Tech N9ne's 25 Favorite Albums

The head of Strange Music talks about his appreciation of Rakim, Portishead, Rage Against The Machine, and many more.

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Image via Complex Original
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Today, Tech N9ne's twelfth studio album, All 6's and 7's, which features Lil Wayne, Busta Rhymes, B.o.B, Snoop Dogg, and others, hits stores. Fans of Tech should know what to expect—a set of songs that touch on various topics and feature so many styles and sounds, that it's hard to classify it as any single genre. In honor of Tech's latest record, we got on the horn with him to talk about what his favorite albums are. And we weren't disappointed. Tech had plenty to say as he made his list and revealed an extremely diverse taste in music. Hear Tech talk about his favorite music to have sex to, how he had to hide his favorite rap albums from his parents, and the song that saved his life...

As told to Insanul Ahmed (@Incilin)


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#25. Tech N9ne, Anghellic (2001)

Favorite song: N/A

Tech N9ne: “A lot of my fans would agree. I’ve been seeing on a lot of hip-hop sites lately, they’re saying it’s one of the most slept on hip-hop albums ever. I didn’t know that the hip-hop community felt like that because Anghellic came out in 2001, so the five years before that, it was all that time put into one album.

“All that anger, sadness, and madness and all the partying, drugs, and everything was in one album. The album is broke up in three parts: Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven. Roger Troutman’s on there. I got to do a song with Roger Troutman, one of the motherfuckers I grew up listening to. Fucking beautiful album, man. [I think it’s an underrated record] and I ain’t the only one who thinks that.”

Live on the Sunset Strip

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#24. Richard Pryor, Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip (1982)

Favorite song: N/A

Tech N9ne: “My uncle had it so we would sneak in and listen to it at night. We used to listen to all his albums, like That Nigger’s Crazy and all that kinda shit when I was real young. But Live on the Sunset Strip, we had that on record and everything. To this day, I have that on DVD. Everything he talks about brings back so many memories. I think that’s why a lot of rappers, like N.W.A., were big fans of Richard Pryor.”

Motor Booty Affair

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#23. Parliament, Motor Booty Affair (1978)

Favorite song: “Aqua Boogie”

Tech N9ne: “It had ‘Aqua Boogie (A Psychoalphadiscobetabioaquadoloop)' on that motherfucka. I used to dance to it. And I used to sing it all the time because I never could swim and my friends used to tease me all the time, like, ‘Damn! You can’t even swim?’ I was like, ‘No, nigga! I’m from the ghetto. We didn’t have a swimming pool!’ On ‘Aqua Boogie’ they were like, ‘I am Sir Nose D'Voidoffunk, I can't swim, I never could swim, I never will swim.’ I’m Sir Nose D’Voidofffunk. I still can’t swim, but I can dance underwater!”

Its Dark And Hell Is Hot

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#22. DMX, It’s Dark And Hell Is Hot (1998)

Favorite song: “Ruff Ryder’s Anthem”

Tech N9ne: “I remember riding out in L.A. and hearing ‘Ruff Ryders Anthem’ for the first time in the backseat of Yukmouth of the Luniz’s Navigator. All the rappers were listening to it because it was new. It was like a New York nigga that was flipping and he had style and an aggressive flow. I was like, ‘Damn! Dark Man X is always on dark shit!’ It’s crazy to see another nigga on that subliminal, crazy shit. And he had them banging ass beats by Swizz Beatz. That opened me up to Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood and all that shit.”


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#21. Portishead, Dummy (1994)

Favorite song: “Sour Times”

Tech N9ne: “I stopped smoking weed in ‘98, but that came out when I used to smoke weed. I used to sit in the car with my homeboys and play that trippy ass trip-hop music. Beth Gibbons’ voice is just soothing. We just used to relax and listen to that shit while smoking fucking chronic. I love how ‘Sour Times’ sounded like a James Bond movie and the video was black and white. It was wonderful seeing Beth Gibbons sing like that on MTV.

