Prior to his rise to fame with the Grammy-nominated good kid, m.A.A.d city, Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar served as hype man for fellow TDE artist Jay Rock. As Jay Rock’s hype man, Kendrick traveled with the rapper as he toured with Strange Music emcee Tech N9ne.
While chatting with Peter Rosenberg and Cypha Sounds of the Juan Epstein show, Tech N9ne spoke on his encounters with Kendrick while on tour. He says that after K-Dot gave him his Section.80 project to listen to, he recruited the rapper for his All 6’s And 7’s record, “I Love Music.”
In addition to appearing on All 6’s And 7’s, Tech says Kendrick also had the opportunity to meet Dr. Dre for the first time during his tour.
“We signed Jay Rock some years ago. That’s how I met Kendrick because I took them both on tour with me,” Tech N9ne said. “Like a year or two ago. Something [like that]…Kendrick came as his hype man…When we got him he [Jay Rock] was on Warner Brothers and they had him sitting for years. So, we got him up out of that deal…So, I met Kendrick on that first tour I put him on. And he gave me the Section.80 CD. And I listened to it, I said, ‘We gotta get you on something.’ So, my All 6’s And 7’s album, which was probably another year and something ago, he was on there and nobody knew who he was. We did a song called ‘I Love Music.’ And then after that he blew up. He met Dre on my tour. When we did the House of Blues.”
During his interview, Tech N9ne also touched on the Bloods street gang infiltrating his neighborhood in the mid-80s. While speaking on the gang, he says at one point he was able to bring two different gangs together to create the 57th Street Rogue Dog Villains.
“Some guys from San Diego moved in our neighborhood, Dr. Bop and Rock Daddy,” he said. “They were the niggas with the money and everything and they were Bloods. Before then our neighborhood was 5 6 Ville. 57th Street Rogue Dogs. And later on I put ‘em together and we created a rap group called the 57th Street Rogue Dog Villains. You know what I’m saying? I merged the two gangs. But Rock Daddy and Dr. Bop came in and fucked up the 50’s. And when I say ‘fucked up the 50’s,’ this is why we wear the colors we wear. Even though we’re out of that shit some things, some habits are hard to break. I can’t say that I’m not a Blood because I really—I grew up with these dudes and I’ve done things with these guys.”
As a result of Tech N9ne’s former gang ties, the Kansas City rapper says he was able to set up a visit with Lil Wayne when the Young Money emcee was serving time at Rikers Island.
“We’re well connected to a lot of good people that did a lot of crazy things back in the day…That’s how I got into Rikers to see Wayne,” Tech said. “It was a street connection…I think Flex asked him ‘who do you want to work with’ when he gets out and he said Andre 3000 and my man, Tech N9ne…To tell him ‘thank you’ for even saying my name. And he said ‘Man, I been on you since the Gang Related soundtrack, 98’…Then he said right after that the ‘Wake Up Show Anthem.’ That’s what he said.”
As one of the founders of Strange Music, Tech N9ne has assisted in signing a number of artists to the label including Jay Rock. Through his deal with Strange Music the Los Angeles rapper was able to release his debut studio album, Follow Me Home.
Other artists signed to Strange Music include Rittz, Krizz Kaliko and Wrekonize.