Tech N9Ne on His Indie Rap Success and Why There’s No Time for Sex
Tech N9ne in New York City, July 2013. Photo: D Disasupil/Getty Images

Tech N9ne in New York City, July 2013. Photo: D Disasupil/Getty Images

This week, Indie-rap behemoth Tech N9ne drops his 13th studio album, Something Else, and it’s sonically different from his previous work, with eclectic collaborations including the remaining members of The Doors and Serj Tankian of System of a Down. Yet, the album boasts the same tart honesty Tech’s fans have come to love and as we shared last week, the dude can’t slow down. Over Pad Thai (hold the tofu), Tech spoke to Hive about life as ostensibly, rap’s most successful indie rapper.

You have some of the most loyal fans. I saw you at your album listening in New York City and you were a magnet for dude fans.

It’s new for me every year because I get bigger and bigger. Taking pictures and stuff, I’m kind of like, shy, but you couldn’t tell onstage. At my shows it’s different, I’m a girl magnet.

What do you attribute to having more female fans?

Uh, talking about sex. I’m a Scorpio male.

So you’re having a lot of sex in real life?

With my brain. I don’t have time. I’m a different type of rapper. I work more than the average rapper. I don’t really know every other rapper’s life, so I can’t say that. You can’t do everybody. I did my groupie thing back when I was 19, 20,21, 22 … You know what I’m saying? I’m 41 now, but I feel like I’m 22.

You have very good skin for 41. What are you using? Goat placenta?

No! Shea butter.

You’re always lauded for being the model of indie rap. What’s the best and worst part of being independent?

The worst part is using your own money, which is a hard thing to do. Getting doors closed in your face, because you’re different or because you don’t have the money to pay for these big artists to collab with you or beatmakers you’ve been loving for years. The best part is knowing you have something different, knowing it wouldn’t be the norm. A lot of people might not get it, but knowing in your heart you stick with it, and you start seeing the money come and growing. Like, “Whoa.”

Aren’t you like the richest indie rapper?

[Laughs]. Yeah. Well, if I took it all for myself instead of reinvested it into my company and built more? Then, yeah.

You don’t collaborate often. How do you decide whom to work with?

It’s simple. If it’s dope, I try my best to do it. Snow Tha Product was dope. She wanted me on a song, so I did it for her. I ain’t charge her nothing. Some guy from Iran just called like, “You have fans over there.” Iran? He came all the way over here to record with me. It was for a good cause to unite Iran and the U.S. with song. I’m with it. I did it. No charge. Certain things I do. I don’t have a lot of time, so you gotta pay for that. What I do is not the norm, so it takes longer.

Something Else features the remaining members of the Doors and Serj Tankian of System of a Down, groups you are a fan of. Was there anyone you wanted for the album that you didn’t get?

I tried for Drake but we didn’t get him. He got busy. [Lil] Wayne said he would hook it up. It was for a song called “Look Like Heaven.” Maybe it wasn’t good enough or maybe he was busy? I didn’t press it. I understand.

What will make Something Else a successful album for you?

Me doing 1000% on every song. Whether it sells two fucking copies. It’s going to reach, in time, everybody, like my albums do. It’s me doing the best I can do and the most I can let loose. There are spots where I store things I don’t want no one else to know and some things I take out [for the album]. You didn’t know I got molested by my seventh grade teacher.

Did that actually happen?

Yeah. I liked it. That’s all I’m going to say. I don’t want to get nobody in trouble. She was a nice young lady. I was in love.

Was it a mutual relationship?

I can’t say it was a relationship. It was just an encounter. Me being young like that, I was in love.

Where do you see you career ultimately? Five years from now, will you be on a deserted island like Marlon Brando?

Five years from now, I’ll probably be on an island, that I bought … with somebody beautiful on my face.

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