Painting pictures with music

Kansas City-based rapper Tech N9ne to perform Nov. 29

Posted: Thursday, November 26, 2009

Tech N9ne has been blasting a barrage of lethal lyrics through sound systems for more than two decades in the hip-hop game.

Courtesy Of Tech N9ne
Courtesy Of Tech N9ne

The Kansas City-based rapper is returning to the Last Frontier to wrap up the last leg of his K.O.D. Tour - named after his latest album that dropped Oct. 26 - and is scheduled to perform in Juneau for the first time of his career. The show begins at 8 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 29 at Marlintini's Lounge. Tickets cost $25 in advance or $30 at the door.

The show will also feature fellow Strange Music label alums Krizz Kaliko and Kutt Calhoun, as well as local acts DJ Judo andBy-Polar.

The Juneau Empire caught up with Tech N9ne via phone from Kansas City the day before Thanksgiving to discuss the state of hip-hop, his writing techniques, Jim Morrison and breaking into the rap game.

For someone that might not be familiar with your music, how would you describe it to them?

My music, it's schizophrenic. It changes, man. It's like an insane rollercoaster ride, but it's interesting, you know what I'm sayin'? Because I write my life - as it progresses, as it stays the same, as it gets worse. It's just real life, but it's schizophrenic because it changes so much and that's what keeps it interesting.

How do you think that the hip-hop scene has evolved over the years and where do you see it going in the future?

Well, I really can't predict what's gonna happen in hip-hop because the consumers are so fickle, you know what I'm sayin'? You never know what they want from one day to the next. You know what I mean? The state of it right now, I think, is wonderful because it is allowing young people of all colors and creeds to get up out of poverty doing something positive like music. When I look up and see Soulja Boy doin' it or Hurricane Chris and you still see Jay Z, 50 Cent and Eminem doin' it, you know, there's money out there for all of us, man. It's a wonderful thing that people can do something positive and build other things with music. If I had to predict, I think Tech N9ne will be the last one standing (he said laughing).

So do you think it's easier for someone to get into the hip-hop game now, or do you think it's more difficult with all the advanced technologies?

It's more difficult now to even make money that way. It's way difficult, especially if you're not up on technology, you know what I'm sayin'? A lot of people now are having a hard time selling albums. I would say the climate is bad right now, but you just have to know how to survive, man.

How would you describe a Tech N9ne show?

Loud, wild, family fun.

Do you freestyle as well as write verses? Do you prefer one over the other? Or do you like to mix it up?

I write my life. I never was a freestyle cat, you know what I'm sayin'? I used to be on the wake up show bustin' rhymes like crazy. I never was a freestyle cat. Some guys can do that wonderfully, but I write songs. I write music. I am Tech Van Gogh. I paint pictures with music.

What do you prefer to write about? You said your life, but what's the ideal subject that you like to tackle?

I go out there and I have something happen to me man, you know what I'm sayin'? That's why I don't believe in writer's block. If you believe in writer's block what you do to cure it is to read something or go out there and live. So I write my life, like whatever happens in it. If I'm dealing with a psycho (expletive deleted) at the time I'll write about what she did. If I talk about how I was bored and actually fell into a fraternity party and all the sorority girls where there, you know I'm gonna rap about that and what we drank. If I'm sad cause I don't get to see my kids as much as I want to cause I'm always busy on the road, I'm gonna write about that, like how I want to cry because I miss my children. Life is my inspiration.

If you could tell your fans up here in Juneau and Alaska one thing, what would you most want them to know?

I want them to know that they have to celebrate life because you never know when you're gonna go, you know what I mean? People are tryin' to blow this world up over money. Just like Jim Morrison of the Doors said, 'I know one thing, man, I'm gonna have my kicks before the whole (expletive deleted) house goes up in flames.' So I would tell everybody to celebrate life, tell the people you love you love 'em, and enjoy it if you can.

• Contact reporter Eric Morrison at523-2269 or

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