Blog Trot Interview: Tech N9ne and Krizz Kaliko
This past week we had the pleasure of sitting down with Strange Music head Tech N9ne, who also happens to be the most succesful independent rap artist of all time, and label mate Krizz Kaliko. A little small talk about Vancouver, condoms and the tour, we got right down to business and had a conversation that touched on their current state of mind, a potentialy delayed album, Michael Jackson, Jim Morrison, and strippers. Would you expect anything else?
We walked through Deer Lake Park heading towards the backstage area, walking through the crowd, Supernatural took a little poll of who people were excited to see. Tech N9ne got the loudest response second only to Nas. Not bad for an independent artist who gets no real airplay or video time on MTV. After taking in their performance, it was easy to understand why these Tech and Krizz seem to get such a positive response, they love to be on stage, and it shines through.
Read the interview, and then check out the Krizz Kaliko’s Misunderstood music video. An absolutely solid video and a track that should be getting a ton of airplay.
How you liking the tour?
Tech: Love the tour, love the tour, love the camaraderie with all the artists back here
Where you been?
Tech: Oh my god, where we been so far?..Toronto, Chicago, New York, yeah man, we’ve just been going..
Any highlights so far?
Busta Rhymes, hardcore on stage, him and Spliff, insanity.
So, you’re known for doing so many collaborations, who would be your dream collaboration?
Tech: Dream collaboration would be Tech Nine, System of a Down, and Outkast, and Marsha from Floetry singing the chorus
Krizz: I’d have to say probably Cee-Lo from Gnarls Barkley, Outkast..That would be my top pick
You’re bringing so many different types of music, and different styles into your music, and mainstream is still straight rap, with you being in the game for roughly 24 years, what do you think the evolution of how it’s been? Do you think that’s the direction
it should be going?
Tech: Which direction do you mean? You mean my direction?
Yeah, approaching that fusion.
Tech: I don’t think nobody is going to go my direction, man, you know what i’m saying, my next album is the darkest album I’ve ever made, it’s like a middle finger to all the people who ever said that I’m a devil worshiper, to weirdo, to I don’t fuck with that ‘cos it’s white people shit, you know what I’m saying? KOD is going to be an album, where I don’t expect nobody to go in that direction, both lyrically and (sighs) If hip hop did go that way, you know, I feel like this, I don’t want hip hop to go my direction, when I’m in a dark hole, if it goes that direction of KOD, it’s going to be fucking anarchy and people killing each other, man, and that’s not cool. I don’t wanna be in this hole I’m in, but I’m in it because of my mothers sickness, and everything around me is fucked up right now, at a time when everything is so beautiful for me. Up here, number one independent label in the country, over a million sales, no video, no radio, made it to rock the bells, just out getting international distribution, about to go over to Amsterdam in the meantime and Switzerland in August and September. Australia and all these good things happening and I’m down in this hole.
Tech: My moms sickness, a lot of crazy shit happening around me, that got me in the hole, where it’s beautiful that I can be on this album right now, but I don’t think hip hop can go in this direction of KOD.
Krizz: Yeah, I mean, I don’t think anyone, if hip hop were to go in the direction that Tech went on this album, it’d have to be a lot of Tech N9nes out there, because I don’t even think, I mean that’s overwhelmingly hypothetical, because there’s only one Tech N9ne out there. The direction of what we’re doing is in music, the effect of music, if its be very unique, and winning as an independent label, then yes, it should go that direction.
Do you find the music to be a cathartic experience? A release?
Tech: Total release
Krizz: That’s probably the main thing
Tech: To be able to let that shit out, so you don’t let it out on somebody, when you got love in your heart, you don’t want to let it out on nobody, cos you let
it out on somebody, you’ll probably end up in jail somewhere, yeah man, music allows me to say ‘Fuck You’, you know what I’m saying? ‘Stay the fuck away from me.’
‘You broke my heart, you stupid motherfucker, get the fuck out of my life’. My music is therapy.
How about you Kris, what kind of headspace are you in?
Krizz: Same thing, same thing, it allows me to, I just did a big article about my life, and told them a lot of crazy shit about me, and people are reacting like, ‘Oh, he’s such a nice guy, didn’t know he had those kinds of thoughts, and that kind of past and yada yada yada, and you know the reason why is I’d much rather tell you about it than do it to you. I’d much rather talk to you about it, I’d much rather be screaming Anxiety, than let you see what’s really going on in my head, if you provoke me in that way, you know what I’m saying? I’d much rather get it out in that way.
So, what’s KOD stand for?
