TEQNiK G Learns From The Past
By Collin Estes
Some artists take time to develop the creativity and worldview that facilitates their art, while others seem to have a preternatural disposition for their musical endeavors. The latter case can certainly be argued for local emcee Joe Davis, better known as Teqnik G.
Davis, who is preparing to unveil his new LP, Not Just Entertainment, was introduced to hip-hop by his brother at a young age and instantly fell in love with it, writing his first rhyme in elementary school before developing his lyrical flow by writing, producing and recording his own songs in high school.
"What stands out most to me about a song is the lyrics," says Davis. "I love the way a lyricist can manipulate and rhyme words in such unique patterns, while telling a story and speaking about subject matters other genres don't."
While Davis was immediately enamored of the whole of hip-hop culture, citing the emcee, the DJ, graffiti, the B-Boy and knowledge as the genre's elements of voice, music, art, dance and consciousness, respectively, his burgeoning career suffered a derailment.
"Instead of staying focused on the music, I decided to make bad choices, which ended up leading me to prison," Davis says. "However, struggle and life experiences, along with plenty of time, can really help the creative mind."
Davis used the setback to improve his skills and, upon his release, set about building a career in hip-hop. While he acknowledges it took some time, he now enjoys a bounty of local support, has consistently performed live for roughly half a decade, and is now set to celebrate the release of his third album.
‘I’m out to keep the music I love alive.’
The CD release show, which will take place Feb. 3 at the Black Sheep, will find Teqnik G joined by an impressive cadre of local hip-hop talent, including D-Stylz, Hiatus, Rozin Barz, TMC, Reflecshaun, Evolve and Stoney Bertz. (Bertz, incidentally, will have a busy day, as she's also performing at the "Rewind to 99" benefit show at Sunshine Studios earlier in the day, where all proceeds go toward helping the local homeless community.)
"I had known for a while that it was time for a new album, but life was getting in the way of creating music, on several levels," explains Davis.
Eventually, however, Davis set to work culling the extensive back catalog of beats he'd produced, giving himself a strict deadline to complete the writing and production. His goal was to create a "hardcore hip-hop album from front to back," both an attempt to honor the sound and spirit of the raw hip-hop of the '90s and introduce listeners to the world as Teqnik G knows and sees it. Davis says listeners can expect accounts of his life as an emcee, thoughts on the country's political and social systems, some good old-fashioned partying and enjoying life, and dispatches from life on the streets. Above all, he hopes the album offers an opportunity to look back on the hallmarks of classic hip-hop from a new perspective with a modern message.
"Hip-hop has gone through many changes since its creation — a lot of fans recognize the 'golden era' of hip-hop to be the '90s, and I would tend to agree," says Davis. "It was a time when beats and lyrics were raw, people told you how they felt. I'm out to keep that alive, to keep the music I love alive."
Davis is optimistic about the local hip-hop scene's potential for growth, and hopes that his own music can serve as a source of inspiration for others.
"I want people to see that life is filled with choices, and you can change your direction in life through those choices," reflects Davis. "I produced all but one of the beats on Not Just Entertainment," recorded all the vocals, mixed and mastered the album, designed and made the artwork, and organized the featured artists and DJ for the project. Now I'm throwing an album release party to celebrate. I'm proof that you can basically do everything on your own."