Tech N9ne initially wanted a WWE-style “Rock promo” for the end of the track.
Seeing as “Face Off” was The Rock’s first rap verse, fans weren’t sure to expect, but the Red Notice actor came through, keeping up with Tech, as well as Joey Cool and King Iso, who are also featured on the song. As it turns out, we nearly didn’t get to hear Johnson’s MC skills at all as N9ne initially wanted him to provide a spoken word outro.
“He said, ‘I’d love for you to come in on the end and just do spoken word.’ I said, ‘In what way?’ He goes, ‘I don’t know. Maybe like a Rock promo, like if you were in WWE.’ And I said, ‘OK, cool. Let me hear it,’” he told Complex. Upon hearing what his friend had created, Johnson reportedly felt inspired.
“I called [Tech] and I said, ‘Look, brother, I have an idea,’” the 49-year-old said. “‘This might be a great idea or fucking trash.’ He laughed. He goes, ‘What is it?’ I said, ‘I want to try and rap this. Let me really try and attack some bars for you.’ He goes, ‘You want to do that?’ I said, ‘I would love to do that because if I just do a Rock promo at the end, I honestly feel like I’m not doing you and the boys the proper service. I really want to come in and help elevate in any way I can.’”
Johnson shared that he and Tech have been friends for years, the actor admires the way that his pal makes music “about the hunger and the drive and journey.” Once he had crafted up a rough draft of his verse, his rapper friend helped get it to where it needed to be, creating “Face Off” as we know and love it today.
“The fact that it went to number one on iTunes, number one on TikTok and YouTube, that’s such a blessing and it was so cool. I love all the heat that it’s getting, especially that verse, ‘It’s about drive, it’s about power / we stay hungry, we devour’—it’s good, man,” he said in the interview.
Check out “Face Off” below.