Tech: Oh, now (laughs) I can’t tell nobody because we’re having a contest around album time to see if fans can guess it, you almost got me man!
What kind of collaborations will we see on that one?
Tech: I’m still waiting on them man, I just wrote one called ‘Killing You’, I sent out to Corey Taylor, Slipknot, sent one out to Three 6 Mafia, sent one out to, damn who else I
sent out, forgot what else I sent out, sent one out to Beth Gibbons of Portishead, I gotta do this quickly, you know, I’m at the end of it, my deadline was yesterday, I didn’t meet it. I think I still got a couple of days next week, if I could still get that October 27th day, cos it’s my moms birthday, moms real sick, it’d be mean a lot to me, if I don’t make it, (sighs) I’m going to try make it.
Why do you think the delay between albums?
Tech: Well, it was touring, you can put an album like this, before Eveready, they were waiting four years before putting out an album. but then we started putting them out like boom, boom, boom, there’s been like two a year. I’m into touring, man, we figured out how to do it. I love Rock the Bells, but it’s making my life for this album harder for me.
Tech: Cos I aint got time to do it, it’s usually on the weekend when I’m writing, when I’m not in the studio, when I’m writing my shit, it’s fucking up my writing.
So, do you have an actual timeframe for your writing, or can you just grab a pen and pad?
Tech: We tour so much, I can’t write on tour, though I could, when we sit down to an album, I might not even want to fucking do an album, when it’s time to go, this is how we need to do it? Ok, and I start choosing the beat, and if the beats really move me, if most those beats would mix with ours, then it would motivate me to come when I needed, which is the way it happens, we sit outside, this is when we gonna do the album, ok, talk to all our producers, I think everything is meant to happen around me, know what I’m saying? Like these beats are supposed to be a part of me, these are the ones how fate would have it. Working, I don’t want to be in this fucking hole, doing KOD, I’m in a fucking hole right now, I’m like for real, I gotta force my smiles and shit, I don’t like it. But, I should’ve known bringing negative energy out of your brain, out of your soul, would affect everything around you. But, you see I’m a big headed motherfucker sometimes, I feel like I could overpower all that, like ha, that’s funny, that’s crazy. But the shit around me, these songs turned out to be real songs and not just my imagination, like I thought it was going to be. I’d just imaginate some shit, like, (freestyles), I thought I could just do some shit like that, with just my imagination, but real shit started to come out. This just aint my imagination, these are real stories, like Leave me Alone is how I feel right now, I wrote a beautiful song called Leave Me Alone. Killing You, talking about me being a beast, and the bitches that love me, and the women that love me, I’m like I told you I was a fucking beast, why can’t you wake up and see that I’m killing you inside? I’m killing you, just leave me alone, do something else, cos I’m going to end up fucking you up. You know what I’m saying? These are real songs. I still gotta write one that’s deep in the hole, called Low, I’ve been running from it, damn, I gotta write a song called Low, I’m gonna tell them where I’m at right now. In the hole. Hopefully, I can get out of this motherfucking hole and party like I used to. Niggas took me to the strip club last week, and I left.
That’s when you know you in the hole.
Tech: (Laughs) Yeah! That ain’t me! I’m Tech N9ne! Pussy, pussy, pussy! I’m sitting in there trying to drink with a fake smile, like, ‘Baby, I’m not myself, so deal with me’ ‘No, Tech, we understand’, naked bitches, I’m looking at ‘em, saying let’s go. Gotta get back to me.
Yeah, so, you’re the artist and you’re running your own label, what do you enjoy most? Do you enjoy introducing guys like Krizz into the game?
Tech: I really love that, like look at what we got, but what I love most of all, is doing the music that we think is elite, that we belive is elite, and letting the fans get it and learn it, and we can be out here singing it with them. That’s what’ I’m talking about. Because we’re somewhere else, and for them to be somewhere else with us is a good thing man, it’s a blessing, be a high off people follow you and your music. You know, most will say that it’s weird, and it’s devil shit. And it’s not devil shit.
How’s it feel for you Krizz, to join the label, and have Genius just drop?
Krizz: Well, I didn’t just join the label, I’ve been with him since a year after the start of the label. I enjoy the performing, I tell my wife, I love being with my wife and my son, but the place I feel the best in the world is on that stage, even though we up there fucking dying, cos this is a short set for us. We usually do a hour and half, and we up there like, sho
ws killing me man, but it’s like there’s no better place to be than up there, especially when on tour, when everyone knows all the music, I’m a little spoilt, cos these are new fans out there, some of them know and some of them don’t. I like when they all up there and they all singing it and they’re all feeling it. You know, people come up to me and say I listened to your song, and it saved my life, because I realised that someone else is going through that same type of thing, you know? It’s therapeutic all the way around.
ast Question, any artist, dead or alive, that you could see perform live, who would it be?
