Tech N9ne going mainstream

Tech N9ne Going Mainstream!? Travis O’Guin Speaks the Truth

Over at Chris Merch had the opportunity to visit Strange Headquarters and talk with CEO Travis O’Guin. While on his visit he learned all about the new “pop” sound Strange Music is releasing with their many new artist including Darrein Safron, Mackenzie Nicole, and yet to be announced pop-rock band Above Waves. You add Krizz Kaliko’s new album GO which shows a different style from the usual Krizz Kaliko we’ve heard before and Strange Music doesn’t seem like a horrorcore label anymore. Many of Strange Music’s fans are shouting “mainstream and sell out” because of the new ‘pop’ sounding music being released lately. But, Travis showed no concern for these outbursts. “The reality is Strange Music has always been about the quality of music,” he [Travis] says. “So if it happens to be in a different category, so be it, it’s just a different category. The stuff that the label is built on is not being abandoned at all. Tech N9ne is not gonna change.”

Basically, just because Strange is expanding and trying out new styles of music doesn’t mean Tech N9ne or Strange Music is selling out. In fact, according to the definition of selling out they can’t. Selling out requires you to go against what your music is about just to get that money. Tech and Strange rose to fame by not just producing what the radio wants, but by producing music he’s passionate about. Though ‘Hood Go Crazy’ recently caught major success the song wasn’t produced with the intention to fit into the mainstream.

Tech, who’s been the label’s creative and financial backbone since its inception, doesn’t seem to have plans for himself or any of his core artists to sell out. He’s recently flirted with radio success for the first time in his career, earning his highest ever chart placement on the Billboard Hot 100 last year with “Hood Go Crazy,” but he doesn’t seem preoccupied with commercial success. “I think Tech was just reluctant to do a song that fit the [radio] format, and yet ‘Hood Go Crazy’ was a Tech N9ne record first and foremost,” O’Guin said. “It’s not a watered-down attempt to get radio play.” During our interview, he repeatedly insisted that while the label was always open to its rappers making music the radio might like, it had no plans to force them to adopt a more mainstream sound.

As for Krizz Kalikos’s new album GO Travis and Krizz spread a little clarity to the change in style and sound. We all know that Krizz has some amazing pipes that sound of an angel. Why not display his amazing talent?

“I don’t know that it’s ‘another thing’,” he says. “I’ve dabbled in this kind of music already. We always talk about bringing the mainstream to Strange and not trying to be the mainstream. The type of music that I do can fit in pop music’s format, but it’s truly still me. It’s not me trying to fit in.” According to Krizz, O’Guin has been trying to get him to release an all-singing album for years, not because he thought it would sell better but because he thinks it’s truer to him as an artist. “I think it gives him a larger audience at the end of the day, but the larger audience wasn’t the motivating factor,” O’Guin says. “My goal is do what you want to do, but I think singing is what he really wants to do and I absolutely love it.”

In fact, according to sales, Strange has a lot of fans digging Mackenzie’s sweet young ‘pop’ sounding voice also. Her appearance on Strangulation Vol II is what sparked her career as a pop singer for Strange Music.

Mackenzie Nicole is a 16-year old pop singer who happens to be O’Guin’s daughter. Her song “Actin’ Like You Know” with Tech N9ne also happened to be the highest-selling song off the label’s 2015 collaborative album Strangelation Vol. II without any push on their part. Now, Strange is gearing up to put major resources behind her, in hopes that she can find fans among the label’s core audience and bring new ones into the fold.

Strange Music also briefly mentioned plans of promoting a new band Above Waves along with Krizz Kaliko’s GO and hardcore rap of Strange Music’s artist Rittz and the man himself Tech N9ne. It’s all about expansion and reaching more people and giving the label more dimension. At the end of the day it’s all about the music.

It’s no secret that Strange Music is successful—any doubts were erased upon seeing the label’s fleet of tour buses, merchandise warehouses, and high-end recording studios—but these are uncharted waters, even for Tech’s indie juggernaut.

For O’Guin, that’s all part of the fun. “For me, whatever happens, happens,” he said. “It’s all about the music first, and then as we grow into different genres of music all that means is we take the existing structure and we support that new endeavor. We already have so much of the stuff in place that we would be foolish not to explore what we’re doing right now.” Whatever the outcome, he’s confident that the vast majority of Strange’s fans will be along for the ride. “If you have the mindset of ‘Oh they’re selling out because they’re going to put out a popular band…’ well then I’m sad for you because you’re missing an opportunity to check out some really great music.”

You can read the entire article on Complex.

There you have it from the Strange Music CEO himself. Strange Music is merely adding to their already successful indie label. You should know Tech N9ne going mainstream is ridiculous with his already gained success. Selling out would require a change in what they rap/sing about not the style. Personally, I like both the new and the old. But, I’m a Juggalo who loves about every type of music. How about you? Tell us in the comments what you think of all these new artists and changes in style on Strange Music.

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