Tech N9ne is doing something different with the approach to his 15th studio album, Special Effects. For the first time in his career, the Kansas City-emcee has decided to release the intro to the album months ahead of it’s release date. The track is called “Aw Yea? / Intervention” and showcases an emotional Tech N9ne asking God for answers to all of the injustice taking place around the world.
“Now on this album, Special Effects, I’m starting with my darkness again, just like it started on Anghellic. It started in hell. Yes, my own hell. Now it’s starting dark again with ‘Aw Yea? / Intervention’. You’ve got the nine piece choir singing ‘Audire Domine.’ It’s Latin for ‘Listen, Lord.’ I said I wanted a song where I was talking to God and Isaac Kates came through with his nine piece choir and fucking killed it. Fucking beautiful! The whole song means something… It’s called ‘Aw Yea? / Intervention’ because I need one after seeing all this shit over the years. I let it all loose in one song.”
In this exclusive conversation with HipHopDX, Tech N9ne details the specific meanings behind references to Mike Brown, Boko Haram, Bill Cosby, and O.T. Genasis’ “Coco”—all of which are included in “Aw Yea? / Intervention”. Follow along.
Tech N9ne Explains Motivation Behind “Aw Yea”
HipHopDX: “Aw Yea?” sounds like a prayer.
Tech N9ne: It’s a question to God. Aw yea? This is what’s going to be going on? Aw yea? With what Boko Haram is doing to people over there because they want a different type of education? They gotta die for that shit? They gotta kidnap women, they gotta do all that? For real? With all this shit happening and terror shit is happening and fucking Australia is happening, Benghazi, everything…
I never really give people my political side at all. I’m just mentioning things that pissed me off about what’s going in the world. It’s like, ‘Aw yea?’ to God. Really? This is what’s supposed to be happening? It’s supposed to be about love but it ain’t about love. I talked about all these things—the problems in Libya. I talked about Ferguson. I talked about the police in New York. Everything is built up so that’s why I made this the first song on my album [Special Effects]. It’s called “Aw Yea? / Intervention” because I need one after seeing all this shit over the years. I let it all loose in one song. I named all these things that’s going on in the world and I didn’t even get to ask about what’s going on with my momma. My momma died June 6 because of Lupus. I talked about all these things in this song that pissed me the fuck off—the unjust shit that’s going on with the police; the unjust shit that’s happening with ISIS; the unjust shit that’s happening everywhere. I let it out on this one.
Originally the fans were going to have to wait to May 5 because I never, ever release the first song on my album because I love to surprise my fans. They have no idea which direction I’m going to go for real. This is for now, though. This song is for now. That’s why I think I should go against what I believe when it comes to my album configuration because the song is so now. By the time May 5 comes there’s going to be so many more tragedies because the world is not ran by people that want to love. It’s ran by people that don’t realize that we need each other to get through all this shit. Everybody needs each other. We all need each other. All races of people need each other. Mutherfuckers say they don’t fuck with this kind of people but they need these people. Mutherfuckers might say “I don’t fuck with Tech N9ne because he’s a weirdo,” but you need me. You need me to spread love because you don’t know nothing about it. What I have to say on all the things that are happening, especially with Boko Haram, what I learned from Big Scoob and Krizz [Kaliko], I was with them two different times. One thing they both said was—Scooby said it first—he said, “Man, what I’m realizing is I gotta stop trying to make people think that what I do is the right way. I should just let people do what they do.” Krizz Kaliko said, ‘Man, I just gotta stop thinking people are stupid that don’t think like me.” To try to murder somebody because they don’t think like you and don’t want to follow the things you follow is so unjust to me. It’s happening everywhere.
If somebody’s gay and somebody’s straight and this mutherfucker hates on him because he prefers being with a man, the real thing about it is that mutherfuckers should just mind their business. If this guy is gay and he prefers a man, you let him prefer a man. He didn’t come touch you on your fucking nut sack and say “Oooh, you’re cute.” He didn’t come squeeze your ass and get in your fucking way. If he’s not in your way, why is there gay bashing? This is what I came up with on my 43rd year of living. When I woke up on New Years Day in [Las Vegas, Nevada] a quote hit me that said “Love has no color or gender.” I truly believe it. Yes, I prefer women. I don’t think nothing is better than that creation that was put here for us. If this man over here prefers that man over there, that is not my problem. So when people are different, just know we can be different. Mind your mutherfucking business. Know that we need each other to get through to each other and we won’t have these tragedies happening. I hate to say that because what I truly believe that as long as there’s poverty, there’s always going to be crime, there’s always going to mutherfuckers that are greedy trying to get it from mutherfuckers that got it. This song “Aw Yeah?” is just asking God “Aw yeah? This is the world we’re supposed to bring babies into? Aw yeah?” It’s kind of like I’m looking for an answer. We’re all looking for an answer.
