FROM TECH N9NE'S PERSPECTIVE
On how he first reacted when he heard the beat for “B.I.T.C.H.”:
The beat told me to say it. Sometimes I just listen to the beat and I’m like, ‘wow, that’s creepy sounding, so when I say creepy, I’m like creeping…nah, I’m not creeping, I’m breaking into colored houses. I got the title right when I listened to the beat, and after that, all the content started coming. I haven’t told anybody this ever, but the first idea I had was to get Future to do the chorus. [But] T-Pain is the homie, and I never met Future, so I didn’t know how to go about it, so I said, ‘I’ma call my nigga that I know can get it done.’ Not that Future couldn’t get it done, but I know that T-Pain could get it done, and he got the motherfucker done.
On how the recording happened:
Seven got the beat to me, via e-mail or something, and I loved it. And, I came up with the thing, and I recorded my verses like a couple days later. After I recorded it and got a good mix on it, I sent it to T-Pain and he hit me right back. He felt it, and I’m so glad he felt it. I made the right choice.
On linking up with T-Pain again on “B.I.T.C.H.”:
It’s a really serious song, for real, even though it’s a fun song, ‘cause if you know the history of Tech N9ne or have read any past interviews, you know that a lot of my people, Black folk... it started in Kansas City that I was a devil worshipper, so ever since 2001, my release, Anghellic, a lot of my people have left my music, so I’ve been on a quest ever since to get my people back on this beautiful music, telling them I’m not a devil worshipper, I am a religious guy. Some of the imagery scared a lot of my people. In past albums like MLK, Misery Loves Kompany, I had a song called "Message to the Black Man" that was poking at my people, like 'c'mon, you’re missing this wonderful music man,' 'cause I’m a little bit extreme, I’m a lot more different than a lot of artists, so it can be misconstrued.
So when I heard the beat for “B.I.T.C.H.” and I called it “Breaking Into Colored Peoples’ Houses,” I needed somebody on the chorus, to get me in those houses, you know what I mean, to get me on that television tube and get me into these houses that don’t really accept Tech N9ne. And I called T-Pain ‘cause I know he’s perfect at what he does, and I had to give him a pep talk, I said, ‘you are my instrument, to get me into these folks houses. So you don’t have to say ‘bitch’ on the hook, you don’t have to say anything, you’re just like, ‘I’m breaking into your house, this is what I’m gunna do, through my music, coming through your television.’ And I think he did a wonderful job, and I’ve seen it pop up everywhere now. And I thank him so much to get that message out to my peoples. I asked for so many years, I asked, I been knockin and knockin and knockin. Now I’m breaking into colored houses, as me, and they’re gunna accept me like this, through the song.
On working since 2001 to “break in”:
I’m still breaking in, I ain’t all the way there yet. You don’t hear me on the radio every day at all, you don’t see me on videos at all. So I’m still breaking in, so it’s been awhile. But over the years, certain things have made my people starting coming back, slowly but surely. I’m not totally attributing it to the thing I did with Wayne, but it helped, I’m not attributing it to the BET Cypher, but it helped. Now on this album, Something Else, I’m ‘bout to break all the way in. When I say, “the traps broke when I rapped with Tunechi and stacks dough/OG Mug said I'm gonna be the first rapper to cross over to black folk,” That’s something. 'Cause when you come to a Tech N9ne show, you don’t see many.
On how this song fits in with his upcoming “Something Else” album:
Oh yeah, yeah, it’s a theme. It’s in the first level of the album, in fire. There’s one song that starts the album and “B.I.T.C.H.” is the second song, tentatively. It’s in the darker part of the album. 'Cause the song kinda songs operatic in some ways, it’s kinda dim, but it’s still bass heavy.
On the line ‘this is for your motherfuckin rap quotes’ and the need to be quotable in rap:
I’m not really a quote kinda guy. I thought that I would just say something that everybody felt. “My shit is surprisin' and shockin' like Barack votes.” It was shocking that he won the first time, it was super shocking that he won the second time, right? In a world that is supposed to be racist? So that’s why I said that, you know what I mean. My shit is surprising like Barack votes. My thing is about longevity, my thing is not just having the hit, and I disappear after that hit, I’m gunna have multiple. Always have multiple hits in Strange Land. Now it’s a quest for world domination. So T-Pain is helping me. My second single is gunna come… and two more big dudes are gunna help me. They told me not to name names because I said something about one of my big rock features, and I lost the feature because I said it.
On his favourite line/verse:
Umm let me see. Oh, “With a faded habit this brother swerves when I sip vodka I'm the latest rabbit, in other words; I'm a hip-hopper” I love it. ‘Hip’ is like being up on the latest fashion, and ‘hopper’ the rabit.”I’m the latest rabbit, in other words; I’m a hip-hopper,” that’s wonderful.
FROM THE PRODUCER SEVEN'S PERSPECTIVE
On how the beat came together:
The beat came together when we were right in the middle of the album and Tech wanted to make something that was familiar to us. We hadn’t really made anything with the whole dark/opera influenced sound that we’re known for on the album yet, so I decided to take some choir parts I had been working on and chop them up and everything just came together from there. I made sure to put our signature 808s under everything and it just set everything off. Tech and I had been talking about doing a track with a specific artist on the hook, but didn’t have the song for it yet, and when I played the track for Tech, I told him this is the one we need to throw a singer on. He reached out to T-Pain and he wrote the perfect hook for the song.
On if he made this track specifically for Tech:
I definitely made this track specifically for Tech. I wouldn’t use a track like this for anyone else. It has all of our signature sounds in it. It’s totally a 2013 version of the sound we’ve building for years.
