LISTEN: ‘It’s Almost Impossible To Do That Shit!’ – Tech N9ne Talks ‘So Dope’
With the Something Else pre-order on iTunes fans got an instant dose of dope to go along with it: the instant download of “So Dope” from Tech N9ne’s much-anticipated album.
We talked to Tech N9ne about “So Dope” and why it’s such an important song from the new album, as it carries on the tradition of intricate rhyme clinics like “Worldwide Choppers” and “Unfair” from past albums. For “So Dope”, Tech N9ne pulled out all the tricks he has up his sleeve, old and new, letting Technicians know that no expectation is too high, and in the process crafted yet another song that begs the question: “How does he do it?”
In our interview with Tech N9ne he reveals just how he does it, why “So Dope” is such an important addition to his catalogue and what to expect from the rest of Something Else.
It seems that every record you drop has at least one song where you’re really showing out. How important is it for you to include a song like that on this record?
It’s very important because I’m Technician Number One and a Technician is a person who loves to listen to music with a technical style of rhyme, so if I do an album and I don’t do no choppin on it, I’m not living up to what I’m supposed to be doing.
In actuality, a lot of fans would love for me to do a whole chopper album. I don’t think that would be good because people do that already. I think that every once in awhile I’ll have two or three or one that will show you that I’m not fucking around, period, because I am Technician Number One so there will always be a chopper track on a Tech N9ne song album, or a Tech N9ne collab or EP or whatever – a song that resembles chopping, because that’s a part of my style so it’s going to come in and out .
It’s very important to have that because the fans know that’s what they’re here for. They’ve been here since the ’90s. The first big thing I had was Gang Related Soundtrack, the 2Pac movie, Jim Belushi and the song I had on there was “Whyyyyy…” (raps “Questions”). People heard me chopping from the beginning, since they first heard me. I’m not speaking of the people in Kansas City because they knew me way before ’98, that I was a chopper. Gang Related was what they first heard so that’s what a lot of people expect me to do and so it’s important that I have one to show people that “You ain’t fucking with me!” Just going cuckoo. (Raps “So Dope”). You know what I’m saying? Just fucking killing it. I can hardly say it right now because it’s so fucking intricate. I have to let people know that after all these years i still got it and it ain’t going nowhere, so that’s why it’s so important to have “So Dope” on this motherfucker and to bring all the people that I brought on it because they’re equally dope to me.
I know from talking to you many times in the past and from listening to a lot of your interviews that the writing part is very difficult for a song like this. How does it feel when you pull it off and listen to the finished track on songs like this?
Man…(laughs)…writing it is a bitch because my brain won’t let me not rhyme. My brain always challenges me so if I start off saying “Wanna sit beside a sick and seductive sinner, see” my brian goes “Keep going with the s’s.” “Somethin so sinister, sick as succus, I’m like a centipede.” Even though “centipede” starts with a c but it’s an “s” sound. Then I could’ve stopped right there and it’s like “No, keep going.” “Slitherin, she’s searchin for synergy, sucking my seed, chakra tease thick as sippin Hennessy, shittin’!”
You know what I’m saying? That first four bars is like all s’s. My brain does that to me. It’s hard to actually connect like that and really rap in between the beats like that. That’s one of the tricks I have. When the beat drops “Boom!” I start after the [one beat]. That’s one of my techniques. A lot of people go right on the one like (imitates typical chopper flow) but mine is “‘Boom!’ Wanna sit beside a sick and seductive sinner, see…” I’m inside the beat and I make it seem like it’s faster. I’m all between the beats after the one. A lot of times I start after the one because I don’t want to interfere with the chorus and I stop before the one, before the chorus comes in, because I don’t like to overlap. A lot of people like to overlap in lyrics, but I like a motherfucker to hear what I’m saying.
