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Tech N9ne

A New Look for a New Year

Kansas City rapper Tech N9ne has a clean-cut new look -- his trademark bright red spikes are gone -- but his lyrical style remains poignant and twisted. He returns to the Bay Area later this month in support of his latest album Everready, which includes several tracks produced by Northern California heavyweight Rick Rock, and appearances by Vallejoís E-40 and Sacramento rapper Brotha Lynch. Tech N9ne spoke with SF Station during a phone interview from a tour date in Salt Lake City.

SF Station (SFS): How did you get involved with the Alpha Dog soundtrack?

Tech N9ne (TN): The director Nick Cassavetes was looking for music with a more rap-oriented feel. He listened to my album Absolute Power -- his wifeís kid was a fan -- and called the phone number on the CD.

SFS: Your music probably fits the storyline better than Justin Timberlakeís.

TN: No doubt. Thatís definitely right.

SFS: Why did you get rid of your Mohawk and red hair?

TN: Being a black man on tour, doing a 150 shows a year, I couldnít take care of the dyed and bleach hair. It started falling out and I started looking like a silly clown, so I had to cut it off and start from scratch. Iím in the process of growing my afro back.

SFS: Is it the start of a new era for you?

TN: Yeah, it happened on itís own. Itís a big new era. Everready brought new, refreshing themes and topics, the haircut just happened to follow suit. But, it wasnít an attempt to be different, it was an attempt to not look idiotic with my hair falling out.

SFS: Youíre spending a lot of time in Northern California on this tour. Do you have strong ties to this area?

TN: Yes, I do. Iíve got a lot of lady friends that take care of me while Iím out there. I party when Iím out there. When Iím on tour, I look at it as a party every night. Iím celebrating life. People come pay to see me rap about my pain and my pleasure, especially out on the West Coast. Iím starting to do the East Coast now, too. A couple months ago we went there and I had no idea I had so many fans out there. Weíve been favoring Cali for a long time, but now itís time to spread the wealth.

SFS: There is a connection between the Bay Area and Kansas City rap scenes. Did Bay Area rap have any influence on you when started rapping?

TN: Hell, yeah. When E-40 dropped Mr. Flamboyant, Kansas City was Bay Area-d out. Now, you canít come to Kansas City without getting hyphy or seeing sideshows. The Bay style is deep rooted in Kansas City. Itís crazy how it happened, because we are so far away.

SFS: Why do think Bay Area rap is so popular out there?

TN: Itís a gangsta town. The swagger is so similar to Bay Area swagger, it just goes hand-in-hand. I really have no explanation for it. All I can say is E-40 affected the Midwest, and then came Mac Dre. Everybody is into Thizz Nation now. Everyone in my town says "yadadmean".

SFS: Mac Dre was shot and killed in Kansas City, did that change anything?

TN: That hasnít changed the vibe at all. Kansas City loves Mac Dre. That was some street shit that happened that should have never happened. Itís truly love. Everybody dresses, talks like him and walks like him. Itís just ironic that he died in a place that adored him so.

Tech N9ne performs at the Independent on January 29th. Tickets cost $20, Doors open at 7:30pm and the show starts at 8pm.