DAMIEN KING LEE (3s): Hi, I’m Damien King Lee and this is the fucked up story of my life and the lives of my guests. In this series of podcasts, I’ll be speaking to unique and inspiring individuals about their life, their personal stories, struggles, and experiences.
THE VOICE (24s): Hi there and welcome to Life Is with Damien King Lee this is The Voice and I am talking to you this week, all the way from the Serengeti in Tanzania. Yes, a remote introduction. So, our guest this week is the incomparable Tech N9ne and special co-host is Alex Chisnall with Damien and I hope you guys enjoy this conversation as much as I did listening to it. Tech is an incredible rapper, entrepreneur and philosopher, all round good egg. And in fact, he recorded this entire episode in the car in-between meetings, and he was still one of the most fascinating people that we’ve met.
THE VOICE (1m 8s): Thank you so much for listening. Enjoy.
DAMIEN KING LEE (1m 15s): And that’s what I was going to ask you. That was one of the questions I know you, man, you too, and you do the concert of the concert and you’ve been doing that for years, right? And I mean, man, that’s going to have some wear and tear on you, you know, both mentally, physically relationship wise. I mean, you know, what toll has it taken on you is an artist, and you know, going out there and working on your craft and reaching the fans. That has toll on you.
TECH N9NE (1m 44s): Yeah, totally. The thing about is me having this break because of COVID, it made me realize that I got to see family more now, because I gave time… I gave the time away being with my kids, I have three children, two girls in a boy, I lost so much time with my children spreading the word of Tech N9ne all over the world for all of these years. And I lost time with my family, you know, had a divorce in there somewhere, you know? And… But it taught me, this break taught me to hold on to my family and be more present, you know, because I’ve actually been on tour for these whole 20 years.
TECH N9NE (2m 41s): You know, I’ve lost a lot of time I missed graduations because of big shows at Red Rocks. So, you know, stuff like that, man, you know what I’m saying? Missing birthdays constantly, because I am giving myself to the fans to grow this thing we call Tech N9ne, you know, and I lost a lot of friends because of being in a way, because time… What I learned is time is more precious than money. You like y’all was sending money home, taking care of my children and everything, but in the long run, they don’t care about none of that. They don’t care about that
DAMIEN KING LEE (3m 17s): They want Daddy, yeah.
TECH N9NE (3m 17s): They don’t care about putting them in college and all that good stuff, putting them through college… that stuff goes out the window when you are not present, you know? So, I’m learning that time means everything with a family and friends, and I’m glad that I’d get a second chance with my people. And, you know, with my personal relationships, you know, we’ve found a way to make this travel thing work. You know what I mean, just seeing each other a lot on the road, you know what I mean? Its important when you have a partner like that, you know what I mean?
TECH N9NE (3m 58s): Away all the time, people need love and time and that’s what I’m working on right now, man, mending all the time I lost with my children and my family, you know?
DAMIEN KING LEE (4m 14s): And that’s the positivity that you’ve taken out of that, that whole COVID situation, right? It’s positive, every lining and a look, you know, the same thing with my kids, you know, I’ve been a, I’ve been a busy entrepreneur all my life too and I’ve always put my career before my family, many times. I’ve just got married on Saturday again third time. So yeah.
TECH N9NE (4m 37s): Wow, congratulations, man.
DAMIEN KING LEE (4m 37s): You know, three-day honeymoon and back at work [laughs] But you know what, this whole thing with COVID was just amazing with the kids were at home. My kids at 12 and 13. We were forced to be locked down together and it was beautiful. It was beautiful. And I lost touch with being a dad. I lost touch with being a good partner to my now wife. And that’s really given me that chance to, to reconnect. And as you said, rebuild those bridges man in a way. That’s a good thing.
TECH N9NE (5m 10s): Totally man. Actually, actually I would’ve still been on tour right now if COVID never happened. And my son’s 26 birthday is tonight and we are celebrating at a wonderful restaurant tonight and I’m going to be here for it so I’m happy about that.
DAMIEN KING LEE (5m 29s): Wow, 26th, he’s really grown up. Is that the eldest?
TECH N9NE (5m 34s): Nope. Nope. He just turned 26. My eldest Aliyah she’s about to be 27 next. You know what I’m saying? And my youngest, my youngest Rainbow is 21 now.
DAMIEN KING LEE (5m 45s): Okay. Wow.
TECH N9NE (5m 47s): And I’m younger than all of them!
DAMIEN KING LEE (5m 51s): [Laughs]
TECH N9NE (5m 52s): They think, they think I’m seeing doctor … you know what I’m saying?
DAMIEN KING LEE (5m 56s): I want to know that moisturizer you are you using, man.