My shit is going to be in between the beats “Wanna sit beside a sick and seductive sinner, see.” Everything is going up like “Baka baka baka baka” instead of “bada bada bada bada bada”. I can do that shit too but I mix it up. I’m usually in between the beats you know what I mean? My brain won’t let me not be intricate when I do that shit. “I wanna bust, K.O.D. put em in Necropolis / Givin’ this rod to the good broads, and they givin they bras to us / With the gift to break up a couple that’s monogamous / Stop with the props and take off your effin draws, bitch and rock with us.” And so I’m like “Okay, that’s where I’m going stop right there,” but then it keeps going “Been gitty cause them titties, are on my chin-chinny / Chin, did he pretend he was a gin kitty? / Suckin the crème de la crème and the skin pretty / Dim liddy, then hittin the trim in Sin City / Let it in, I’m the medicine, get her wetter than ever been / Never better than a veteran, better than….” Just fucking going insane with rhyming and still going fast just lets you know that my skill is not rusty you motherfuckers.
As painful as that is, once you have it done do you impress yourself and ask “How in the hell did I just do that?”
Yes! I jump for joy! We have it on DVD, on the DVD that comes with the Deluxe Version. It’s got me recording it and you see me rapping and you see me fucking up, trying to get it perfect, because I’m all about getting it perfect. A lot of motherfuckers think it’s all about saying it right the first time and all the way through when you’re in the studio. In this studio it’s all about having it perfect for the fans to hear, and then you practice that shit and perform that shit live and let them know you can do it, just like I do “Worldwide Choppers” and “Midwest Choppers 2″ and “Midwest Choppers” one. It’s me on there like fucking up words because it’s all about getting it perfect but when I get it in the studio, jumping for joy, laughing like “It’s going to be dope!” because it’s almost impossible to do that shit! So when I actually get it out, when I’m writing it I’m like, before I get in the booth I’m like “Man I hope I can do this. I hope my tongue and my mouth can do this.” The longer I keep rapping the more intricate my shit gets. When you listen to “He’s A Mental Giant” it’s way different than all the other shit I’ve been doing over the years or when you listen to (raps the super-fast part of “Unfair”) in “Unfair” it’s like “Ooooh!” It’s just getting way more intricate man.
When I do it and it comes through I jump for joy because I know the fans are going to have a ball trying to cypher that shit and record themselves on YouTube doing it like what Nina Bianca does. To see a girl redo your shit and get it pretty tight, you can tell she studied it and I love to see that. If they study that it means they hear what I’m saying and they’re really enjoying what I’m saying and enjoying my artistry.
This song is going to be available when people pre-order on iTunes, they’re going to get it right away. It seems that this song in particular was chosen for your fans to enjoy. Why was it important for them to get this song rather than the rest of them?
Man, I hate to spoil the albums. If I had it my way I wouldn’t give too many songs away before the album comes out because I like for them to ingest the album all at once, but it’s important for them to get the very best, that they pre-order it while I hold back the very best, so that everything I let loose are some of the very best. The whole album is the very best so it’s hard to say, but that one right there, that was hard for me to give away early, but I know important it is for the fans to be excited about the album. They’ve been asking for it a long time, they really want to hear it, they don’t want to wait until July 30, so I said “Fuck it.” Me and Travis agreed that we’d let iTunes have it. That’s a big one to have.
This song specifically, for the fans who are expecting that technical style of rhyme, they know they’re going to get it.
Oh yeah they know they’re going to get it and when they hear the rest of the people on there – I let them hear my verse already. I leaked my verse and my verse alone got them buzzing like “Oh shit. How does he keep doing it?” I’m going to keep doing it motherfucker, and the people that I selected to do it…some of the people I suggested to do it, they didn’t work. I had to go another route because when you listen to that beat, there’s no hi-hat to keep you on beat. You have to rap in between that shit. You have to be the hi-hat. That’s hard to do man and the people that I chose did it and they did it well.
People, including myself, would hear some of the guest features that you threw down this year and wonder “Is he going to have any leftover for his own album?” Where do you find the inspiration to keep coming up with new flows? I assume you would respond with “With every beat, there’s a new flow.”
