If you’re not super familiar with his work and you've never met him in person, know this about Tech N9ne: he’s one of the most empathetic people you’ll ever meet.
Tech has spent the last 25 years pouring his heart and soul onto instrumentals, amassing a huge fan base comprised of listeners who relate to the Kansas City veteran’s tales of depression, rage, and religious confusion.
In a new set of visuals for “What If It Was Me,” a single off his upcoming album The Storm, Tech displays the depths of his empathy in a scenario that’s all too relevant given the current state of our country.
In the video, Tech is seen both as the main character—an upcoming rapper hustling to push CDs—and as each of the people that interact with him, a not-so-subtle visual metaphor for the song’s contents, but the way it’s pulled off is far from corny.
Gangsters, old-heads, dope dealers, Tech encounters them all throughout his travels, seeing himself in each of their shoes, knowing that he could’ve ended up as any one of them had his career in music not panned out.
As the song and video reach a crescendo, Tech is approached by a pair of police officers (played by, you guessed it, Tech N9ne and his right-hand man Krizz Kaliko) while attempting to sell CD’s outside of a convenience store, a clear nod to the tragic events surrounding Louisiana native Alton Sterling’s murder by police this summer.
After the scenario plays out just as tragically as it did for Alton Sterling, Tech takes things a step further by rewinding the incident and showing things from the officer’s perspective, showing what may have happened had they given Tech’s character the chance to reach into his pocket.
The complexities of the video are representative of those the song is trying to address. Tech is placing himself on both sides of the gun both literally and metaphorically, trying to find some unity in all of the confusion to combat a nation divided.
With the addition of a powerful solo from Krizz Kaliko during the video’s most intense moments, “What If It Was Me” is captivating visual grey-area that reminds us all that we’re not that different, and begs the question, “what if it was you?”
By Brent Bradley. Follow him on Twitter.
Photo Credit: YouTube