By Aaris A. Schroeder
Hip Hop and video games go hand-in-hand and no one knows this better than Dallas, Texas-based emcee TekForce who released “TekForce For Dummies,” in 2020 with the entire project hosted by DJ Kawon of The Mixtape Show which focuses on his nerdy passion for gaming and the foundations of Hip Hop.
TekForce, first and foremost is a lover of video games and Hip Hop since he was a kid and his parents helped him discover Pac-Man. Whenever he was out and about with his family, young TekForce could be heard coaxing his parents into taking him to Chuck E. Cheese (Previously known as Showbiz Pizza). He continued his passion for video games which was influenced by his older brother who also was a fan of Hip Hop. TekForce grew up on some of the classics such as RUN-DMC, LL Cool J, A Tribe Called Quest and Gangstarr.
“I remember I came into the room and I heard this music that sounded really dope. I asked my bro and he told me it was, The Fat Boys and that is what sparked the love of hip hop [for me].” says TekForce who brother had a box of tapes he could go through.
Soon after, TekForce was using the MTV Music Generator where someone can make and save tracks to a memory card. He remembers putting any music CD in and sampling 15-seconds of a song at a time to make a beat. This inspired him to become more interested in professionally making beats that he could rap over. He only began making music in ’00 when he decided to combine his love for gaming by using beats that sounded like they came from video games along with those classic b-boy, boom-bap style Hip Hop beats which helped him to discover his own unique sound.
“Hip Hop and video games are synonymous with each other because of the music sampling of Pacman or Galaga; and then later games like DefJam Vendetta (2003); and Wu-Tang Shaolin Style (1999) we’re created and fused them even more. Back in the day, there would be battles in the park and video game developers continued that connection,” according to TekForce who is reminded that Hip Hop and video games have always shared competition in common.
Currently, TekForce is playing, “Streets of Rage 4.” He remembers playing Streets of Rage 1, and hearing music done by Yuzo Koshiro that no one had ever heard before, music that would put a player to action in beating up the competition. Curious to who produced the music, TekForce became inclined to begin making similarly sounding music set to Hip Hop.
“People think Hip Hop is only around you but it is worldwide.” Explains TekForce.
TekForce’s music bleeds ‘Nerdcore’ and intellectual Hip Hop however he also listens and is influenced by 90’s and 2000’s Hip Hop artists such as Ras Kas, Souls of Mischief, OutKast, Goodie Mobb, Kanye West and Common as well as Texas-based artists like Scarface and The Ghetto Boys. Of course, more modernly, TekForce digs artists like Odyssey and Action Bronson.
“There is a fine line where we don’t listen to new Hip Hop and I’ve heard artists who are dope but I haven’t listened to their stuff. I listen to things that made me who I am,” antidotes TekForce about his method of music-listening.
New music released by TekForce on his “TekForce For Dummies” album “Move (Feat. T-Wrex),” produced by Michael J. Peña has a heavy electric guitar riff running through it, paired with an ‘80s-style boom-bap beat, reminiscent of b-boys getting down to a Cold Crush Brothers track back when Hip Hop was in its infancy. “Move” will get you to feel as if you have been transported to the early ‘80s with a futuristic synth-wave running through it. The beat produced by Michael J. Peña of Austin-based band Hamerzya, came to be after a long drive from Dallas to Austin, TX. Peña also co-produced the single, “They Watchin (Feat. J. Waiters),” along with TekForce.
Louis Gray AKA T-Wrex, who is TekForce’s manager and mentor is also an emcee and the owner of The Group Entertainment, where he works in marketing and promotions. He is currently working on his album, “Beats and Bars” and has a single, “Driven” that is featured on the “We Move Different Vol III” Compilation album DJ Kawon released May 2021.
“Trapped” is a single off TekForce’s album, “Child Of The 80’s” due out later in the year. The song is based off the old cartoon series, “Robotech” from the ‘80s where the cast is trapped on a planet similar to Mars and aliens are tuning in to hear them. “Trapped” is about how the character from the show, “Rick Hunter,” wants to save his girlfriend Lisa Hayes from impending doom. It was produced by Daren “Kongdu” Wilborn, of 80 Books Productions, who has worked with TekForce on an upcoming album dedicated to the show. The song is cut up at the end by Seattle, WA DJ Bill Beats with “Star Wars” and “Return Of The Jedi” samples to make it ultra-eighty-licious. TekForce has worked with Bill Beats for years on different music.
Bill Beats became known after producing for the Hip Hop duo Guilty By Association (he produced under the name Nat da King at the time) and later on working with a slew of artists. Bill Beats is multi-talented as he serves as a photographer and DJ for performers like 9k1 and Klopfenpop. He also works as a music producer for several artists including Death*Star, Billy The Fridge, Shubzilla and others to name a few.
Of course, TekForce wouldn’t be a video-gaming Hip Hop head if he didn’t perform at events such as Retropalooza, Comicon (Dallas, TX), Classic Games Fest or at his all time favorite place, the National Video Game Museum in Frisco, TX. Now that the Pandemic is beginning to move behind us, Tekforce is excited to get back out there to perform.
He started off 2020, getting ready to perform at a huge convention in Dallas and because of the rumors behind COVID19, the event didn’t turn out the way promoters expected. TekForce has performed all over to audiences of over 1000 people in attendance and plans to hold a release party at the National Video Game Museum in Frisco, TX; which is, coincidently his favorite place to be.
“My heart is always in performance; it is how I started out – being a nervous 26-year-old rapping to people who didn’t know who I was. I am definitely getting back into it. The National Video Game Museum is a wonderful place I have performed at several times and I have always wanted to throw a show there.” Says TekForce who reminisces about the old Atari and Commadore 64 video games that are housed there.
Besides performing, TekForce has plans to link forces with Allen Community Outreach non-profit that helped him when he was going through hard times. The non-profit helped him to financially to stay afloat and, according to TekForce, saved his daughter and his lives. TekForce wants to be able to pay them back through Light Cycle Entertainment which helps cultivate kids like himself.
“I had it rough because it wasn’t accepted as much to be a nerd [when I was younger] but I can help kids to cultivate songs, find beats. I think once this album comes out, artists will start to find me and want to be a part of it. I want to work with artists who take it seriously.” Says TekForce.
Besides making music and working out the details of a non-profit to work with youth, TekForce also has several live streaming shows and a Facebook group called, “TekForce’s Tekkies” which is a private group where fans who are also making music themselves can talk shop and share what they are releasing. One of the live streams he does is “TekForceRetro”, which is a show where TekForce plays old school video games on the Twitch Platform.
Another Twitch show, “Bosses&Beats” is hosted along with video game artist Joel Christiansen who is the founder of DogTheoryGames and known for his work with Disastr_Blastr and StarGirlSuper EMMA. The show is live and TekForce creates beats live that go with Joe’s pixel artistry. The two discuss, technically, what is going on in the screen and by the end of the show, they have completed a beat and a piece of pixel art. Similarly, for those interested, the show’s appeal is comparable to Nintendo back in the day when they had their tips and tricks show, according to TekForce.
In addition to performing at shows and continuing his efforts with his live streaming shows, TekForce plans to release “Child Of The 80’s” an album that will be born August 14, 2021 and which will be filled with all sorts of ‘nerd-core’ symbolism, beats and rhymes. Look out for “Child Of The 80’s” soon on all popular digital platforms.
All The Links
Facebook | TekForce Artist Page
Facebook Group | TekForce Tekkies
Facebook: Light Cycle Entertainment
Bill Beats Musical Works
T-Wrex Musical Works
DJKawon Musical Works
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