be my best work to date” and everybody agrees — the majority agrees. You can think you’re dope all you want to but when (agreement) happens that means it’s a reality.
For Eminem to agree to do a song with me said, Tech you’re dope. For Corey Taylor of Slipknot to agree to do a song with me said, Tech you’re fucking dope. For Hopsin to do “Psycho Bitch III” with me says, Tech, you’re dope. For Excision to do “Roadkill” with me, Tech, you’re dope. It goes on and on and on. For T.I to do it, for 2 Chainz, Wayne, Yo Gotti and Audio Push. It’s like, WOW, man. All these people agreed and now the fans are agreeing, not because of the features only but the sound of the music, and the content, and the structure, and the artwork, and the coin, and the DVD — everything that comes with it. It’s so wonderful to feel that the majority is saying YES.
NUVO: This album is all over the place, all the features, the different beats, the genres of music, is this your most complete work yet?
Tech: I think so man. I’ve always done it but sometimes to make people get it you have to get the people they listen to. I’ve always done the metal thing in my music, since the beginning. On Anghellic, the first song is called “Tormented," “Riot Maker” in 2006 is rock and metal. It goes on forever. Sometimes for people to get it they have to say “Woah, Corey Taylor’s in a song with Tech N9ne, let me listen to this, maybe he’s the real thing.” DUDE I’VE BEEN THE REAL THING. It just took Corey Taylor for you to even want to listen — that’s beautiful. This body of work is validation from all my peers like “fuck yes Tech”.
NUVO: Special Effects is your 15th studio album, how have you changed from your first album to now?
Tech: Only thing that I can say that’s changed is that I’ve got more crisp with the lyrics, I’m more polished. But it’s the same theme, good and bad, Anghellic, All 6’s and 7’s, E.B.A.H: Evil Brain Angel Heart, “Worldly Angel.” It’s the same theme, I have not changed anything. I haven’t changed my face paint, nor my scrub pants and tops. I’m still same but more polished and more experienced.
NUVO: The long awaited Tech/Em collab has arrived, why’d you choose this album to enlist Eminem on WWC2?
Tech: I just think the time was right man. I tried a million times before to get Eminem on a song but this time the time was right.
NUVO: When it comes to features, does timing play a huge role?
Tech: Yes, artists are the hardest to get because of timing. But the stars aligned on this album. You can’t control that. You can’t just say “I’m going to get these people on this album.” It was hard. It was hard to get the time for everybody to come through before mastering. The Eminem verse came when the album was already two days into mastering. I was on pins and needles. So did the T.I. verse — pins and needles. Corey Taylor — pins and needles. It was the day before he took his group to Europe and he did it, he sent the song. Woah, if he would’ve went to Europe before doing it wouldn’t have went down.
NUVO: Are last minute verses common?
Tech: Not usually. Sometimes yes, but with this caliber of artist, yeah. These are the artists at the top of their game, they’re busy man. It was harder this time. Only thing that didn’t come in was Jay-Z.
NUVO: There was a Jay-Z verse on this album?
Tech: Yeah he was going to do “Give it All,” the one with Audio Push. It was beautiful but he just didn’t have time to do it. Childish Gambino didn’t have time to do it either.
NUVO: What track was Gambino going to be on?
Tech: I was going to put him on the same one as Jay. That’s a mashup: Tech N9ne, Childish Gambino and Jay-Z, WHAT. And guess who was going to sing the chorus first. Lenny Kravitz. That was my idea.
So the next album I’m going to try these guys again. If the music says try these guys that’s what I’ll do. I just can’t put ‘em on anything. Hopefully the next album say Jay-Z.
NUVO: It really sounded like Special Effects was broken down into parts, was that something you were going for?
Tech: Yes man, I had to break it down throughout the week — Sunday to Sunday. As a matter of fact I can’t front, there’s gospel music on my album. We’ve got gospel on here, we’ve got metal on here, we’ve got R&B on here, we’ve got EDM on here, we’ve got hip-hop on here, we’ve got trap on here. We’ve got everything man. WE’VE GOT EVERYTHING. I did this to say man created genres because of culture. Just because you have a certain culture doesn’t mean that you have to stay boxed up in that genre of culture. What I’m trying to say with this album is “fuck all the genres, we can do beautiful music together. We can mix these so-called genres and make beautiful music.” Like me and Krizz Kalico and Excision did “Roadkill” on the EDM side.
Why not get together and make beautiful music no matter what the race, no matter what section you came up in, who’s to say you can’t venture off and explore and make beautiful music. I’m trying to say to the human race “we need each other man, to give each other a leg up."