Kansas City rapper producer, songwriter and co-founder of the Strange Music record label Tech N9ne is best known for the “chopper” style of rap he popularized, hence his name which refers to the TEC-9 semi-automatic handgun. His most recent effort, N9na, literally just dropped this month and it’s a typically intense affair. The video for the title track sees an animated Tech N9ne playing superhero, and that feels appropriate too. We chatted with the main man prior to his Novo show…
L.A. WEEKLY: Are you happy with the way the new album, N9na, turned out and the way it’s been received?
TECH N9NE: Even more than I expected. The overwhelming love of this record, comparing it to my first works that people hold so high — I was trying to do something completely different. In trying to do that, worrying about what my fans would think, they compare it to the greatest albums from back in my day. It’s so crazy.
As an artist, when you put the finishing touches to the album, did you feel like you’d done something special?
I know I did. I started recording them in America then I went to Europe for 28 dates and recorded there and right from Europe I went to Canada, so I recorded in three countries, and it came out really cohesive. I felt it.
How do you think you've evolved as a songwriter and a performer in recent years?
Practice makes perfect. I never stopped. I never stopped sharpening my pen or my knife. I keep at it. One after another. I have the title for my next album already, so I’m always getting better and evolving as an artist. I’m still evolving every day. Learning new things, seeing new people, getting new things — just learning constantly, and still sharpening.
Are you looking forward to bringing the show to L.A.?
Oh man, I can’t wait. My kids, my daughters, are out there so I get to see my girls, and I get to see all the wonderful fans. That’s like a second home to me. I moved there in 2004, to the Valley right off Sepulveda. I’ve been there since '93, so it’s like a second home for real. A second homecoming.
The city is obviously in mourning right now — would you like to say anything about Nipsey?
That was my brother, man. I was with him at his Victory Lap release party at Sweet Chick in New York last year. We have pictures together where we sat and talked about independent music and how he thanked me for paving the way. He was always a stand up brother from when I met him back in 2009 on The Game tour. Always a respectful brother. He wasn’t supposed to be gone, man. A demon took him away and I am forever grateful for his presence and his gift to the world. The marathon continues.
What can we expect from this set?
Our energy is beyond wild. This show is super intricate so I’m still a bit nervous every time I come out to do such an intricate song, so you can expect a gang of energy.
When the Novo show is done, what's next for you this year?
Well April 29 is the beginning of the tour. We have 58 shows to do. So after that I’ll do a gang more shows, and after that, I told them not to book me shows on Halloween. I get to celebrate my holiday without having to be Tech N9ne. I might go to horror night at Universal Studios in Orlando. Either that or Hawaii.
Tech N9ne plays at 8 p.m. on Monday, April 29 at Novo.