Tech N9ne

The Kansas City rap king has sold more than 500,000 albums independently, performed in front of more than half a million people in the last three years and established himself as one of underground rap's most respected artists. With the impending release of his third national album, the monumental Everready (The Religion), Tech N9ne is poised to graduate from one of rap's best-kept secrets to a major international superstar.

After experiencing a number of professional setbacks while promoting his critically acclaimed Anghellic and Absolute Power albums, Tech N9ne felt that Everready (The Religion) was an affirmation of his staying power. "I wanted to name it Everready because if you look at the old Eveready batteries, their logo included nine lives," Tech explains. "That album title symbolizes nine lives, another life after death. I've had a lot of deaths in the music industry and there's still life after all that. The Religion, the reason I subtitled it that is because I want this album to be something that's being studied or praised. It's like calling it a doctrine."

Such a mandate is a natural conclusion after listening to Everready (The Religion). The album teams with blockbuster songs and stellar production. "Jellysickle," for instance, features Bay Area rap legend E-40 and a thumping, addictive club-ready beat from superproducer Rick Rock (Jay-Z, Fabolous). Despite the track's freshness, it made Tech N9ne think back to his early material.

"It reminded me of an old Tech N9ne, like 'Mitch Bade,'" he reveals. "It's like a 2006 'Mitch Bade,' so I had to talk about the same thing: jealous people, stupid people. Kansas City is a place where hatred is at an all-time high. I thought it would capture that persona of the ghetto."

As Tech N9ne has emerged as one of rap's most innovative, creatively fearless artists, there has been a segment of his fans who feel that he's abandoned his hardcore background. Tech addresses the situation on the aggressive yet elegantly produced "Come Gangsta." "After all these years of people telling me that my music was for white people, that I needed to come with gangster stuff," Tech says. "Music is supposed to inspire and evolve. Andre 3000 isn't still doing 'Player's Ball.' He evolved. That was always on my mind, that people were always telling me to come gangster. When it comes to it, my one gangster song can demolish their whole CD. I was inspired to write about the type of people that were telling me to come gangster."



Tech N9ne delivers more high-energy heat on "Welcome To The Midwest" with Big Krizz Kaliko. He continues his harder edge on the macabre "My World," with Brotha Lynch Hung, and the warped "In My Head." On these two tunes he raps about mad and sad topics, things that pain him. He expresses a similar sentiment on "The Rain," a touching ode to his wife and children. Much like Tech N9ne's classic "This Ring," "The Rain" features Tech N9ne giving his fans an intimate look into his life and his career, a look made all the more personal because the song features his two daughters rapping about how much they miss their father.

"Any man with a kid that's on the road a lot can relate to that, whether you're a musician, a doctor, a director," Tech explains. "A lot of people are not to be there for their family in the flesh, and they're hurting because they miss their loved ones."

People of all backgrounds can also relate to friction in their relationships. Tech N9ne conceptualized the riveting "My Wife, My Bitch, My Girl" during a low point in his marriage. "At the time I wrote that song, me and my wife were doing really bad," he reveals. "I wrote that song in my bitter stage, when I was saying whatever I wanted to say. '(My wife) don't like me/(My bitch) gets hyphy/(My girl) might knife me twice just to spite me.' That's how I had the balls to write it. I didn't care anymore. I just wanted to release it."

Tech N9ne then talks about his breast fetish on the sinister "Flash" and about his crew's road adventures on the heavy "Groupie." But touring hasn't been all fun and games for Tech N9ne. On the rock-influenced "Riot Maker," he details some of the problems he's had while trying to perform for his fans. "At the time, we were going through a lot of things," Tech says. "I wasn't able to go to Hawaii because the promoters said my music incites riots. At the same time, this girl was trying to sue me for $100,000 for cracking her own skull at my show and I wasn't even in the building yet."

An explosive recording artist, Tech N9ne has long earned praise from his fans because of his ability to deliver mind-blowing raps about his struggle to navigate through life's pitfalls. His willingness to shed his ego and allow his followers to look at the high and low points of his experience has earned Tech N9ne a rabid, dedicated following.

"A lot of people when they come up to me, they say, 'The reason why I like you Tech is that you say what you feel and you're not afraid to say anything,'" Tech says. "That's so tight because so many use discretion. I think I've inspired people to say what they feel because I've opened my life up for people to see."