“That opened me up to their second album, which was self-titled. They didn’t have many albums, but I have them all and I still listen to them. I still resort back to Dummy and the second album all the time. On their second album, they had one called ‘Humming’ that I listened to all the time. It’s so fucking sinister.”

Evil Empire

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#20. Rage Against the Machine, Evil Empire (1996)

Favorite song: “Wind Below”/“Bulls On Parade”

Rage Against The Machine "Wind Below"

Tech N9ne: “It’s fucking hardcore music. The whole album is fucking dope. When I first saw the ‘Bulls on Parade’ video on MTV, I was like, ‘What the fuck?!’ Then I bought the album and ‘Wind Below’ just blew me away. Tom Morello is cold with that motherfucking guitar!”

Fuck Action 38

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#19. OG Ron C, Fuck Action 38

Favorite song: N/A

Tech N9ne: “This one has songs from Playa and Tyrese slowed down [and chopped and screwed]. Out of all the Fuck Actions I have—and I have like 40—Fuck Actions 38 is the best one. It’s perfect all the way through for having wild sex with a chick, especially when you’re drunk. If you ever want weird, wild sex with a chick, throw in Fuck Action 38 for an hour and you will have fuck music. That’s why they call it Fuck Action.”

Flo Ology

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#18. Floetry, Flo’Ology (2005)

Favorite song: “Sometimes U Make Me Smile”

Tech N9ne: “It has one of my favorite slow songs on it called ‘Sometimes U Make Me Smile.’ It’s so emotional. I’ve turned a lot of people onto this song. If you ever want to relax, lay back, and think about somebody you love, get Flo’Ology and listen to ‘Sometimes U Make Me Smile’ from beginning to end. And if you don’t think that is beautiful music, you don’t know beautiful music.”


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#17. Slipknot, Slipknot (1999)

Favorite song: "Wait And Bleed"/“Eyeless”

Slipnot "Wait And Bleed"

Tech N9ne: “Their whole album was hard metal and rock, then drum and bass, and then scratching. My homeboy Sid [Wilson] is their DJ—DJ Starscream—he was cutting through a lot of that. That album was a mixture of everything from rap to rock. Corey [Taylor] was even rapping on that shit. I’ve been trying to get a song with Corey for a long time, but he’s always busy. But it will happen.

“It was like a clusterfuck and I loved that about Slipknot. That’s why I became a fan. That first album opened me up to their other shit like Vol. 3 (Subliminal Verses) and I love that album too. But their first album had ‘Wait and Bleed’ on it and it caught me immediately. It’s just hardcore music. They sing, they yell. I love Slipknot. When I first saw them, I was like, ‘Wow! More psycho motherfuckers like myself!’ I loved it.”

Slippery When Wet

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#16. Bon Jovi, Slippery When Wet (1986)

Favorite song: "Wanted Dead Or Alive"

Tech N9ne: “I was in seventh or eighth grade when that came out and that’s when it was a Bon Jovi craze. The white chicks that I hung out with loved Bon Jovi. They had posters in their room and everything when I used to be fucking with them. It just took me back to the ‘80s. I used to be down at The Plaza in Kansas City with some of these white chicks and we were just kicking it and you can hear Bon Jovi playing in every store. It was everywhere. It was humongous.”

Forever My Lady

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#15. Jodeci, Forever My Lady (1991)

Favorite song: "Stay"

Tech N9ne: “You can listen to the whole album. It starts off slow with ‘Stay’ and you can play like six full songs before it speeds up. I used to have sex to it all the time. It was the perfect album to throw in when you’re freaking with a young lady, and I did it a lot to Jodeci’s Forever My Lady. I’m talking about the first five to six songs were slow! You didn’t have to take it out. I’m a big fan of R&B music.”

