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Rose City Connections

Rapper Tech N9ne makes Portland stop

Donovan M. Smith | 10/8/2013, 5:10 p.m.
The Portland Observer caught up with recording artist Tech N9ne when he came to town during his current 50 city ...
Tech N9ne is widely regarded as the most successful independent rapper of all time, with his indie recording label "Strange Music" expected to rake in upwards of $20 million this year.

DMS: And I know you’ve probably been asked this question a thousand times, but balancing where you come from, which is bangin’ and coming into an arena where a lot of your fans have been Juggalos, and white people—and—how do you find that balance of knowing who you are at the end of the day? What keeps you rooted in that?

Tech: I’m everything. I’m 3 dimensional. I’m the King, the Clown, and the G. I don’t have to change myself. This facepaint has been me since ’94. They beauty of Tech N9ne is just that I give it all, and you take it as it is you nah’m sayin’.

DMS: You’re called the most successful rapper

Tech: Independent.

DMS: Yeah, yeah, and people base that off of money.

Tech: Yeah they do.

DMS: So what defines success for you?

Tech: Success for me is seeing my artists prospering as well as me, and I’ve prospered for years. Now I have like many artists that are prospering as well, off of something that I built. I love that, that’s successful to me. When you can go from riding in a 12 passenger van almost dying flipping over back in ’05 [looks down at tattoo with date of the incident], um, to paying for three humongous buses for other artists and crew to ride on to come on your tour, that’s success to me. To be able to see fans, sold out every night and everybody smiling at you as opposed to frowning at you and throwing shit at you. That’s real success right there, when you look out in the crowd and it’s everybody smiling. That’s the [expletive], yeah.

DMS: You got any advice for the young, I’ll say black people tryna come up. Not just in rap, just in life?

Tech: Young black people tryna come up, it’s hard if you don’t have education. Education is the key to everything. The more you know, the more people you can talk to.

--Donovan M. Smith