Yeah, but the thing is I’m still competitive. I know that if I drop something it has to be better than the last. I’m a hip hop fan so by the grace of God I still have that youngster within me. I still have that youngster within me and I’m going to keep getting younger with the flow. I’m out-rapping a lot of motherfuckers man. I know that it don’t matter in a lot of places but me, I’m a show out, so every time I go out you know I gotta show out. Everytime I come out on a track you know I have to show out. That youngster is always going to be within me, that competitive youngster. Thank the lord that my shit don’t sound old school (laughs).
Do you think that you’re going to be better a year from now than you are today?
Yes, because I’m learning new shit every day. Yes. Theres’s so much I have to learn. I’m still like a little kid in the head sometimes. There’s a little boy within me and I’m finding out more things and I’m growing up and I still have the knowledge and I still have my sex drive like a motherfucker so I’m always going to be that guy. When they see my ID when I’m cchecking out to buy liquor I’m like “Thank you, that’s flattering.” And they’re like “What? 41?” and I’m like “Yeah bitch.” Dracula motherfucker. Younger by the day. I’ll be 45 looking like 25. Sheeit…and I’m goin to flow too. Yeah, I’m tired one day and the next day I’m not, but it’s like I’m going to keep on getting better.
I’ve got all these dope motherfuckers around me, like CES Cru, Rittz, Mayday, Stevie Stone, Krizz Kaliko, Kutt Calhoun…all these motherfuckers. You’ve got hard ass Big Scoob to keep you grounded, like “Nuh uh, that’s bullshit. That’s fake shit.” Big Scoob will keep you grounded. He’ll tell you “Naw that ain’t good.” He hit me up the other day and he’s like “Back in the day when you turned your head red so a nigga was calling you Eve, now I see this new album cover, now you look like the queen…queen!” (Laughs) I said “Fuck you nigga, that’s a fiery crown!” My OG done always tell me what he thinks. I love that nigga for that. Whenever it’s weird or unusual, Scooby going to bring you back down to Earth. That’s why songs like “With The Bullshit” on my album, with Trae The Truth, Red Cafe and Big Scoob, because that’s a part of me also, that gangsta shit, and my OG is always going to make sure that I’m well-rounded.
I’m going to keep getting better because I got good people around me, good and talented people around me and I’m going to keep it that way. Angel Davanport is 22 years old, rapping like a motherfucker. Yeah, I’m trying to put myself around that motherfucker. I’m trying to have that talent around me on my label – fuck yeah I’m trying to, because that’s the new shit! Female rapper just shredding bitches. That’s what I need, I’m trying to inhale that shit, like stay young on them, because if you keep it young, your song is always sung.
Do you think you can hang with any emcee in the game?
Fuck yeah I do. I’ve done it on a lot of songs and I really feel like I do. I’m stil trying to peep Immortal Technique’s shit. He’s uber-smart and I’m a fucking space cadet a lot so once I do a song with Immortal Technique and it’s a wonderful one I’ll feel like I accomplished something. I’m about to do one with (rap group) right now. That makes me feel good that they want me on a song, meaning we got something in common there. Immortal Technique: I’m listening to a lot of his music lately, I see what he’s on and I’m doing that to see what we can do together because his shit is ultra-political and I don’t really talk about politics because it starts fights and shit. You know, whether OJ did it or not or 2Pac is dead or not. Some things I don’t talk about and I keep to myself but maybe I have to let that old Tech N9ne come out, that old revolutionary Tech N9ne come out to do something with Immortal Technique – but I really do put myself with some of the best MCs, because I’m one of them.
Everybody can’t rap alongside Chino XL, everybody can’t rap alongside Crooked I or Royce Da 5’9 or Joe Budden or Joell Ortiz. Everybody can’t rap alongside Eminem. Everybody can’t rap alongside KRS One but I did all those things. Everybody can’t rap alongside of Andre 3000. What?! Have I done that?