Strage Days

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#14. The Doors, Strange Days (1967)

Favorite song: "People Are Strange"

Tech N9ne: “If it wasn’t for ‘People Are Strange’ being on that album, I would’ve never came with the idea to do Strange Music. It inspired me to come up with my label name, Strange Music. That song gave me an idea to do something great. That song saved my life. Thank you Jim Morrison.

“That song popped out at me because it reminded me of a dark carnival. I’ve always been intrigued with clowns because I used to fear clowns when I was young. Even if you look at the album cover for Strange Days, it’s like some painted face motherfuckers on there. Like the circus is on the street or something.”

The Chronic

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#13. Dr. Dre, The Chronic (1992)

Favorite song: "Nuthin’ But A ‘G’ Thang"

Tech N9ne: “That was an album that shaped a lot of music. It made people start wanting to play live instruments. I saw hip-hop transform from samples to live instruments. That’s what Dre did with The Chronic. It even had an effect on Biggie Smalls. He had it at the beginning of his album, [on the song ‘Things Done Changed’].

“[The effect it had on me was] it let you know you could say pretty much anything. I already knew you could say anything after Blowfly came out with ‘Rapp Dirty,’ but N.W.A. did it for our generation with a lot of cursing and profanity. A lot of that ‘I don’t give a fuck’ type of attitude. They did that for us.”

The Great Adventures of Slick Rick

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#12. Slick Rick, The Great Adventures of Slick Rick (1988)

Favorite song: "Lick The Balls"

Tech N9ne: “‘Children’s Story’ was 100. We had a dance that used to go with it. You’ll know the dance when you see it, but I forgot what it was called. But ‘Lick the Balls’ made me want to rap fast. That’s the reason why I got that quick flow. I know they saying, ‘Damn, Slick Rick didn’t really rap fast like that,’ but he did.”

AmeriKKKa Most Wanted

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#11. Ice Cube, AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted (1990)

Favorite song: "Endangered Species (Tales From The Darkside)" f/ Chuck D

Tech N9ne: “I’m a big Public Enemy fan, so ‘Endangered Species (Tales From the Dark Side)’ was my favorite song on there. Ice Cube—one of my favorites from N.W.A.—rapped with Chuck D and it was a big thing. ‘Once Upon a Time in the Projects’ was on there, too. I loved it. He painted pictures with rhymes. Listening to guys like Ice Cube was beautiful."

The Gap Band III

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#10. The Gap Band, The Gap Band III (1980)

Favorite song: "Humpin"/“Burn Rubber (Why You Wanna Hurt Me)”

The Gap Band "Humpin'

Tech N9ne: “‘Humpin’ was my motherfucking anthem. I used to dance to that. That and ‘Burn Rubber (Why You Wanna Hurt Me)’ are my favorite songs on that album. But ‘Humpin’’ was my hands down favorite. I even have the single to ‘Humpin’’ which had ‘Sweet Caroline’ on the other side. I was a pop-locker and a break-dancer before I was a rapper, so listen to ‘Humpin’’ and ‘Burn Rubber (Why You Wanna Hurt Me)’ and tell me if it don’t make you wanna dance.”

Criminal Minded

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#9. Boogie Down Productions, Criminal Minded (1987)

Favorite song: "The Bridge Is Over"

Tech N9ne: “C’mon, ‘The Bridge is Over’ is on there! That’s all I gotta say, ‘The Bridge is Over’ is on that motherfucker. I’ve been in the crowd to watch KRS-One do it back in the day. When I got my deal with Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis in ‘93 on Perspective Records, I was in L.A. and I went to this place called Glam Slam in downtown L.A.—it was Prince’s club back in the day. KRS-One was performing and I got to see ‘The Bridge is Over’ live and I won’t never forget that. He rocked that motherfucker!"


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#8. N.W.A., Niggaz4Life (1991)

Favorite song: "Approach To Danger"/“Real Niggas Don’t Die”

N.W.A. "Approach To Danger"

Tech N9ne: “I played it over and over. I can’t remember every song on the album, but a lot of it we played. ‘Approach to Danger’ and ‘Real Niggaz Don’t Die’ are my favorite songs on there and those are songs that weren’t totally popular on that album. [I like Niggaz4Life better than Straight Outta Compton] because I think their music got bigger and more complex.