With such powerful music, it should come as no surprise that Tech N9ne's reach continues expanding. Several of his songs are featured in the forthcoming Alpha Dog film, which stars Justin Timberlake and Sharon Stone. His music also appears on the latest edition of the fan favorite Madden NFL video game series, as well as the action video game 25 to Life. He also appears as a playable character on the latter.

But for now, it is all about indoctrinating his fans to Everready (The Religion). "This is Anghellic, Absolute Power combined," Tech says. "If I could have titled this album One Big Clusterfuck, I would have because I think it has everything. It has the personal stuff Anghellic had or the party stuff that Absolute Power had. I think this is my best work." Believe it.

Krizz Kalico

It’s not every day a musical genius is born. With the release of his third solo CD, SHOCK TREATMENT, KRIZZ KALIKO convincingly claims that title. After working with Tech N9ne and Strange Music for 10 years, performing over 200 shows a year, KRIZZ KALIKO has earned a spot among Hip Hop’s elite. His solo debut, 2008’s Vitiligo, landed at No. 19 on the Billboard charts and he has been instrumental in Tech N9ne’s incredible success: In 2008, Tech N9ne SoundScanned over one million units, making him the most successful independent Hip Hop artist in history.

KRIZZ KALIKO is the sonic “glue” of Strange Music. “I’m Tech’s right hand man in writing,” he says. “It’s a weird, beautiful chemistry. Tech and Travis [O’Guin] handle the business, and Tech and I are the creative force at Strange Music. The yin and the yang. Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis. Tech and I have the same philosophy about the quality of music. We’ve been working together so long I know where he wants to go.”

Born in Kansas City, MO., KRIZZ KALIKO was raised by a mom who spoon-fed him music. As an opera and gospel singer, as well as being the choir director of their church, his mother sang to him and, fortunately, made him sing with his sisters. He performed in the choir all throughout his early teens and his mom often treated the family to live concerts from artists like the Gap Band and Run-DMC. By the time KRIZZ KALIKO met Tech N9ne, he was already trying to figure out how to fuse opera and Hip Hop.

Brotha Lynch Hung

Hip-hop ambitions are often described in terms of "hunger", but no known MC has an appetite quite like Brotha Lynch Hung. This is not simply the peckishness of a seasoned artist still making music while his former contemporaries have long passed their sell-by date. This is the ravenous hunger of Mannibalector, Brotha Lynch Hung's flesh-chomping, gore-streaked altered ego and the antagonistic protagonist at the dark heart of Coathanga Strangla, the genuinely stunning new album by Brotha Lynch Hung.

Coathanga Strangla re-introduces listeners to the not so nice but strangely sympathetic guy they met on Lynch's 2010 album Dinner and a Movie. The "autocratic automatic reaper" instantly joined the entertainment biz pantheon of indelible killers like Mannibalector's cinematic predecessor, Silence Of The Lambs sicko Hannibal Lector. "I watch a lotta horror movies and I really love meat," says Lynch, "so I put that together and out came Mannibalector."

Longtime fans will, of course, recognize these deviant tendencies. Brotha Lynch Hung's 1993 debut, 24 Deep (Black Market Records) found his "human meat pot luck" already underway (who can forget the image: "find your brain cookin' in a barbecue pit"?). The 1995 release of the Sacramento (CA) native's certified Gold classic, Season of da Siccness, followed and Lynch has released a steady stream of music ever since, making him an ideal match for the do-or-die work ethic of his current label home, Strange Music.

Kansas City-based Strange Music is currently the most successful outfit in independent hip-hop and home to Tech N9ne. Dinner and a Movie was Lynch's first album released by Strange, but Tech N9ne and Brotha Lynch have history: Tech appeared on "187 On A Hook" from Lynch's Blocc Movement in 2001, and in 2006 Lynch delivered a standout verse on "My World" from Tech N9ne's Everready album. "Strange Music understands me, they've really given me a fresh start," says Lynch. "As strange as it sounds, I feel like I'm just getting going with my career."

Make no mistake however: what feels like a fresh start for Lynch is coinciding with a high point in his artistic evolution. Always one to look to movies for inspiration, Lynch says that repeated viewings of the Hostel films had a direct effect on Coathanga Strangla. "Some horror movies are too ridiculous," he says, "but Hostel has a very realistic feeling. It's not scary like boo! — it's more like this could happen. That's an authenticity I'm going for in my music."