TECH N9NE (6m 5s): Actually Dr. [inaudible] he’s out there in London now he’s sent me a whole package of all of his creams and everything, but I don’t use it, my lady does.
DAMIEN KING LEE (6m 17s): Wow. Well, tell you what, you’re glowing, man, you’re glowing.
TECH N9NE (6m 21s): Thank you, thank you.
DAMIEN KING LEE (6m 24s): You know what, you know, I, I look, I was a going back to earlier out a discussion about rap and me growing up back home in Australia and you know, rap was kind of foreign to me, you know, my genre of music, I loved my rock, I loved my pop music and you know, all kinds of music. And I, I didn’t really understand rap at the time and earlier on my days of growing up in Australia rap wasn’t a big in Australia. You know, it was huge and then it grew into Australia as its gone globally. And you know, there’s… You, you mentioned someone earlier and it was kind of my real first exposure to a rap, is Ludacris. You know, Chris?
DAMIEN KING LEE (7m 6s): Yeah. His family are kind of like family to me, his mum and his uncles and niece and nephews, you know we’ve been around each other for many, many years. And you know, I watched sort of Chris… because of his uncle who is a very close friend of mine, uncle Bob, I watched Chris’s career from the early days, you know, sort of bubble and he’d talk proudly about his nephew, Chris and, and that was kind of my introduction to rap and you know, it wasn’t until I’ve more recently sort of found out about you and I really wanted you on the show. And I started to listen to your lyrics, how you rap and man, I, you know, it’s amazing, it’s inspiring, it’s a powerful and suddenly I’m deeply into a rap and your music now seriously.
DAMIEN KING LEE (7m 53s): And I, and I obviously am blown away, but not only by your, your, your lyrics, but your videos. Their mind-blowing.
TECH N9NE (8m 1s): Yes, sir
DAMIEN KING LEE (8m 2s): I mean, who, who, who comes up with your videos?
TECH N9NE (8m 6s): We do it collectively, man here at Strange Music, man. You know, I might have an idea, you know, like for Outdone, I have an idea as to where I want to all three of my characteristics to collide, you know, and they made it come to life, you know, or they might come up with something for I don’t give a fu… You know, and we just bounce ideas back and forth, man. You know what I mean? The team work makes the dream work, you know?
ALEX CHISNALL (8m 28s): And Tech, you still, I mean, we are watching the situation in the US from the UK here trying to, you know, understand it and, and see it, and then are you a glass half full kind of guy, you glass half empty kind of guy? What’s the situation there at the moment? Are you an optimist, are you a pessimist? Where do you kind of see things at the moment in the current climate?
TECH N9NE (8m 54s): Once again, I don’t want to put a title on me. All I know, because I stand for love and respect and understanding and helping people that need help. That’s what I am. So you can put it, you can put a title on that if you want to. I’m always optimistic about something being brighter. You know what I mean? Because I know what I put it in the universe, if it’s positive, I’m not expecting it back, but it is going to return to me because I’m not putting negative or deceitful things in the, in the universe. You know what I mean? So I’m always optimistic about something being bright because I can create the light.
TECH N9NE (9m 37s): I am the light. So I spread the light everywhere I go. You can feel me radiating, through this thing right now.
DAMIEN KING LEE (9m 44s): Yes, sir.
ALEX CHISNALL (9m 45s): Yeah, your energy.
DAMIEN KING LEE (9m 46s): Yes, sir because I have that bright light. Everybody don’t have that bright light. Somebody walks… Some people walk in the room and they’ll bring the whole room down with their depression and anxiety but even those people, I lift up with my positive way of thinking. If we do this, we can spread this to the people and the people love it. And they’ll all watch us and all of us, you know what I mean? We can give people a sense of hope cause if I could make it out of way minor projects, eating scraps, you can too. Straight up.
DAMIEN KING LEE (10m 27s): Beautiful, man, that’s a beautiful.
ALEX CHISNALL (10m 30s): And did, did you always think that, like when you documented before, you know, going from one label to the second label, to the third label… At that stage in your life, were you still thinking you could make it, where there are dark moments there? Where are you seriously doubted not just yourself, but your, your, your very talent? That somebody could recognize it? Or do you just think that the people you were working with at the time didn’t know which box to pick you in because you, you had, you had all these different tools that you were bringing to the party.
TECH N9NE (11m 5s): Well, the thing about it, it is man. Like I said, I always knew I had something special. So yeah, it was discouraging because I knew that I was rapping on the level that I could rap with the best you know. And as I kept pushing, the next thing you know, I was on tour was one of the best Jay-Z. Like, you know, I was doing music with one of the best, Eminem. The next thing you know, I was on the Carter IV with one of the best, Lil’ Wayne, the next thing you know, me and Wiz Khalifa, it just keeps going. Me and Ice Cube. All of the people I listened to when I was younger, I started working with.