“I got to see all of them together live in Kansas City, Missouri at the Kemper Arena. I got to see N.W.A. live with The D.O.C. and everything. They had yellow tape up there. When Eazy-E said, ‘He shot and I shot,’ he took out a gun and said, [Imitates guns shots.] in the air and shit. I was like, ‘Damn, he just shot a gun!’ It wasn’t a real gun, but it seemed like it was a .38 he had on stage. He shot up in the air and everybody tripped out.”

No One Can Do It Better

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#7. The D.O.C., No One Can Do It Better (1989)

Favorite song: "It’s Funky Enough"

Tech N9ne: “‘It’s Funky Enough’ was my shit. It was sinister and he was just a hardcore lyricist. That shit really made me want to rap. [The time I saw N.W.A. preform,] I remember The D.O.C. coming out in an all-black trench coat with his black Kings hat, just like he had on in the video for ‘It’s Funky Enough.’ I was like, 'Who is that?’ He was busting and I didn’t even know who he was at that time.”

Licensed to Ill

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#6. Beastie Boys, Licensed to Ill (1986)

Favorite song: "Paul Revere"

Tech N9ne: “Big album, monumental. You ain’t never heard any white boys come out rapping like that. ‘Paul Revere,’ c’mon man. ‘No Sleep Till Brooklyn,’ c’mon dog. It’s beautiful music. ‘Paul Revere’ is produced by Rick Rubin, but I think [Rev] Run actually did the beat and ran it backwards, if my history is correct. Run had something to do with it because I studied that beat.”

Bigger Deffer

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#5. LL Cool J, Bigger & Deffer (1987)

Favorite song: "I’m Bad"

Tech N9ne: “Same thing as [Paid In Full by Eric B. & Rakim], I played ‘I’m Bad’ over and over and over. It’s just a big song. ‘Kanday’ was my shit too.”

It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back

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#4. Public Enemy, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (1988)

Favorite song: "Rebel Without A Pause"

Tech N9ne: “That was [a record] I had to have. That’s what made me really want to rap. Murder music.”

Paid In Full

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#3. Eric B. & Rakim, Paid In Full (1987)

Favorite song: "I Ain’t No Joke"/“Eric B. Is President”

Eric B. & Rakim "I Ain't No Joke"

Tech N9ne: “I was able to buy Paid In Full because I was working for my stepfather at a place called Fish Captain. I started really getting paid when I was like 14 and started working at Fish Captain. My dad would stash my money in different places. But I had a little baby sister, so I would make it look like she took the money and tore it up, bit on it, shredded it on the floor. I would leave trails and shit, making it look like the baby did it. But I would really take my money and spend it on rap music.”

Raising Hell

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#2. Run DMC, Raising Hell (1986)

Favorite song: "Peter Piper"

Tech N9ne: “This one goes without saying. To me, [Raising Hell] was their biggest album. I listened to every song on [there]. Some of the songs on there like ‘My Adidas’ were monumental. Everybody knows that though.

“I remember listening to it from across the street because my mother and stepfather didn’t want me to use the money I was working for on rap music. So I had to go sneak and buy the records and play them at my neighbor’s house. I did [listen to it at my house] some of the time, but I couldn’t let them know I was spending my money on records.”

Zapp II

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#1. Zapp, Zapp II (1982)

Favorite song: "Doo Wa Ditty"/“Dance Floor”

Zapp "Doo Wa Ditty"

Tech N9ne: “I was in love with ‘Dance Floor’ and ‘Doo Wa Ditty.’ I was a dancer, and I used to break-dance and pop-lock. ‘Doo Wa Ditty’ was one of [the songs I used to dance to] and so was ‘Dance Floor.’ I just killed niggas on that.”

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