Tech N9ne comes to the Verizon Center

Rapper Tech N9ne is hitting Mankato Thursday at the Verizon Wireless Center for his third stop on the “Calm Before The Storm” tour. The veteran emcee is on tour to promote his album The Storm, an album that comes 20 years after his first album the tour shares its name with.

The album was supposed to come out just prior to the start of the tour but has been delayed to ensure better quality for fans.

“I needed a lot more time to make the perfect ‘storm’ because my last album was really elite,” said Tech.

The Storm is going to be getting back to Tech’s roots with a sound and themes similar to how his first album sounded.

“Calm Before the Storm was a lot more gangster than most of my albums so I went that route,” explained Tech.

The album will be separated in what Tech called three different dimensions: “Kingdom”, “Clown Town” and “G-Zone” with each dimension having a different feel. “Kingdom” will feature more high headed and egotistical songs, “Clown Town” will feature darker music, and “G-Zone” will feature more gangster music.

With all the turmoil that has been going on recently, it comes as no surprise that he would touch on some of these events.

“In the ‘G-Zone’, I’ve got a song called ‘What If It Was Me’ that talks about Alton Sterling,” he said.

The album is now slated for a Dec. 9 release.

This tour is made special not only from the fact that Tech’s still able to tour 20 years after his first album, but also because he gets to showcase longtime friend Jay Ell, who he described as a “murdering lyricist”.

“I get to bring my lil’ homie that grew up on the block back in the day when we were doing music. Now he’s finally an artist on Strange Music so we’re on our first tour,” said Tech.

Joining Tech and Jay will be Strange Music mainstay Krizz Kalliko.

“That’s my brother, we started this together. You rarely see Tech without Krizz. He’s everywhere that I am,” said Tech.

The two have made a career off of what they built with Strange Music. In a genre of music that is dominated by youth, it’s often hard for any rapper to have a career that can span multiple albums, let alone two decades. Yet, that’s exactly what they’ve done.

Tech says he attributes this “to the fans I’ve gathered from giving my heart on paper to record or CD from the start. I connect with people because of emotion.”

To be an independent label, you have to have dedication from your fans, and Tech noted it’s because of the fans that come out and support him at shows or buy his records that both he and Strange Music are able to stay afloat.

Strange Music is old enough to remember a time when it wasn’t as easy as being an artist discovered on YouTube or building a following through Twitter, yet it’s still among the best independent labels a rapper could be signed with in 2016. It’s an incredible feat to hold that sort of longevity in hip-hop.

“I think it’s harder for people like us to stay afloat, but that shows how resilient we are to stay afloat when everything is crumbling,” said Tech.

Catch Tech N9ne, Krizz Kaliko, and Jay Ell at 7 p.m, Thursday at the Verizon Wireless Center.

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