Yeah and you pulled it off too! There’s a lot of people who said that he had to keep up with you too. That track’s awesome because it’s not necessarily one person killing it over another, but two different styles.
Yeah, he did his thug thizzle on there. I just did a different style, that’s all. I did my midwest flow and I rhyme like a motherfucker. When I did that song I had no idea that three stacks was going to be on it. Andre’s spot is forever reserved, just like Eminem’s, just like mine. So when you put us together…you know people try to put me up against everybody but I’m with everybody, so don’t put me up against them. I’m not a weapon against them, I’m their weapon, you know, also in their mind.
The guests on “So Dope”, why did you pick these particular guests?
I didn’t start with these people who ended up being it. I fed to some people and some people, it didn’t work and I reached out to these other people and it worked.
What are some qualities that you were looking for in terms of the people on this track?
You have to be able stay on beat in between the beats that don’t have a hi-hat or anything to really keep you on beat, and it’s hard to do. That’s my major criteria. If it’s not on beat I can’t use it. Rhythm is my main thing. If something’s off beat my body will feel funny, like my equilibrium’s off. I can feel it – the slightest thing off beat.
Can you give a quick word about Something Else and why people should cop it?
I can’t…stop…listening to it. I can’t stop listening to it. Like, after I get off this phone I’m supposed to be writing for the studio but I can’t stop listening to it and I want to listen to it again. It’s fucking incredible to be able to do all these albums over the years and rap about everything and all of the sudden you say you have Something Else, it’s the most cockiest thing I’ve ever heard. You’ve got something else? Bullshit, it’s supposed to be the same old shit. Same Old Shit Tech, should’ve called it that…no, not this album.
This…is truly Something Else. I say stuff that I’ve never said before on certain songs that I have to put an apology at the end of a song “I’m Not A Saint”. It’s fucking massive man. I had to make it better than All 6′s and 7′s and I did. That’s an amazing feat and you’ve got haters out there that say they hate All 6′s and 7′s and never liked it, yeah they must be stuck in a fucking time warp – and to each their own. It doesn’t even need to be called hate. If they don’t like something, if they like a certain style, they might like K.O.D. better. The K.O.D. element is going to be in all my music except The Gates Mixed Plate because I was running from my darkness and if you the Tech N9ne story you know after K.O.D. I was running from my darkness and then I accepted it back with Seepage.
This whole journey has been a battle within with good and evil and here we are again with E.B.A.H., the face of good and evil, you know what I’m saying? I let them see it “BOOM! This is E.B.A.H. right here. This is the person that has been around forever but I just found a face for it. This is what it looks like in my dream and it’s my face with my head on fire but it’s a king’s crown because I’ve always been a king. But such evil thoughts in my head, if Iet them all out I’ll hurt everybody’s feelings.” Evil brain. Angel heart? I’ll do anything for anybody. I’ll give you my last penny. Angel heart, do anything. So this is the face of E.B.A.H., so I let them see it and I gave it to them in three levels again: Fire, Water and Earth. I had so many songs that I had to take some off. Not too many songs on Water because it’s missing like three songs. The album was too long to fit on a CD, as usual for Tech N9ne, but it’s a fucking wonderful album. I’m not just saying it. Everybody that hears it say they get chills.
The first song and the last song mean so much to me because I got to work with people I came up listening to. The first song and the last song. It opens with bang and ends with a motherfucking bang. The alpha and omega on this album are people that I adore musically and still do to this day and I was blessed enough to work with them on this album. And the people in between? Oh my goodness. You never would’ve thunk it! The people who came through came through and fucked with me in Strangeland on this album. It’s a fucking rollercoaster ride man but it’s a bigger rollercoaster. It’s not Worlds of Fun it’s Cedar Point with all the roller coasters. The biggest roller coaster ever. This would be my Cedar Point of an album. Sandusky, Ohio motherfucker.
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- What do you think about “So Dope”?
- Which song do you think has Tech N9ne at his most intricate?
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