It's that sense that gives Coathanga Strangla its compelling core. With its bowel-bothering bass line and toothpick percussion (courtesy of producer Michael "Seven" Summers), "Mannibalector" is a cannibal lecture (replete with requisite slaughter) the reveals the crucial facet of Lynch's artistry: his alter ego is not a two-dimensional creation but a character full of humanizing doubts, fears and paranoia. Allmusic.com's David Jeffries has noted Lynch's facility at going "from gross to scary to sympathetic and personal, and then back again, all without losing a step or trying your patience."

When it comes to digesting Lynch's art however, it helps that his raps are leavened by what can only be called "gallows humor." Who else would refer to his manner of cooking victims as "Operation McPasta", as Lynch does on the new album's "Mannibalector"? While Brotha Lynch Hung is often credited as the originator of the rap genre known as "horrorcore", most so-called horrorcore rappers would be content with a standard disemboweling; Lynch goes all the way, a meal plan immortalized on the new album's "Spit It Out" wherein Lynch chortles: "If anything taste funny spit it out."

"Friday Night" features Lynch's fellow rap madman C.O.S., thumping production by Michael "Seven" Summers, and Brotha Lynch's "body sweatin' like a Juggalo." "I love the Juggalos man," says Lynch of the cult-like, face-painted fans who have embraced him. "They're good people with good hearts who are looking for an outlet from life's pain. I can relate to that." Standout cut "Blinded By Desire" is a sadistic travelogue following Lynch as he drives from California's Bay Area southward towards Los Angeles ("524 miles to SoCal..." begins Lynch) where mayhem will undoubtedly ensue.

Coathanga Strangla is the middle album in a conceptual trilogy, which began with Dinner and a Movie and is slated to conclude with 2012's Mannibalector. Each of the three albums has spawned three videos, which together will comprise the visual document of the terrifying times of Mannibalector. "The three albums and nine videos are about a rapper who's having a bad life and is about to give up on the world," explains Brotha Lynch Hung. "You can hear he's about to walk the thin line, past the thin line, and then go way over it."

Join Brotha Lynch Hung as he continues to obliterate that line like no other artist can do.

Kutt Calhoun

Hotness drives hip-hop. The hottest albums, the hottest lyrics, the hottest beats, the hottest videos, the hottest clique: every rapper wants to have all of the above. Kutt Calhoun has them all and stands to be the next, hottest rapper. The Kansas City chief's debut album, the scorching "B.L.E.V.E." (Strange Music/MSC Entertainment), fires on all cylinders and introduces hip-hop's next star to the world.

Kutt got the album title from people who deal with heat on a regular basis. "It's a firefighter term that I got off TV," he explains. "It means Boiling Liquid Expanding Vicious Explosion. That's the most extreme hot that something can get. I figured I'd name it that because everybody's saying they're hot. I figured I'd come up with something that's above that category and have that as my album title."

"B.L.E.V.E." kicks things off with the sizzling "Bring Da Flames." A take off of Method Man's classic "Bring The Pain" single, Kutt's track summarizes the type of heat he'd be bringing on his album. "What I was looking for was a title track for the album," he says. "That Method Man hook was a catchy hook and it was what I was looking for and with what my album stands for, I had to bring the flames. I switched it up, put my own little twist on it and I love the way it turned out."

Kutt displays controlled energy on "Keep It Keebler," a funky, laid-back song sure to introduce the country to a new catch phrase. "It's about keeping it about money, keeping it green," Kutt says. "Get your money. Whatever you're out here doing, hustling, working, pimping, whatever you're doing, just 'Keep It Keebler,' in other words keep it real. I thought it was a catchy saying, kind of like how BG came out with 'Bling Bling.' I figured 'Keep It Keebler' would be a catchy saying that people outside of the Missouri area could catch on to. I figured it would be some new slang to introduce people to."

Indeed, one of Kutt's strengths is to introduce new perspectives and new ways of looking at old problems through his music. On the stirring "N A Whitemanzeyes," Kutt gives an impassioned look into the ways black are viewed in America, while on "To Whom It May Concern," Kutt teams with Skatterman & Snug Brim and BG Bullet Wound to give an unconventional look at the role various government officials play in our society.