Tech N9ne Addresses Boko Haram & Bill Cosby
DX: There’s a line on the song that’s really direct at God. “If you’re up there, upstairs / This is Nina telling you to listen.” It feels like less of a question and more of a command.
Tech N9ne: It’s like, I’ll always pray even though sometimes I wonder if anything is listening. That’s what intellectual people do. Sometimes we wonder. I always wonder if there was a spiritual realm because I want to believe if something is listening. We’ve been taught by our elders to have to faith so that’s why we have faith. That’s the only reason we have faith is because we were taught by our elders who were Godly and they told us this is the way to do it. Grandmother, grandfather, my momma, my aunties, uncles all taught me to have faith in God. So no matter how smart I get and how genius I think I am when it comes to books and all this kind of thing, I still pray. So when I said “It’s me telling you to listen” it’s because I’ve been wanting you to listen to my prayers since I started praying and still I’m only 99% sure that something’s listening. That’s why I say “It’s Nina telling you to listen” really hard because I meant it.
DX: There’s another line: “So many circles of sin robbed me / That’s we went angel grim Cosbys…”
Tech N9ne: For so many years shit’s been taken from me. Shit’s been taken from us. That’s why we go “angel to grim Cosby.” [Bill Cosby] was supposed to be wholesome. Now there’s a darker Cosby that exists. Before all this came along about Bill Cosby doing this to these women, Cosby was a name synonymous with wholesome. Now there’s a grim Cosby being painted. It’s like, “OK, this dude was drugging chicks and having his way with them.” We’ve never pictured Bill Cosby to be that person—Mr. Jello Pudding Pop. Krizz says it in another song we have called “Anti”. He says, “Bill Cosby / What the fuck I was riding with you until the 20th bitch got stuck / I guess the Jello Pudding popped and my mellow / He couldn’t stop / He would give them the spanish fly but fuck it / So would I.” [Laughs] We talk about so much on this album but I can’t talk about much else. I just gave you that one.
Now the grim Cosby’s been painted so I said “So many circles of sin robbed me / That’s why we go angel to grim Cosby.” It’s circumstances. That’s just me saying that. You don’t have to believe that. That’s just my opinion. After being done for so long, this is what you get: The beast, the monster, something you’ve never fathomed that would come forth from somebody that claims to be an angel.
DX: Here’s another line: “But around here loving ‘Coco’ is the bomb / Meanwhile people are taken out by the hands of Boko Haram.”
Tech N9ne: I’m saying that around here we party about being in love with the Coco. And I love it. When it comes on in the club, I’m bangin’ it. But meanwhile, so many are taken out by the hands of Boko Haram. We’re partying over here. Over in Nigeria, it’s fucked up. We need to be aware. We over here partying like it ain’t nothing wrong. Shit’s fucked up over there—where we’re supposed to be from. Let’s just be aware.
Tech N9ne Reacts To Police Brutality
DX: This is a powerful verse. What are Kansas and Missouri like following Ferguson?
Tech N9ne: It’s unfortunate, but as you said, after the Mike Brown thing so many other things started happening that resembled it. “I Can’t Breathe” happened. The little girl that was sleeping that got killed [happened]. The other thing that happened was Kendrick Johnson. A year ago they found him wrapped up in the wrestling mats. It happened in [Georgia]. They tried to say that some bullies did it but the cops covered it up. The school covered it up. There are just so many things happening after Ferguson. It’s just one after another; one after another; one after another. Everything is just so jumbled. You don’t even know what to believe. You’re seeing everything. You’re hearing everything. This is what I think: Mutherfuckers need to not be so scared of people.
One thing I say when I go out in the crowd now that I have in-ears [microphone] during my show is now it’s dangerous. Yes, I am Tech N9ne. I have fans out there. I got some people out there that might not like me because of the things I say. There’s a group of Christians that really don’t like me that think I’m an evil person and they got it all fucking wrong. You never know. Somebody can come do something to you if they think that you’re leading their kids the wrong way. Yes, it’s dangerous for me to go out there. But, like Cee-Lo Green said, it’s too late for us to be scared of our own people. So I go out there in the midst of it. I’m out there with the people. It’s dangerous but it’s too late for us to be scared of people. That’s what I think.
