Tech N9ne defends Quincy Jones’s We Are The World remake
TECH N9NE at the Phoenix (410 Sherbourne), tonight (Thursday, March 11), 11 pm, as part of CMF. $25 or wristband (limited). cmw.net.
It’s surprising to hear Tech N9ne, one of the most sinister voices in underground rap, praise this year’s We Are The World remake.
“I understand why Quincy Jones did it,” he says over the phone from his hometown, Kansas City.
“By bringing in Lil Wayne and T-Pain, and putting the little Aaron Carter guy [Justin Bieber] at the beginning, he was making it relevant to today.”
You’ll never hear Tech N9ne criticize a Quincy-helmed project. The musical icon mentored the rapper back in 97, when N9ne was signed to Jones’s Qwest/Warner label.
Back then, Q told him something that has guided his career ever since.
“He said, ‘Rap what you know, and people will forever feel you.'”
His gun-referencing moniker has prevented him from getting much airplay, so Tech N9ne hasn’t thrived in the major label system. But going independent allowed him to stay true to Quincy’s advice.
His songs are brutally honest tales of pleasure and pain, rattled off in his rapid-fire flow. He’s made symphonic anthems about the dark side of Midwestern America and chronicled his mother’s distressing bout with cancer.
“I wish I wasn’t so real sometimes,” Tech N9ne admits. “But this is what I know. It’s my heart, my brain, my soul. It’s all I can give.”
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