Tech N9ne on Collaborating With Eminem, Slipknot and More on All-Star 'Special Effects' Album: 'F--- Separation. Why Can't We Mix and Match?'

Dennys Ilic

Tech N9ne photographed in 2015.

Rapper Tech N9ne talks to Billboard about his high-wattage album Special Effects, which spans the worlds of hip-hop, metal and beyond.

Your 15th studio album, Special Effects, which debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200, has a really wide range of genres and collaborators. What was the reasoning behind that?

This isn’t my first time doing that, but now everyone’s paying attention because there are so many major artists on this. What I wanted to do with this album is tell people, “F--- genres.” Yes, I love metal, and having Slipknot on there lets you know that. We took it to the hills of rap with Eminem, we took it to the hills of darkness with [composer] Joseph Bishara. It’s all in there. I’m just trying to show people we should get together and do beautiful music. That’s the theme of this album. F--- separation. Why can’t we mix and match?

Chart Juice: Tech N9ne Claims No. 1 Across the Board

Eminem raps on “Speedom (WWC2)” -- and he didn’t charge you for it.

To have who we call the best rapper in the world do a verse for you and say, “Never mind, just give me a verse [in return],” that floored me. All of my peers on this album were like, “Nah, Tech, love.” Can you imagine how that feels? If I had to pay for this album with the prices that everybody really costs, it would be over a million dollars. Now, lawyers’ fees to get everybody cleared was another story.

As CEO of your indie label Strange Music, do you ever look at other imprints for guidance?

We’re Strange Music -- I don’t compare myself with other labels. I pay attention to what their artists are doing and the way they’re promoted, but I can’t say that they’re doing something wrong and we’re doing something right. We’re doing something right for us because we’re in our own lane.

This story originally appeared in the May 23 issue of Billboard