PAID DUES INDEPENDENT HIP HOP FESTIVAL
Saturday March 28, 2009
Atmosphere, Tech N9ne, Living Legends, Brother Ali, B-Real, Grouch & Eligh, Cage, Eyedea & Abilities, LMNO, The Bayliens, VerBS, DJ Val the Vandle, hosted by 2Mex with special guests Slaughterhouse
The annual Paid Dues Independent Hip Hop Festival boasted record attendance in its fourth year. Outdoors for the first time at the NOS, the event brought many of the expected Southern California Hip Hop heroes together along with the staple Rhymesayers acts and also threw a few curveballs in on the lineup – Slaughterhouse, a rap super group featuring Crooked I, Joe Budden, Royce Da 5’9″ & Joell Ortiz and Tech N9ne. I spent some time with Tech backstage to talk hip hop, ecstasy, women, and how they lead him Paid Dues.
RacketRoni: What made you decide to play Paid Dues?
Tech N9ne: Chang and all the gang at Guerilla Union recognized us for our extensive touring. If it was whack I don’t think they would have hit us up for it. The pleasure is all mine. I’ve always wanted to play an arena that doesn’t necessarily have fans that are familiar with Tech N9ne.
RR: My ears are actually virgin to your sound.
T9: See that’s what I mean. I get to spread my virus of beautiful music to you thanks to Chang and everyone at Guerilla Union who’s given me the stage to do that. I adore them for it. I believe my music is for everybody and these people don’t even know that they’re my fans yet because we’re underground and we do our own thing. Now we’re being put on a bigger stage and it’s a wonderful day.
RR: Since I’m someone who’s never heard the music and never seen you perform, what do you think I should look out for? What makes you special?
T9: Extreme energy. 100% open inside out. I do not hide anything. I write my life as it is, as it stands, and as it progresses whatever, what-have-you. Quincy Jones once told me to write what I know best and people will love me. What do I know better than anything else? Myself. Now what can you expect from me on this stage? In one word- loud. And if you’re with the punk scene you’ll know what I mean.
RR: Can you tell me a little bit about what brought you here, how you went from that person practicing in your room to being onstage?
T9: I used to be at the dinner table when I was 4 or 5 with my family who were all really into music. We’d bang on the table and clink glasses in rhythm just to have fun. That’s where I got my rhythm and with rhythm came dancing. I’m a B-Boy. I pop, break dance, all that. When MC Hammer came out I was a dancer. Then with rhythm came rhyme. I wrote my first rhyme in ’85 when I was in the 7th grade. Ever since then I’ve been going.
RR: Do you freestyle at all?
T9: I write my life. And I’ve done so many drugs in my past that I’m not as good as most, but I’m the best at what I do.
RR: What’s your favorite drug?
T9: I’ve been clean for almost three years but I almost died on ecstasy. That was my drug. I did it to escape my darkness.
RR: Is it true that if you have sex while on ecstasy, regular sex will never be the same again?
T9: If you don’t love women as much as I do then, yeah. But now women are my ecstasy. I used to have sex more on ecstasy. It went from 20 rounds in one night to 7 now that I’m clean. And that’s cool. I don’t have anyone swollen down there anymore like I used to. I still get them a lil’ swollen but not as swollen where I have to put ice packs on ‘em. Ecstasy was my drug because I had a lot of spiritual pain then. Whoever created ecstasy should be shot cuz that euphoria is too good. I took 15 pills in one night and almost died ‘cause I didn’t wanna come down. I had to stop. Anything I do, I do it until I can’t do it anymore. I do it till the wheels fall off.
RR: You smoke weed?
T9: Nah, I stopped smoking weed in ’98. I smoked my last blunt that year. All I do now is beautiful women and drinking. That’s pretty much what it is with the freestyle thing. I’ve done so many drugs I couldn’t think quick for shit. But you wouldn’t be able to tell that in my music ‘cause with my music you hear me… [Tech busts into a sequence of lyrical assaults at this moment showcasing the quick tongue his fans, and his ladies, know him for]. You wouldn’t know that I couldn’t think quick ‘cause my whole shit is quick.
RR: Best touring experience / worst touring experience?
T9: I’ve had a lot of best touring experience with younger women. [He pauses briefly and smiles]. And older women too. I think the worst touring experience would be with ex-girlfriends showing up at the shows trying to pick a fight because I’m with another chick. It happened onstage where it was almost a fight. But we have a good time so it’s hard to find bad things and since I did so much ecstasy I forgot a lot of shit. All that shit I did back then is erased! Women come up to me saying, “Do you remember me? We used to kick it?” I say, “Oh really. You’re beautiful. I don’t remember. Did we have sex?” They say, “Yes,” and I’m like “Oh, sorry.”
RR: Can you even recall how many women?
T9: No but it’s over 50 if I remember correctly.
RR: Who’s the best one you had?
T9: Oh my God! [He exclaims ecstatically]. I’m with her now. She’s my girlfriend right. I don’t wanna say anything else about that.
RR: Okay, time for my last question. What do you have against the letter “I”?
T9: I don’t have anything against the letter “I.” Back in the day there was more than one Tech Nine. And I didn’t wanna be that Tech Nine. Nine has always been my number even before I was Tech Nine. Nine is the number of completion and I’m a complete MC. When I first got the name, we got it from the gun, tech nine, because of my rapid flow. When I started to get into numerology, I found that nine is the number of completion. Nine months completes a pregnancy. A cat has nine lives. I am the complete technique of rhyme and it fits me perfectly. The “I” is just so plain but the nine is everything.
Tech N9ne went on that evening to deliver a highly energetic performance, quickly converting me from critic to fan. Those, like me, who hadn’t heard his music or seen him live before, welcomed him on stage as if he were a Paid Dues veteran. With a successfully diversified lineup, and 9,000 in attendance, Paid Dues continues to prove independent hip hop has a place in So Cal. It’s only a matter of time before the rest of the world realizes it needs this show.
— Veronica Amador