TECH N9NE (11m 49s): Roger Troutman, Ice Cube, you know what I’m saying? T.I… All of these people. So yeah it was discouraging that people couldn’t see it. But the only difference was my ascension in this game was not televised like it was for Nas or like it was for Jay-Z or like it was, they didn’t get to see me, the young, fat Nine on television, on beats here at MTV, my ascension from year to year, it was an underground movement so it was harder for me. So yeah, it was discouraging, but I knew! I knew that I had something special, Busta Rhymes saw it and he was like: Whoa.
TECH N9NE (12m 33s): Next thing you know, he was on a song with me. You know what I mean? Worldwide shoppers. You know what I mean?
ALEX CHISNALL (12m 38s): But you manifested that by the sound of it, did you not?
TECH N9NE (12m 41s): Manifested it. The energy I put out there, that music, it connects with people. I do what I love in my heart, but I’m not the only one that has these thoughts. There are people… because we are all connected as human beings. We just don’t want to be because we have different skin tones and different religious beliefs and you know, Democrat, Republican, all of these different things that we have that will put barriers in between us. You know what I mean? But that energy connected all walks of life, that energy.
TECH N9NE (13m 21s): Because even though I’m weird with the rest by [inaudible], I used to get my hair burnt out, even though I was weird with the painted face and all that there that are the same way. I just did a song with a guy in London his name is Kid Bookie and we connected through Corey Taylor from a song that we did recently for Cory Taylor’s solo record and next thing you know, when that song comes out in London, you going to say Woah, it’s a beautiful song. We never met face to face, but that energy from Kansas city touched Kid Bookie all the way out in London.
TECH N9NE (14m 7s): You know what I mean? And now we have a song together. That’s the magic of wonderful and beautiful energy. It spreads, brother. So I’ve always had it. I’ve always known that I had something special. It just had to take a while to get to everybody. And I’m still going up. I’m still going up. I got some things coming. Are you going to say whoa, whoa.
ALEX CHISNALL (14m 31s): Looking forward to it!
DAMIEN KING LEE (14m 32s): Yeah and that’s a beautiful, I mean, that, that energy you’ve got. I mean, come on. You know, you’re coming up to 50 the birthday next, right? After this one.
TECH N9NE (14m 40s): Yeah. After this one, next, next November, I’ll be half a century, yes
DAMIEN KING LEE (14m 46s): Half a damn century and that’s a, that’s a biggie. And that’s a beautiful, I’ve recently done that one
TECH N9NE (14m 53s): [Laughs] It’s crazy, but look at me though, look at me though you know what I’m saying? My kids be like: Daddy, you are embarrassing us, stop!
DAMIEN KING LEE (15m 6s): [Laughs] Are you a granddad by any chance?
TECH N9NE (15m 8s): Nope, nope. Don’t put that evil on me.
DAMIEN KING LEE (15m 13s): [Laughs] Well, man, that’s good. It’s incredible, as you said, the spirit, the energy, and you have so much to give. I mean, I mean, career-wise, I mean, a lot of people stop and think I’ve achieved what I wanted to achieve and the careers, I have made the money, I’ve had the success. I’ve given my love to the world on so many levels that, you know, time maybe now I want to put my feet up. Enjoy, the, the hard gift’s of my hard work and labour of love. When is it time for you? Or, is that not even on the cards?
TECH N9NE (15m 50s): I told my fans like four years ago that when I turned 50, I was going to slow down doing tours and slow down doing records and help my artist’s because I got like 16 artists, 15 artists, I think 15 or 16 artist that I really want to help find their lanes because there so spectacular, you know. But over the years I noticed that my fans are getting younger and younger on tour. When I did all of those tours last year in Europe twice and Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and domestically and all of that.
TECH N9NE (16m 34s): And you know, I start seeing my fan base getting a younger, dude. I’m like, they never going to let me stop. What do I look like? Stopping when I am half a century and they’re still like, Tech what’s next? So with that being said, I’d been hauling ass and I’ll put out a a LP, April 17th, right in the midst of the pandemic, you know, it’s called Enterfear and then with that album, I chose, like I accidentally chose 32 beats. I just accidentally bought 32 beats.
TECH N9NE (17m 14s): That’s a lot of beats to consume and to write things about, you know what I’m saying? They’re not the same thing. But if you listen to Enterfear all of those 19 songs, I couldn’t put all 32 songs on there so August 15th I released an EP called More fear that has six more of those beats on it and then the 23rd of October, I just dropped Fear Exodus that had six more of those songs on it. You know what I’m saying? So I used all of the beats you know what I mean? And they are beautiful. And then now I’m searching for beats now for my next record, since I exited my fears on Fear Exodus, because once you exit fear nobody can scare you at anything, you know what I’m saying?
