Tech N9ne On New Album ‘Planet,’ Politics & How He Got His Name [VIDEO EXCLUSIVE]
Tech N9ne‘s latest album, Planet, is scheduled to drop on March 2, and will be his first since 2016’s The Storm. The rapper sat down with uInterview to talk about his new album, his sound and his name. Of Planet, Tech says his fans “can expect me being fed up with a lot of things. A song called “Fresh Out” is near the top of the record and it states that I’m fed up with everything / More cynical than I’ve ever been / I’ll make that Beretta ring if any come up atta king,” he rapped.
“It’s a lot of chip-on-your-shoulder type music, but it takes turns every once in a while. It might get a bit sentimental with songs like ‘We Won’t Go Quietly’ and ‘Tapping In.’ Just really good music, that’s what they can expect,” Tech continued. “It’s a new beginning, and that doesn’t mean that I forgot about where I started, but it was time for new beginning because I’ve been under construction for years now, trying to be as close to perfect as I can be as a human being. So building my own ‘planet’ seemed like the best thing to do – to construct it with more love, a lot more caring, and I think people will understand that I’m just trying to make this world a better place, and if it can start through music, why not?”
When asked what specifically he is so fed up with, Tech responded, “the thing that’s frustrating everybody – the lack of equality, the lack of love, the lack of togetherness and the fear of each other that needs to be abolished. All those things are what I wanted to better with my record Planet,” he said. “The whole record is my baby, so it’s hard to choose one song, but… ‘Bright Fall’ is a super production by my producer Seven. Also the producer and composer Joseph Bishara of The Conjuring, Anabelle and Insidious. Very dark music… As a matter of fact, we’re gonna shoot a mini movie because of ‘Bright Fall.’ It’s very orchestral. That’s one of my favorites, it gets me going. It’s one of those ones that fans are gonna work out to. It’s manic, it’s turbulent, it’s energetic and it’s trying to detach from darkness but the darkness will never totally detach.”
The rapper recited a paragraph that he had written in high school that he joked, “sounds like a Bible verse, but it’s not.” “He who treads the path of the beast is also he whose sins can be repented, but be warned for the beast in his past may return to haunt his present and twist the thoughts of the righteous.”
Tech N9ne, born Aaron Dontez Yates, explained the origins of his stage name, which was given to him by “a gangster by the name of Wee Capone in 1988,” who was a rapper in the group Black Mafia. One of the other members was called Shorty Mac, which came out of Mac-10, a type of gun. Yates’ name was chosen based on his quick rapping style, and was taken out of a gun book. “We went through a guns and ammo book he had at the house… First page, 12-gauge, nope,” he said. “Turn the next page and he said, ‘Uzzi,’ but I’m like, nope!”
The back of the book featured the Tec-9, and Tech recalls, “He says, ‘Tec-9! Because of the way you rap.’ When he got older, the rapper changed the spelling to Tech N9ne. “Tech, short for technique, number nine being the number of completion. Put it together, I am the complete technique of rhyme – Tech N9ne,” he explained. “That’s beautiful, it fits me so well.”
Full interview transcript below:
Q: What can fans expect from your new album?
A: They can expect me being fed up with a lot of things. Song called “Fresh Out” is near the top of the record, and it states that I’m fed up with everything, I’m cynical than I’ve ever been. I’ll make the Beretta ring if any, coming up better King. You know since it’s a lot of chip on your shoulder type music, but it takes turns, it takes certain turns every once in a while. I might get a little bit sentimental with songs like “We won’t go quietly,” and “tapping in,” you know, just really good music man, that’s what they can expect. It’s a new beginning and that doesn’t mean that I forgot about where I start, but it was time for a new beginning because I’ve been under construction for years now, trying to be as close to perfect as I can be as a human being. So, constructing my own planet seemed like the best thing to do, too construct it with more love, a lot more caring. I think people will understand that I’m just trying to make this world a better place, and if it can star through music, why not?
Q: What’s upsetting you?
A: The thing that’s frustrating everybody is the lack of equality, the lack of love, lack of togetherness, and the fear or each other that needs to be abolished. All those things are what I wanted to better with my record Planet.
Q: What’s your favorite track?
A: The whole record is my baby so it’s hard to choose one song, but “Bright Fall” is super
production by my producer Seven, also the producer and composer Joseph Bishara of The Conjuring, of Annabelle, of Insidious. Very dark music with Seven, Joseph Bishara, and Isaac Cates with the ordained choir is humongous. As a matter of fact, we’re gonna shot a mini movie because of “Bright Fall,” it’s very orchestral. That’s one of my favorites. It gets me going, it’s like one of those ones that the fans are gonna work out to. It’s manic. It’s turbulence. It’s energetic, and it’s trying to detach from darkness, but the darkness will never totally detach. I think that’s the end of the story, that’s the end of that story, that the darkness will never detach so there are other stories after it. It makes way for more stories. “Bright Fall” is a big one, trying to detach from the darkness, all the dark things I’ve done in my past somehow keeps resurfacing. You don’t want it to resurface because I once said, “he who treads the path of a beast is also he who’s sins can be repented. But be warned, for the beast and his past may return to hand his present, and twist, the thoughts of the righteous.” I wrote that when I was in junior high, it’s not like a bible verse, it is not.
Q: What’s the origin of your name?
A: The origin of the Tech N9ne name came from a gangster by the name of Wee Capone in 1988. He was in a group, he had a group called Black Mafia. I met Wee Capone in seventh grade at George Cala Bingum, and he was a rapper. He had a brother in his group, they called him Shorty Mack, but before he was Shorty Mack, he was Mack 10, not the Mack 10 that everybody knows from Westside connection, much love to my brother Mack 10 from Westside connection. Mack 10 was Short Mack back then, then it changed from Mack 10 to short Nitti. He’s in jail right now, but because his name was Mack 10, Wee Capone, the leader of the Black Mafia, sounds sinister doesn’t it, wanted another gun, my fans know this story, and we went through a Guns and Ammo book he had at the house. Why does he have a Guns and Ammo book being that young? I have no idea, but because he Wee Capone. First page, 12-gauge, nope, don’t want that, but later years I heard, “cause 12 gauge is a loaded gun and I’m done by none hun, so give that donkey butt and those big ol legs, I ain’t too hard to beg, ain’t no shame in this game. I’ll bring it down and smell like James, please.”
His name was 12-gauge so I chose not to have 12-gauge in 88, and then he turned the next page an said, “Uzzi.” I’m like, “no,” but turn, years, and then he got “Uzzi Vert, you ever had that name?” Wonderful, but I didn’t choose Uzzi. “Ak-47!” No, no. Went through the whole book, turned it over like damn we didn’t find nothing, on the back of the book, it was picture of a tec-9 and he said “tec-9, because the way you rap, you know.” I’m like, “yeah that’s cool.” He said, “that’s gonna be your name until we find something else.” But yes, it is perfect, but it took a turn as I started getting wiser, we spelt it different, te CH, the gun is spelled Tec, or tek 22 is spelled tek. Mine was spelled T E C H, short for technique, number 9 be the number of completion, put it together, I’m the complete technique of rhyme tech N9ne. I do everything, that’s why you can hear me on song with Gary Clakr Jr., and Corey Taylor Slipknot, and System Of It Down, and then you can hear me on the song with Lil Wayne, and Yo Gotti, and TI, And Two Chains, and B.ob. Then you gave me those songs with Kendrick Lamar, and Marcia Ambrose’s of Floor Tree, and Stokley Williams from Mint Condition, you know it just goes on and on and on. I’m the complete technique of rhyme, Tech N9ne, that’s beautiful, it fits me so well.
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