Photos - Tech N9ne - Sept. 18, 2003, Promowest Pavilion, Columbus, OH
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Opening for the Insane Clown Posse is like walking in to a Black Panthers meeting wearing a white cape. It is hard to make friends with those attending. Band such as Dog Fashion Disco have tried to open but were just received with a battering or boos. So, when I got the call about Tech N9ne, a rap artist from Kansas City, opening for Insane Clown Posse, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But the great reception was anything but expected.

Most artists who have achieved opening success for ICP did so by being on the band’s label, but Tech N9ne came out on stage and just did his thing. Whether his rhymes are about the state of the hip-hop music industry and it’s selling out to corporate America or the trials of being on the road, Tech N9ne played a gallant 30-minute set that left the face-painted screaming teens wanting more. Tech N9ne had is ‘Absolute Power’ that is the title for his newest release. Says N9ne in his bio; “'Absolute Power' is being able to move a sea of people through your words, your beats, your heart. When I would perform 'This Ring,' everybody would light lighters. That's 'Absolute Power.' That's why I'm on the cover of 'Absolute Power' with me and a gang of people behind me partying. It's 'Absolute Power' to be able to move those motherfuckers and give them that energy and they give it right back to you."

Perhaps the best moment came during “Imma Tell,” where the lyrics were almost written for the Juggalos in attendance. “This is the town where the clowns put it down baby/(Mama say stop or I'm gonna tell papa)/Close the doe, before ya child hear the sound baby/(Mama say stop or I'm gonna tell papa).” I was at this moment that the clown-faced fanatics started really getting into Tech N9ne and the rhymes and beats he had to offer. With a giant cross backdrop made from an UPC code, Tech made it clear that this is a commercial society with commercial religion and commercial art forms. What Tech is trying to do is make it in the industry his way. Although he has performed with megastars like 2Pac and Eminem, Tech is keeping true to himself with his newest release on independent label Strange Music, Inc.

There was supposed to be an interview to accompany this review, but a good thing happened. The line of fans to meet Tech after his set just kept getting bigger and bigger and before I knew it, I was being escorted from the pavilion for not having the proper pass. But that is okay, because Tech was getting the props he deserved from a bunch of fans that usually treat anyone opening for ICP like a rented mule holding a red-headed stepchild.