TECH N9NE (18m 1s): Things on the TV or how many people got COVID and why everybody needs the vaccine. And this, none of that, none of that scares me. I’ve exited all my fears. So what happens when you exit your fears and people look at you, like, hold on, why are you doing that? Then I’m going to be asinine and to everybody else and everything I do will be Asin9ne. So my next record is called Asinine, completely stupid you know what I mean? Completely crazy. You know what I mean? That’s where I’m going musically Asin9ne at night. So I’m energized and I got so much more coming up.
TECH N9NE (18m 45s): Asin9ne supposed to drop around April next year. So I’m choosing beats for it right now, but I’ve got other projects that are dropping like this year, dude. So what are you …
DAMIEN KING LEE (18m 57s): Yeah, I hear you are doing a virtual tour, what’s that all about? What’s a virtual world tour? 4 (19m 3s): The virtual world… concert experience. It’s going to be a concert one night, on the seventh, November 7th. We’re doing a full link Tech N9ne concert that the whole world can tune into, you know what I mean? And it’s going to be myself and Krizz Kaliko doing our full length tour that we were going to be doing right now on the tour and supposed to start April 1st. Do you know what I mean? 4 (19m 45s): And…
DAMIEN KING LEE (19m 45s): What’s that date again?
TECH N9NE (19m 48s): November 7th. It’s the day before my birthday, we are going to bring my birthday in that night on stage. You know what I mean? I know that it’s going to be, you know, in Australia is going to be like 5:00 or 7:00 AM, I think if I’m not mistaken. Like 8:00 PM central time, I think in Australia and New Zealand, it’s like 5:00 AM or 7:00 AM and something like that, right? I think, you know, something, the same thing with Russia and Turkey is going to be kind of late in the am.
DAMIEN KING LEE (20m 28s): They’ll be staying up, they’ll be standing up.
TECH N9NE (20m 30s): Yeah, a lot of them said they’ll be staying up. It’s going to be the first time I’m doing something like this, you know a live stream, because we want to give the fans something special. We were going to have merchandise that you can only get during the live stream and you won’t be able to get it after that, so there will be a button for that. You know what I mean, me and Chris are going to bring you that tour that they didn’t get to see in person on a live stream, November 7th, a full lenght concert, like an hour and 20 minutes worth of Tech N9ne and Krizz Kaliko.
DAMIEN KING LEE (21m 9s): Sounds awesome. And then that, okay, November 7th, well I’ll be staying up, man for that one. And it sounds like you are going to be seriously, the, you are going to be touring like the Rolling Stones for years to come. We are going to see a lot of you.
TECH N9NE (21m 27s): Yeah [laughs] but I’m going to find time like I didn’t find to find time when I was younger. I’m going to find time to make time for my family though.
DAMIEN KING LEE (21m 37s): Beautiful. Yeah. So what about the kids? Are they sort of followed daddy into sort of the industry? Or they do completely different things? Or have you inspired them to do… what? 4 (21m 51s): Yeah, my son just started doing an EDM production, like two years ago his name is Dontez. My daughter Alyia graduated from college she majored in broadcasting and got her dream job out there in Oakland, California. My youngest Rainbow wants to be an artist she is super eclectic with the music. You know what I mean? So it runs in the family. Everybody’s just doing their own thing right now, working on their future, you know.
DAMIEN KING LEE (22m 24s): Beautiful. I mean, can you bring them into the business or are they quite independent kids? 4 (22m 31s): Quite independent kids. Quite independent. Yeah. Quite independent kids. Do you know what I mean? And that’s the way I would like it. You know what I mean? Find their own path like they’re doing and I’ll help in any way I can. Yo, it’s time for my… I’m at Strange Music. My rehearsal starts in five minutes.
DAMIEN KING LEE (22m 56s): Right, listen. You have been amazing.
ALEX CHISNALL (22m 59s): You’ve been an awesome. Yeah.
DAMIEN KING LEE (23m 1s): It’s been an absolute pleasure to have you today. I can’t wait to get to love your music even more. You are an incredible guy
TECH N9NE (23m 10s): Thank you
DAMIEN KING LEE (23m 11s): And keep doing what you’re doing, man. People love ya.
ALEX CHISNALL (23m 13s): Thanks for the inspiring everybody. It’s a great story
TECH N9NE (23m 20s): Wonderful.
THE VOICE (23m 19s): I hope you enjoyed that episode as much as I did listening to it. Alex is a better of co-host than me, let’s be honest so I hope he comes back for more. Thank you for listening. This has been Damien King Lee, Life Is with The Voice outro-ing and asking you very much to subscribe and stay tuned for the next episode. Stay tuned for the next episode, thanks.