Published Sep 15, 2014Tech N9ne has sold over a million records independently, amassed more than 20 different projects and turned his label Strange Music into one of hip-hop's biggest success stories. But the Kansas City rapper says he still has a lot more to do. "I feel like my music is for the whole world," he tells Exclaim!
Currently out on a full-fledged Canadian tour, Tech N9ne explains, "When I went to Barcelona, nobody knew me. I was walking around for five days, me and [labelmate] Krizz Kaliko, nobody spoke to us. Meaning that we haven't done our job there. When I went to Monaco, for four or five days off, nobody knew who we were. We went to clubs, nobody knew us. It fucked me up because I know we have so much to offer."
Tech says his goal is to reach a level where he can play bigger and bigger arenas, appear on the bill at industry award shows like the Grammys, and enjoy more mainstream airplay.
"Award shows, and being on television, will make people be aware of the black guy with the painted face," he says. "They'll come and listen to my strange music. It ain't about just being rich or being mainstream — I'm totally different from all them motherfuckers. I can't change myself for anybody, especially at 42 years old.
"When me and Travis [O'Guin, his label cofounder] set out to do this, we want global domination. We haven't been to Africa, Budapest, China, Japan, Hawaii, Abu Dhabi, Dubai. We've got so many more places to touch. Why stop now? We are thankful for this level, but I can't be complacent. I have so much more to offer."
The scary thing is, he just might do it. In 2013, his single, "Fragile," cracked the Billboard Top 40 in the United States. Helped by a verse from Kendrick Lamar and a hook by singer Kendall Morgan, the song was Tech's biggest hit yet — and proof that there's still plenty of gas left in Strange Music's tank.
While his latest album, the collaborations project Strangeulation, hasn't seen enjoyed the same success as previous records, Tech says he's already begun recording for his next solo record, Special Effects. The album is due out in 2015.
"I only have five songs done," Tech says. "I have to do at least 20 more." Given the length of his albums, that's probably not a joke.
09/15 Vernon, BC - Monashee's Bar & Grill
09/16 Calgary, AB - Marquee Beer Market & Stage
09/17 Red Deer, AB - Memorial Centre Auditorium
09/18 Edmonton, AB - Union Hall Event Centre
09/19 Saskatoon, SK - The Odeon Events Centre
09/19 Winnipeg, MB - Whiskey Dix
09/21 Thunder Bay, ON - Crocks
09/24 London, ON - London Music Hall
09/25 Montreal, QC - Le Petit Olympia
09/26 Toronto, ON - Rockpile West
09/27 Toronto, ON - Rockpile East
09/28 Halifax, NS - Cunard Centre Halifax
09/29 Moncton, NB - The Old Cosmo Complex
09/30 St. John's, NL - Allure on George
10/01 St. John's, NL - Allure on George