TECH N9NE: My rock and metal collabs wishlist | Revolver

TECH N9NE: My rock and metal collabs wishlist

From Big 4 thrashers to famous pianomen
Tech N9ne at Sonic Temple 2024, Maurice Nunez courtesy of Sonic Temple
photograph by Maurice Nunez courtesy of Sonic Temple

"I fuck with elites, man."

Tech N9ne is explaining, in its simplest terms, how he's gone about choosing who to work with across an impressively boundaryless catalog. And looking at his track record over the past couple of decades, you'd be inclined to agree.

Over the years, the Kansas City-raised rapper has sprayed speedy, chopper-style verses alongside rap titans like Eminem and Kendrick Lamar, R&B figures like Boyz II Men and Floetry's Marsha Ambrosius, contemporary bluesmith Gary Clark Jr., and even recorded with the Doors.

And in the heavy-music world, he's linked up with Slipknot's Corey Taylor, Deftones' Chino Moreno and Stephen Carpenter, System of a Down's Serj Tankian, Five Finger Death Punch, Kim Dracula and many more.

As he's navigated his own varied career, notching gold albums and platinum singles along the way, what's mattered more than crossover appeal is the high standard he holds to account for himself and his collaborators. In other words, the elite seek out the elite: "I'm just trying to work with people I think are at the top of their game, that's it."

Sure enough, Tech N9ne made another big-time connection this spring, hopping on Falling in Reverse's "RONALD" single, which put him toe-to-toe with not only the band's Ronnie Radke, but also Slaughter to Prevail growler Alex Terrible, who's also featured. Even he is surprised, however, with how instantly massive the song has become after performing with FIR at Florida's Welcome to Rockville last month — a tease to Tech N9ne's run of dates on the group's summer "Popular MonsTOUR II".

"Welcome to Rockville was an eye-opening fantasy that I didn't expect," he says of hearing a crowd of 55,000 fast-rapping his verse back at him. "See, I didn't know that the whole [crowd] would go bonkers. It just shook me and I was like, 'Wow, man, this tour we about to go on in August is going to be mad.' I had no idea what to expect [in a live situation]. All I knew is that we had some really talented motherfuckers in the chamber."

When Revolver reaches Tech N9ne, he's in the studio putting the finishing touches on the next volume of his long-running Collabos series, which is due in July. It's the "ninth inning," and while he's grinding it out behind the mic, he's also trying to chase down some last-minute link-ups. A "humongous" metal world feature is almost in the can, but he can't quite cough up a name just yet.

Tech N9ne can, however, share with us a wish list of rock, metal and industrial lifers he's hoping to hop on a track with at some point in the future. From Big 4 trailblazers with a love of Tech's rapping, to the pop world's most famous piano men, these are just some of his picks.

Trent Reznor

I've been talking about getting some production and maybe some vocals from Trent Reznor for a long time. I really love that he thinks outside the box — I've always thought that. I'm a sound geek. So, when I hear a beat like "Closer," or I hear the eeriness of "Hurt"...

I'm the king of darkness, you know what I mean? I've got songs with Joseph Bishara — he's the red-and-black demon in Insidious, he does all the music for the Conjuring movies, Insidious, and for Annabelle. And that's what I like about Nine Inch Nails: the darkness. And the funk with him, too.


I heard some years back that Metallica warms up to one of my songs, specifically "Einstein." So, for me to work with them or James Hetfield would be a thing, you know what I'm saying? I don't know if they are even up for something like that these days, but I'm always up for the challenge to do something crazy that people don't expect.

And what have they done that you don't like? "Enter Sandman," "The Unforgiven"... some of this is just so creepy to me. And I'm the king of darkness!

Otep Shamaya

She's got some pipes. Over the years, I pay attention to hardcore shit. [Otep] is one of them ones, man.


I've been trying to get [a collaboration] with Ghostmane for a minute. I've tried twice. I usually don't try a third time, but I will for Ghoste.

Some years back, I did an EP with [producer and Godfather of Nu-Metal] Ross Robinson called Therapy, and later on in the years, he hooked me up with Ghostmane. We're talking on the phone. He's always working on some new shit and never has time, but one day me and Ghoste are going to chop on that motherfucker. I feel it coming.

Billy Joel and Elton John

I've been trying to get a song with Billy Joel for, like, three years now. And Elton John said he was going to do one for me, but he was on tour at the time.

[Billy Joel's] "Scenes From an Italian Restaurant," is my favorite, just how the song changes throughout. It starts off slow — "A bottle of whites, a bottle of red, perhaps a bottle of rosé instead" — then it turns into a ragtime-feeling song, and then it changes again. I just love the roller coaster ride of "Italian Restaurant." And everybody knows "The Downeaster 'Alexa,'" right? It feels like he's actually on his boat, and the waters are rough when you're listening to the instruments.

I don't [remember] when I heard "The Down Easter 'Alexa'" or "Uptown Girl." It's just so many songs, man.

There are so many eras that they've been here for — when I say "they," I mean Billy Joel and Elton John. It's really elite artistry.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.