I think that if the officer down there in Ferguson wasn’t so afraid, maybe that wouldn’t have happened. If you’re good with your hands, mutherfuckers won’t get up on you unless the mutherfucker got a gun but the mutherfucker didn’t have a gun. Here’s what I’m thinking: If you’re trained to be a police officer, you’re supposed to be good with your hands. Your supposed to be good in combat. The same thing about choking a mutherfucker to death out there in New York. For real? You gotta Radio Raheem a mutherfucker? If you’re supposed to be trained to do combat without your gun or your baton, you’re supposed to be able to [fight]. On TV when you’re watching Training Day or The Watch—you’re supposed to be able to do that. In the movies it shows it shows you the mutherfuckers are trained in combat. I feel like if mutherfuckers weren’t scared of black males or mutherfuckers weren’t scared of people, we wouldn’t have all these tragedies with these kids. Mutherfuckers are scared of the ghettos. Mutherfuckers are scared to be in certain areas. If you stop being pussy, maybe you won’t have to go for your gun or your baton. Everybody’s punk these days. Even the kids these days is punk and want to shoot everybody. The shit that’s going on in Chicago is fucking crazy as fuck. To bring it all the way back, Chicago to the police to Nigeria to Libya/Benghazi, fucking Australia to terrorism all over the world—bring it back to asking that question to our maker—”Aw yeah?” That’s what I gotta say.
DX: “No fear is the only way / Everyday flatten the beast / At least Anonymous is hacking for peace.”
Tech N9ne: If you’re not scared and have no fear, you can handle these things. Where ever it’s evil in your path, flatten the beast. If somebody approach you that’s evil, you flatten the mutherfucker like Malcolm X said. By any means necessary you survive, mutherfucker. He didn’t believe in turning the other cheek like Martin Luther King, Jr. That doesn’t mean that he didn’t like Martin Luther King, Jr. It just means he had a different way of thinking. The Black Panthers: We gotta defend ourselves from police brutality in our fucking neighborhoods. Shit’s been going on since day one. Mutherfuckers is making such a big deal about Ferguson and everything that’s been happening in New York. Richard Pryor got a joke. I think it was from Live On The Sunset Strip. He was talking about shooting his car up and the police came. “I’m worried about the police. They don’t kill cars. They kill nig-gars.” [Laughs] That’s back then! It’s been going on. It’s just happening one after another. Come on, man, Emmett Till. This has been happening for centuries. So, flatten the beast. At least Anonymous is hacking for peace.
DX: I want to pose a question to you that you pose on the song: “Who’s a brother gonna trust when it’s always dishonor?”
Tech N9ne: If I knew the answer, I wouldn’t have asked it. I asked God that. If I’m asking God that and you’re asking me that, I am not God. I am the KOD—King Of Darkness. I already said everything. I gotta fight everything: Cops, crips, bloods. Everybody is against me, is what I’m trying to say. Who the hell is a brother to trust if there’s always dishonor. “Hate me like Obama.” You know how mutherfuckers hate Obama being in office. That’s hate, you know what I mean? Now I got the answer: I got the answer from Scarface. I probably don’t gotta say it because you already know. Al Pacino said it when he was in the mutherfucking big ass jacuzzi when his girl stormed off. What does Scarface say? “Me! That’s who!” I just got the mutherfucking answer. I asked God and I don’t even have to ask him now! You just fucked up the song! I just had an epiphany, brother. [Laughs] We always knew that because we are gods here—all of us. The Five Percenters always knew that you were a god. You can create like another you. Travis [O’Guin] had a fucking baby boy on his birthday. He created that. He made that happen.
I used to always have this dream when I was young. I used to always have this dream because I grew up in a Christian household before my mom married a Muslim when I was 12 [years-old]. It was a recurring dream. It was Judgement Day and I’m standing in line and I’m looking at a long-ass line. I’m behind people and the line keeps moving slow but I keep looking like, “Damn, what is that thing that keeps changing?” It’s a blurry kind of thing and every time somebody steps over to it, it changes. After I get closer, I see the images changing. And when it got to me, that thing changed into my face. It said, “Now you know you can’t lie to yourself because you know everything about you.” That was me saying I’m a god because God is me. God is you. You can’t lie to yourself. Those are the kinds of dreams I was having during childhood. It makes me think about now. Who do I trust: Me. Nobody knows me like I do. How can I lie to myself? God. All of us. What’s up, god?