These cuts showcase Kutt's ability to examine issues that dig beneath the surface of everyday life. "I'm more than just rapping about some bitches, getting some money, shooting this guy or just kicking it," Kutt says. "There's more to me than just that and I had to let the people know that that's how I feel. Nothing on a prejudice tip, but 'N A Whitemanzeyes' is basically saying that through the white, political eye of the government and certain legislations is that this is how they view black people. They just view us as angry, as people that'll never make it, people with no brains, people that sell drugs."

Yet Kutt still enjoys life's pleasures. He dedicates "Real Sex" and "Panic Box" to his female followers. The former features a warbling beat and frank sex talk, while the latter has Kutt rapping over the beat for Too Short's classic "Don't Fight the Feeling." As a long-time $hort fan, Kutt was itching to redo one of his songs.

"I always wondered why no one did a remix to that, man," he says. "That's such a dope beat that it's been 15 years since it came out and that beat will still get a party jumping, somebody's head bobbing as soon as they hear it. I wanted to bring it back on the freaky tip for the ladies, so the ladies would have something. Besides that, I figured that would be a beat to where it comes on, even if they don't know who I am, that beat is going to catch their attention. Once they get to listen to it, I think it will be a well appreciated song."

Kutt's album, at times celebratory, other times stinging, results from his volatile upbringing. Born and raised in Kansas City, Kutt Calhoun shuttled between his mother and his sister's house during his formative years. While at a Kansas City YMCA during the summer before ninth grade, Kutt realized that his ability to cleverly put words together could have benefits beyond the classroom. Kutt discovered that he could rap.

Even with his passion for music, Kutt turned to the streets once the instability at home became too much for him to bear. By age 16, Kutt was supporting himself by selling drugs, sometimes taking trips out of town to transport product. While in St. Joseph, Missouri, in 1996 Kutt got a wake-up call. He was shot in the back.

"It was like a big-ass smack in the face," he says. "It was like, 'Hold up, Kutt. You need to slow down.' I got shot in the back. The bullet richocheted off my pelvis. I had to get surgery on my stomach. They had to go in through my stomach and get the bullet out and I had to get 18 staples in my stomach. I could have died. I took that as a smack in the face, man, more or less like a blessing from God. This was my warning. I stopped selling dope altogether. I started chilling out, writing rhymes all the time and freestyling. Then I ran into some guys that noticed my talent and I'm thankful for that."

Kansas City businessmen Cory Lark and Derek Miller recognized Kutt Calhoun's potential in 1998 and gave him a chance to polish his rapping skills. For the first time, Kutt was in a recording studio, pursuing his musical aspirations. The environment pulled him from the streets and he was soon spending virtually all of his time at the studio.

While recording, Kutt started working with a producer who was also recording with Kansas City rhyme legend Tech N9ne. A long-time fan of Tech N9ne's work, Kutt made an impression with Tech thanks to his uncanny ability to rap for hours at a time. Impressed by Kutt's work ethic, Tech N9ne in 1999 enlisted Kutt as one of his hype men, taking him on several national and international tours and eventually signing to Strange Music/MSC Music Entertainment, home of Tech N9ne. Kutt's alliance with Strange set the stage for "B.L.E.V.E.," which features several guest appearances from Tech N9ne.

"I feel real privileged to be in the position I'm in," Kutt says. "I could have been somewhere else. I could have been dead or in jail. Everybody's life is designed a certain way and I'm glad everything happened the way that it did because if it didn't, I wouldn't know Tech, I wouldn't be at Strange, I wouldn't be in the position I'm in. I wouldn't have damn near traveled all over this world, getting to do the stuff that people only dream to do. There aren't too many people out there that can say that they've done the stuff that I've done. I don't take that for granted at all. I feel blessed and I'm thinking that it's only going to get better."

Ces Cru

Introduced to each other in late 2000, Ubiquitous and Godemis found an immediate chemistry on stage and began performing as CES CRU. Their first full-length album, Capture Enemy Soldiers, was released in 2004. Since then, they have won numerous MC battles, been nominated for three Pitch Music Awards and collaborated with local favorites, Mac Lethal, Miles Bonny and Human Cropcircles. The Playground, is available now! Hit our website www.cescru.com or just google cescru. We are on Itunes and physical copies are available at local Kansas City music outlets such as Streetside records or 7th Heaven. Keep digging and enjoy!

