Brotha Lynch Hung
Wiley F.L.E.W. ft. MONSTA
The Kansas City rap king has sold more than 500,000 albums independently, performed in front of more than half a million people in the last three years and established himself as one of underground rap’s most respected artists. With the impending release of his third national album, the monumental Everready (The Religion), Tech N9ne is poised to graduate from one of rap’s best-kept secrets to a major international superstar.
After experiencing a number of professional setbacks while promoting his critically acclaimed Anghellic and Absolute Power albums, Tech N9ne felt that Everready (The Religion) was an affirmation of his staying power. “I wanted to name it Everready because if you look at the old Eveready batteries, their logo included nine lives,” Tech explains. “That album title symbolizes nine lives, another life after death. I’ve had a lot of deaths in the music industry and there’s still life after all that. The Religion, the reason I subtitled it that is because I want this album to be something that’s being studied or praised. It’s like calling it a doctrine.”
Such a mandate is a natural conclusion after listening to Everready (The Religion). The album teams with blockbuster songs and stellar production. “Jellysickle,” for instance, features Bay Area rap legend E-40 and a thumping, addictive club-ready beat from superproducer Rick Rock (Jay-Z, Fabolous). Despite the track’s freshness, it made Tech N9ne think back to his early material.
“It reminded me of an old Tech N9ne, like ‘Mitch Bade,'” he reveals. “It’s like a 2006 ‘Mitch Bade,’ so I had to talk about the same thing: jealous people, stupid people. Kansas City is a place where hatred is at an all-time high. I thought it would capture that persona of the ghetto.”
As Tech N9ne has emerged as one of rap’s most innovative, creatively fearless artists, there has been a segment of his fans who feel that he’s abandoned his hardcore background. Tech addresses the situation on the aggressive yet elegantly produced “Come Gangsta.” “After all these years of people telling me that my music was for white people, that I needed to come with gangster stuff,” Tech says. “Music is supposed to inspire and evolve. Andre 3000 isn’t still doing ‘Player’s Ball.’ He evolved. That was always on my mind, that people were always telling me to come gangster. When it comes to it, my one gangster song can demolish their whole CD. I was inspired to write about the type of people that were telling me to come gangster.”
Tech N9ne delivers more high-energy heat on “Welcome To The Midwest” with Big Krizz Kaliko. He continues his harder edge on the macabre “My World,” with Brotha Lynch Hung, and the warped “In My Head.” On these two tunes he raps about mad and sad topics, things that pain him. He expresses a similar sentiment on “The Rain,” a touching ode to his wife and children. Much like Tech N9ne’s classic “This Ring,” “The Rain” features Tech N9ne giving his fans an intimate look into his life and his career, a look made all the more personal because the song features his two daughters rapping about how much they miss their father.
“Any man with a kid that’s on the road a lot can relate to that, whether you’re a musician, a doctor, a director,” Tech explains. “A lot of people are not to be there for their family in the flesh, and they’re hurting because they miss their loved ones.”
People of all backgrounds can also relate to friction in their relationships. Tech N9ne conceptualized the riveting “My Wife, My Bitch, My Girl” during a low point in his marriage. “At the time I wrote that song, me and my wife were doing really bad,” he reveals. “I wrote that song in my bitter stage, when I was saying whatever I wanted to say. ‘(My wife) don’t like me/(My bitch) gets hyphy/(My girl) might knife me twice just to spite me.’ That’s how I had the balls to write it. I didn’t care anymore. I just wanted to release it.”
Tech N9ne then talks about his breast fetish on the sinister “Flash” and about his crew’s road adventures on the heavy “Groupie.” But touring hasn’t been all fun and games for Tech N9ne. On the rock-influenced “Riot Maker,” he details some of the problems he’s had while trying to perform for his fans. “At the time, we were going through a lot of things,” Tech says. “I wasn’t able to go to Hawaii because the promoters said my music incites riots. At the same time, this girl was trying to sue me for $100,000 for cracking her own skull at my show and I wasn’t even in the building yet.”
An explosive recording artist, Tech N9ne has long earned praise from his fans because of his ability to deliver mind-blowing raps about his struggle to navigate through life’s pitfalls. His willingness to shed his ego and allow his followers to look at the high and low points of his experience has earned Tech N9ne a rabid, dedicated following.
“A lot of people when they come up to me, they say, ‘The reason why I like you Tech is that you say what you feel and you’re not afraid to say anything,'” Tech says. “That’s so tight because so many use discretion. I think I’ve inspired people to say what they feel because I’ve opened my life up for people to see.”
With such powerful music, it should come as no surprise that Tech N9ne’s reach continues expanding. Several of his songs are featured in the forthcoming Alpha Dog film, which stars Justin Timberlake and Sharon Stone. His music also appears on the latest edition of the fan favorite Madden NFL video game series, as well as the action video game 25 to Life. He also appears as a playable character on the latter.
But for now, it is all about indoctrinating his fans to Everready (The Religion). “This is Anghellic, Absolute Power combined,” Tech says. “If I could have titled this album One Big Clusterfuck, I would have because I think it has everything. It has the personal stuff Anghellic had or the party stuff that Absolute Power had. I think this is my best work.” Believe it.