Tech: Damn, I saw Biggie, when he first came out with Juicy, he walked off stage like ‘Fuck Y’All..ya’ll don’t know this’ at Memorial Hall, I thought it was funny, I was like damn, he’s rocking, and he walked off the stage.
Krizz: I didn’t know he came out there
Tech: A lot of people didn’t know, a lot of people wasn’t there, I was there.
Krizz: Who was he there with?
Tech: I don’t fucking know man, I don’t know, he was there, I was there too. But, uh, see they said that Flowtry broke up man,I really wanted to see Flowtry, I’ve always wanted to see Gnarls Barkely live man,
Wish I saw Nirvana live, wish I could have saw Michael Jackson live, I didn’t have enough money when I was younger.
Krizz: Saw him on the Victory tour like ’84 ’85, I was a itty bitty kid.
Tech: Man, I wish I could’ve seen Michael Jackson live, that’s fucked up.
Krizz: It’s the first time, I ever looked at another human, I was probably starstruck, I know what people say when they say starstruck I was looking at this dude, like I cannot believe this guy’s standing right there. Like, I cannot believe hes standing right there, all the stuff I’v seen over all the years, all the videos, all the shit that I’ve seen, and this dude is like right there. I was probably like a hundred yards from him, and I was like
oh my god, that’s michael jackson, I was only like eight years old, I was like seven, eight years old, I kept saying, to my step mother too, that’s Michael Jackson!
Tech: Wish I could’ve seen Michael Jackson, wish I could’ve seen Michael Jordan
Krizz: Saw him too
Tech: You saw him too!? Live?!
Krizz: Yeah, when the Charlotte Hornets was first an expansion team, they had an exhibition game in Kansas City, and I went to it. with my boy Kevin Graves, and he took me, and he got us down on the floor, and I was standing right there, and you know how you can feel somebody looking at you? He had a towel around his head, and he was like this
(Looks down, looks up and nods at the corner) (Laughing)
Krizz: Like he just leaned up, and said what’s up, I was like ‘holy shit!’
Tech: When was this man?
Krizz: I was like 17 or 18, whatever year the Hornets came to Kc, it was that year, you’d have to google it, they had like one dude on that team that was good, everybody else was like all new cats. And they played the Bulls, and he didn’t even play that much for real, he only played maybe one quarter of the whole thing, but he got in there, and everyone was like lit up. And I finally see what it feels like when he dunks, you would be amazed
, people are ready with those cameras, as soon as he jumps, (imitates flashbulbs), like as soon as he took off, there was so many flashes that it just lit the whole motherfucker up, like bam! Then he dunked, and everyone was like (crowd roaring) louder than arrowhead dog, it was like woo hoo! That’s too much power for one dude to have! Him and Michael Jackson, that’s too much power for one person!
So, Tech you would have loved to see Michael Jordan and Michael Jackson, how about for you Krizz?
Krizz: I’d say Gnarls Barkely, and I’ve seen a lot of people, I try not to miss anybody..
I thought I’d hear some Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley, The Beatles…
Krizz: I would’ve loved to have seen The Beatles…
Ever seen Tupac?
Tech: I saw Tupac, I did, I did, in LA.
Krizz: You know what the messed up thing is man? And this is probably gonna be bad, I’ve never been a huge 2pac fan man, I’ll tell you this, I was a 2pac fan at 2PACALYPSE NOW, that’s when I was loved him, and everything else I liked a song here and there, you know what I’m saying? Like I liked him, but I felt it was the same message repeated alot. I was like, I don’t even know how people can compare him and Biggie, that’s apples and oranges, I was a huge Biggie fan, huge, huge Biggie fan. Probably, one, bec
ause of his music, and two, because he was a big dude, and so was I.
Tech: Goddamn it, if I could’ve seen the doors
Krizz: I was wondering why you didn’t say that
Tech: If I could’ve seen Jim Morrison live, shit, I’ve got everything, I’ve got his fucking mugshot from New Haven, Connecticut, they used to call me the black Jim Morrison, honestly, but I stopp
ed doing drugs, I almost died, I did 15 pills one night, know what I’m saying? I’ve been clean for three years. They didn’t lose me, but I would’ve loved to see The Doors.
Krizz: And Gnarls and Biggie for me.
Cool, thank you!