‘War Is An Ugly Thing, It’s True’: Former Soldier Reflects On ‘The Noose’ [Fan Feature]
The release of Tech N9ne’s latest single, “The Noose”, has sparked much debate from fans all over. Inspired by his interaction with fans who serve in the military, Tech N9ne wrote his verse with their struggles in mind. It is said that the suicide rate within the military has grown over the last few years, and as soldiers everywhere attempt to cope with life in a different world, Tech N9ne looks to speak up for the ones who lost hope.
Keith Karrmann of Brookfield, Massachusetts has come to know the reality of suicide within the military through an unfortunate experience with a fellow soldier. His four years with the US Army took him to places like Germany, Iraq, and Korea. While a 68W Combat Medic, Keith witnessed many of the troubling things that occur during a time of service. Through Tech N9ne’s music, Keith found both inspiration and motivation. Reflecting on Tech’s music, Keith shared how he first came to love the music and what it meant to him:
“I really got into Tech N9ne back in 2004, at the time I was just partying non stop and one of my friends was playing Anghellic and I was instantly hooked. I really felt a connection to a lot of the material in the songs that I heard and the lyrics just really hit me.
Tech N9ne is a huge inspiration. I like to write my own music and poetry when I’m down and the darkness he shows has really brought out some deep and twisted themes in my own mind. After getting out of the military I thought I’d be happy to be home, but so much changed, people aged, things were different. I became depressed for a while, but I’ve learned who my true friends are now, and for the last two months I’ve been hitting the gym hard and blasting Tech tomotivate me while I do it. I just feel the intensity he brings to every track and try to match it with whatever I’m doing while listening to the music.”
During his time serving, Keith found that Tech’s music helped him break free and make his situation just a little better:
“I feel as if Tech N9ne’s music really helped me break out of my shell in a way. I learned to embrace the darkness in life, I remember listening to tracks like ‘Paint A Dark Picture’ and ‘Happy Ending’ over and over. Then I decided i’m just going to be who I am, say the strange stuff I say, and make life what I want it to be. I used to just sit in my barracks in Korea, getting drunk all the time alone, but then I made my way out into the village around there. I had bar owner’s downloading Tech N9ne and bumpin that shit for me all the time. It was awesome, a lot of people who heard it thanked me for introducing them to the music. So it helped me meet people and have a good time at the same time.”
Thinking over the meaning of “The Noose”, Keith opened up about his personal feelings and revealed his firsthand experience with suicide:
“I loved ‘The Noose’ the second I heard it. I actually have an extremely personal story I’m about to share that has a very close connection with this subject matter. On February 6th, 2009 I was sleeping in my tent on FOB Caldwell, Iraq, with about 30 other soldiers and someone came in at 0530 saying they need a medic quick, I ran out barefoot and followed them to another tent about 200 ft away. When I got in they directed me to a bottom bunk four beds in on the left, I opened up the blankets the guy draped down from the top bunk to cover himself the night before. He was lying there so purple I couldn’t tell if he was black or white. He took his riggers belt from his ACU uniform and hung himself from the top bunk, strangling himself to death in his own bed. By the time I arrived he was already in a state of rigormortis and was cold to the touch. There was nothing anyone could do. I had to sit watch over the body for 5 hours until an investigation could take place, I sat in this tent with one other medic, and the dead soldier. I couldn’t help but to think, why did he do this? What could make a man take his own life? We put the soldier in a body bag and had him airlifted out in the late afternoon, it was a horrible day I’ll never forget. War is an ugly thing, it’s true. But, there’s always another way. RIP Christopher Sweet, your death taught me a lot about life.
I really hope soldiers don’t take the song the wrong way, I see it as Tech’s way of showing he respects what we go through and understands that at times we are suffering. A lot of times even the act of war is over, soldiers go through a war in their head for years upon years after the act, and it does seem like some are just ‘waiting for the end.’ His lines ‘for the young soldiers who do exactly what they are told to do, damn, do exactly what they told to do, defend the country and uphold the crew, but give my one and only soul for you.’ That shit rang in my ears, I remember so many times being told to do things I didn’t agree with, but had to do it anyway. I carry some of this shit with me to this day, and that’s why I write music, it helps get my thoughts, regrets, and stress out of my head. I know Tech N9ne is paying respects and I truly feel a deep connection with this track, I hope other soldiers and veterans feel the same way when they hear it.”
While the rest of the world decides where they stand on the message behind “The Noose”, Keith knows exactly what Tech N9ne’s state of mind was going into it. His unique and personal story helps shed light on the lives that are affected by things like war. Keith’s experience is sure to ring true for many of our brave men and women serving within the US Army and other branches of defense. Like many of our fans, Keith was excited to share his story and left us with some lighter closing words:
“I don’t know if you can put a link to my soundclick.com page somewhere in there. I’m not a serious rapper, I just do it for fun with my laptop and $50 mic, but hope to one day be good enough to put some real stuff together I’d like to give a shout out to the two other Technicians who I met while overseas Tim Turner and Kelsey Scott…We almost died when that ‘KC Tea’ song came out. Haha. Thanks again!”
-Victor Sandoval, Assistant Editor Strange Music
Follow Victor on Twitter: @VicMSandoval