On using his signature opera/choir samples, and how he picks them:
I started using lots of choir samples and phrases years ago when Tech and I started working together. If you trace back to Tech’s album called Everready, you’ll hear a song we did called “Come Gangster” which was the beat that started everything really as far as that “opera” inspired sound goes for me as a producer. To me, Tech was one of the few rap artists that was technical enough to work with big choir harmonies, so I just built on that and it ended up becoming the type of sound you familiarize Tech N9ne with.
When I sit down to look for opera samples, I usually just find a really good high quality patch and play around with chord progressions until something feels right. I’ll stack everything with big lush harmonies and make them feel really big. A lot of times I’ll resample the choir part I’ve put together and then chop it back up as if it was a sample I looped from somewhere. That way it can actually feel like a real sampled loop, but still completely original.
On studio sessions with Tech N9ne:
Tech is awesome to work with in the studio because he’s so specific about everything. He hears everything from start to finish before we’ve even started tracking. He just knows how to map everything out in his head in a way a lot of artists can’t do. He’s so technical. He has a specific way everything needs to be stacked, and harmonized, and chopped. He’s just a genius when it comes to arranging his vocals. It takes us a while to track everything in the studio because there’s so many little intricate parts involved with every part of the song. I usually have huge sessions with tons of tracks. It’s easy for me to rack up 50 or 60 tracks of stereo instruments when working on beat for Tech. Then he goes in and adds another 30 or 40 tracks of vocals. It can get pretty crazy when it comes to mixing everything, but we have an amazing engineer that specializes in Tech N9ne production so it always turns out awesome.
On the direction of the sound for “Something Else” album:
I’ve been working on Something Else for the past year and a half. It’s probably the longest I’ve ever spent on the actual production process of a Tech N9ne album. We’ve been through a lot of phases with the direction of the album over time. It’s turned into a really unique album for Tech and I. It’s just so different. Every time I sat down to work on a beat for this album, it started off being a crazy experimental, unorthodox type of thing… like I would just record every weird percussive sound I could find. I would just take a mic around my house and record scratching on a door or the sound of a spatula scraping against a cookie sheet and go to the studio and make drum kits out of it all. And there’s a lot of really personal material that Tech wrote on this album. The most personal songs he’s ever recorded for sure. He’s really putting it all out there. I really feel like we created something totally new and different this time.
On the equipment used to record the “B.I.T.C.H.” instrumental:
I tracked everything on this song in Logic. I actually just used Logic’s EXS24 sampler to chop up all the choir parts because it was just easier to do it that way on this one. I used a few synths I like for this kind of track- a Roland JP8000 for the all the airy pads and a synth string patch from a Korg MS2000 underneath all the standard string parts to brighten them up and let them pop out a little more. I also used an Access Virus for all the weird loopy percussive stuff underneath the drums. I have always used the piano sounds from the Motif because I have yet to find any software that has piano samples that are that big. And I still use the string patches from the Motif also on tracks like these. The Motif just has the best string and piano sounds I’ve ever found. I pretty much only turn that board on if I’m doing a track specifically like this.
On his go-to machines:
I use a lot of old keyboards for everything. I just like having the knobs and sliders there when I’m playing. I like it to feel human. I’ve really only recently started using a few soft synths that I’ve found that sound good to me. A few of my go-to keyboards are the Juno 106, Nord g2, and Korg Mono/Poly. I use an SE-1 for most of my basslines. I can get a huge sub bass out of it. I used to swear by my MPC4000, but I haven’t turned it on in about 2 years… really ever since I started using Maschine for everything. And I really just use it as a Midi controller most of the time to control the EXS24 in Logic, which is what I use for all of my drum samples now. Other than Logic, I really try to stick with actual hardware since it’s what I’ve been using for years and years and it’s what I understand best.
Giving you the direct perspective from Tech N9ne and his producer Seven, "Track Breakdown" is an HNHH series that highlights a specific cut by speaking to both the artist and producer about the song's creation.
Tech N9ne has been doing music since the '90s, and along the way he's picked up a fan or two (or a lot more). However, the rapper still isn't satisified, and he continues to grind to reach those people who have yet to call themselves Tech N9ne fans. Although, he's aware of why people may be put off by his Strange style, from the way he dresses to his musical output, he's definitely in a lane all on his own. Now, though, Tech is ready to cross over to that mainstream lane, and he's breaking down doors to do it.
His latest single, "B.I.T.C.H.," off his forthcoming thirteenth studio album, Something Else, is a demonstration of Tech's strong desire to reach those houses he has yet to reach-- and those houses happen to belong to Black people, according to the rapper. As he tells us in our interview, when you go to a Tech show, you won't be seeing very many Black people there. Tech explains how his own people have not been accepting of him as a rapper, thinking that he's anti-religious, but now, just as the title of the track indicates, he's "Breaking Into Colored Houses"-- they seem to have no choice in the matter.
We spoke to Tech N9ne about the content of his song "B.I.T.C.H." and he explained to us in-depth the meaning behind the track and what he wanted to accomplish with it, with the help of a mainstream artist, T-Pain on the hook. He reveals to us that his first thought was, surprisingly enough, to get Future on the hook of his track, in order to give it a little mainstream flavour. Tech breaks down some of his favorite lines on the track as well.
We also spoke to Tech's go-to producer, Seven, about how he created the instrumental for "B.I.T.C.H.," and his affinity for using opera or choir samples, something particular to Tech's music. He spoke on the recording on this particular track, as well as what it's like to work with the Strange Music rapper in the studio. As well, we find out some details about the sound of Something Else as a whole.
If you haven't heard the single "B.I.T.C.H." yet, click play below. Then click through the gallery images to find out a lot more about the cut.