Where: The Blue Note
When: June 27 (Tomorrow!), doors at 7:30 p.m., show at 8 p.m.
Ticket Cost: $25 (You can buy tickets here).
Openers: Freddie Gibbs, Krizz Kaliko, Jarren Benton, Psych Ward Druggies, OpiUm, Nic Danger
It’s kind of pathetic, I admit, but being a huge hip-hop fan from Missouri that hasn’t ever really gotten into Tech N9ne is pretty unacceptable. Tech’s been mowin’ down the indie rap game since 1999. When Tech started out, I was 12-year-old puberty-ridden kid at the time listening to a friend’s copy of The Marshall Mather’s LP in the back of the church bus. Which became ironic this morning when I came across this awesome collab between the likes of RZA from The Wu-Tang Clan, Xzibit, Eminem, Tech… so about everybody that was relevant to late ‘90s hip-hop. It’s done in that awesome Wu-Tang Killer Bees-style.
Much like my post before this about Edward Sharpe, I didn’t necessarily feel up to writing about Tech. My former posts on Schoolboy, Yelawolf, and Danny Brown I felt more knowledgable about. But I swim in hip-hop like the white wannabe Beastie Boy that I am, so I definitely felt like I could prod out Tech’s place in the culture.
Tech mows down Tha Carter IV:
Before checking out Tech N9ne in-depth, I was a somewhat overwhelmed. With 14 albums in the can, it’s kind of like starting out with Dylan’s self-titled first album and listening straight through to Tempest. (Still working on that, honestly. I’m lost somewhere in the late ‘70s). Plus, I was always just a little put off by the whole facepaint/crazy hair thing. But Tech told me kindly to fuck off in “Come Gangsta,” so it’s not like he’s not self-aware about it. I’d always thought of Tech N9ne as a local K.C. combination of Twista and the Insane Clown Posse. Although Danny Brown did redeem the latter for me a tad with a crazy ass orgy story from The Gathering.
In a lot of ways, I wasn’t far off. Perusing a list of Tech’s favorite albums, Slipknot is on there. Now, I was always under the impression that the only people who listened to Slipknot were the hillbilly kids from back home that needed some good 4-wheelin’ music to trod off into the woods and snort Vicodin to, but it appears their fanbase is broader than I originally thought—extending even into the wide world of hip-hop.
“I love Slipknot.” said Tech. “When I first saw them, I was like, ‘Wow! More psycho motherfuckers like myself!’ I loved it.” Once again, dude knows he’s a bit crazy. And he prides himself on it. For a wannabe hipster douchebag like myself, it was initially a little off-putting. I can’t see Tech and The Postal Service recording a duo album in Seattle anytime soon. But in other ways, I was totally off. This video is a tear-jerker, where Tech questions whether the God he’s praying to for his sick mother is even up there. It starts off with a sobering revelation.
Once I started going through XXL’s list of Tech N9ne’s 30 Most Essential Songs, like most everyone I’ve ever actually invested time into understanding, Tech started to win me over. This isn’t Pitchfork, so I can say nice things like that. I also made a Spotify playlist for y’all so you don’t have to. They were missing a couple (“The Anthem” above seemed to be the main one), but you’ll definitely get the idea.
Here’s a few of my other favorites I came across:
1. “I’m a Playa” (from 2002’s Absolute Power)
I never knew Tech did this shit! The chorus is cemented in the American pop-culture consciousness, but the verses are filled with some quality advice about how to cheat on your lady friend and keep her more in the dark about it than Stan’s girlfriend is in the trunk. (Damn, that’s dark, Tyler. Oh well, this is a Tech N9ne article).
2. “The Rain” (from 2006’s Everready)
This is real, from the heart shit. His kids rap to him, and they do a pretty damn good job.
3. “This is Me” (also from 2006’s Everready)
“I love Kanye, his shit is bombay, but I’m rough.” I just found this interesting. I never thought I’d hear Tech rap about Ye. Love or hate Ye (I understand both), he remains the epicenter of pop culture. Rappers seem to judge their place in the game by his gravity, like Neptune, Mars, and Jupiter shouting out to the Sun.
4. “The Worst” (from the album of the same name)
This track could’ve been on The Chronic. It sounds like a Dre beat. Makes sense after I read that Tech’s a big Parliament fan. Great jam. XXL called it the best song of his early career.
5. “Real Killer” (From 2001’s Anghellic)
This album to me definitely seemed in The Slim Shady LP (dare I say influenced by?) vein. Tech has said that he feels this is his most slept-on album; it’s obviously a favorite of his. Since this article mostly came out of my fucked-up brain as an ode to Tech’s self-confessed fucked-up-ness, I figured I’d include this guilt-ridden ode to abortion. “So I murdered five kids of mine/I’m ’bout to sit in hell a lifetime bid for mine.”
Politics aside, that’s some real shit. And I’m a big fan of real shit in my music. Dude won me over with his craziness. I can now officially say I’m proud to have Aaron Yates (Tech N9ne) as a fellow Missourian. Stay strange, dude. (I know you will).
P.S. – This album art is awesome. Had to say that. Alright, I’m done. Whew.
This post was written by Tyler McConnell, contributing writer for The Blue Note.