The Atlanta metropolitan area stretches on for at least 30 miles beyond the Georgia Dome and the World of Coke. Peachtree Street (conspicuously void of actual peach trees) stretches up through several counties, changing its name a number of times, confusing the tourists and the transplants. Furthest to the north of the metro area, sits Gwinnett County; sprawling and well-populated by a mix of out-
of-towners hoping to indulge in a slice of that oft-mentioned American Pie: a house in a subdivision with a yard for the kids. After closer observation though, it's apparent that the suburbs of Gwinnett are the digs to many who don't fit the cookie cutter, Stepford lifestyle. The county, more frequently being referred to as the Northside, boasts both million dollar homes on golf courses as well as drug hubs in neighborhoods riddled with gang activity. The Northside, essentially, is in stark contradiction to itself. Rapper Rittz is the Northside.
Raised in Gwinnett County, Rittz embodies the same level of irony and self-conflict as his hometown. Born into a musical family, he, his twin sister and their brother had always been exposed to the inner workings of music. The fact that their parents were heavily into rock and roll ensured that the kids were always around instruments or in studios. The family moved from small-town Pennsylvania (Waynesburg) to the Atlanta outskirts when he was eight years old, and once Rittz got to junior high, his musical tastes evolved. Atlanta's booming bass and rap movement had traveled north on I-85 to get the entire metro area jumping.
"When I moved here, I was introduced to rap music. When I started rapping, I was listening to any early Rap-A-Lot records, like Willie D, Geto Boys… Kilo [Ali] was like the first. So when I started at 12 years old, my early raps, I tried to rap like them," he explains, "But the early Outkast, and Goodie Mob was really the beginning of me wanting to rap and imitate them in finding my own style. Me and another guy were actually in a group called Ralo and Rittz [1995-2003], we were like the white Outkast, or we tried to be like that. I had a studio in my basement, and we put out a bunch of tapes in Gwinnett. I felt like we were one of the first, if not the first... There were only maybe one or two other people rapping in Gwinnett at the time, from '95 to 2000."
During the earlier part of the millennium though, around 2003, Rittz had hit a wall. After eight years, he and Ralo had matured in different directions. His promising buzz had led to countless disappointments. "I won Battlegrounds on Hot 107.9, got retired and shit and felt like I was 'bout to make it. But, so many industry up and downs, with managers, contracts…" He was dead broke, feeling dejected, and living with friends- ready to resign from the rap game before even taking his rightful place in it. It wasn't until 2009 when he'd randomly received a call from another flamespitter who was repping an area as under-the-radar as Gwinnett was. "I had some money behind me." Rittz says, "Everything was going good and then everything fell out, at the same time, I'm getting older, thinking it's time to hang it up. This isn't gonna happen and that's when Yelawolf put me on 'Box Chevy.' [on Yelawolf's Trunk Muzik]."
Nowadays, the rap career of Gwinnett-raised Rittz is rapidly on the rise. From his affliation with one of the hottest new rappers coming out of the South to his first mixtape, Rittz White Jesus (hilariously inspired by a friend's term of endearment), everything is coming together now, two years after he nearly lost everything. These days he's booking late night studio sessions, and still clocking in to work early the next day. "I see both sides: the regular, working class type shit and then I've also seen a lot of the street shit that goes on here, some people that are blind to that here, may never have seen it." Rittz says he's "just a normal guy who raps"- a contradiction if there ever was one- but he makes you believe, with the humility of the everyman and the talent of a superstar.

403 M.O.B (Men of Business), their music is hot and burning up the charts. 403 Mob are visionaries that are reaching new heights in the music Industry. The history of the 403 goes back to their childhood, beginning in choir at church. Music has always been a big part of their lives, but 2005 was the turning point for Philip Rainey “Ghost Unknown”, Charles Rainey “Banchie“, and Jackson Wright “Shadow J“. Around that time Eminem was huge, the movie 8mile and his music inspired us to follow our dreams. It all started when Ghost recorded a 5 bar cover of Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” on his cell phone. He then showed it to others and got good feedback, therefore the seed had been planted and our journey had begun.

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Tech N9ne with Krizz Kalico, Brotha Lynch Hung, Kutt Calhoun, Ces Cru, Rittz, 403 M.O.B.

Thursday, May 2 · Doors 7:00 PM / Show 7:30 PM at Tremont Music Hall