In music, like in sports, pressure serves as the great divider that separates those that become etched in eternity from the ones that wind up as pop-culture footnotes. With every album cycle, Tech N9ne has come up with new ways to draw the mainstream to him.
With “Hood Go Crazy,” the first single from his forthcoming Special Effects album, already proliferating airwaves, Tech once again upped the ante with "Speedom (WWC 3)," which features another Midwest legend, Eminem. It’s a collaboration he’s been dreaming about for years and according to Tech, Em made it even sweeter when it was time to pay the bill.
“[Eminem] did the verse for nothing but a swap,” Tech told BET.com in an exclusive interview. “I was flabbergasted cause I know it costs so much to get Eminem and he’s worth every penny, and for him to say, ‘I just want a song from you for this,’ that made me feel really beautiful that he felt like that about my music,” he added.
Tech and Slim Shady collaborated once before on Sway & King Tech’s “The Anthem” in 1999 with an all-star cast of rhymers, and though they haven’t spoken much since then, Tech says Em’s gesture was the ultimate form of flattery.
“I haven’t spoken to this guy since early 2000s or something and it’s just wonderful how that worked out,” noted Tech. “The fact that he feels like my music is that good that he would wanna do that for me is incredible. For one, do the song for me and then say, ‘no no no no, I just want you to give me a song for this.’ I’m like ‘Yes!’ That feels so good man.”
As a longtime fan of other genres, Tech has never shied away from experimenting sonically and according to him Special Effects is the pinnacle of versatility.
"When you hear [the album], it’s such a roller-coaster ride, it’s unpredictable,” he exclaimed exuding more excitement with every collaboration he named. “We went to the hilt of metal with Slipknot, we went to the hilt of hip hop with Eminem, you know what I’m sizzlin’? And even EDM, we went to the hilt with Excision, the bonus track on the CD called 'Roadkill' we shot a video, we went to the hilt of trap music. The King of the South, T.I., is on a song with me and Zuse called 'On the Bible.' E-40 has a banger with me called 'No K,' of course you’ve heard what 'Hood Go Crazy' is doing right now it’s actually making the hood go crazy with 2 Chainz and B.o.B., Audio Push is on the album, Yo Gotti is on the album, Lil Wayne is on the album. This is crazy dude!”
Tech, whose real name is Aaron Yates, has always chanelled his inner darkness through his songs, so it was only fitting after the recent passing of his mother that he save one collab to help him properly express those emotions.
"We went and got the darkest individuals to do the darkest song possible on this album and the reason why is, I’ve always had the darkness because my mom being sick,” said Tech. “When she passed on June 6, to Lupus, it made me wanna do this song called 'Shroud.' I have a darkened shroud over me now since mom’s gone so we were gonna go to the pinnacle of darkness, which is Joseph Bishara, the composer for the music on movies like The Conjuring and Insidious. Me and my producer Seven got him, and them two got together and put together the craziest beat ever for me to get my feelings."
Though he’s shared the mic with so many music legends throughout his illustrious career from Ice Cube to the Doors, Tech says the ideas are already flowing for the future.
I still want to do something with Jay Z cause I sent him one on this [album], but he couldn’t do it at the time,” Tech revealed. “OutKast, if I could ever make that happen. There’s a lot of people I still wanna work with, Jonathan Davis (from Korn), Trent Reznor, Alanis Morissette, Lana Del Rey, Gary Clarke Jr., Collie Budz, I got so many ideas man.”
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(Photos from left: Cathy Gibson, PacificCoastNews, Mike Coppola/Getty Images)
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