"It's my heart and soul pouring onto the paper. I write my life and I can't hold back." - Tech N9ne.
Aaron Dontez Yates (born November 8, 1971), better known by his stage name Tech N9ne (pronounced "Tech Nine"), is an American rapper from Kansas City, Missouri. In 1999, Yates and Travis O'Guin founded the record label Strange Music. Throughout his career, Yates has sold over one million albums and has had his music featured in film, television, and video games.
Aaron Dontez Yates was born Nobember 8, 1971 in Kansas City, Missouri. He never met his father, and his mother suffered from epilepsy and lupus when he was a child, which emotionally affected him and inspired him to "search for God." He would wander around abandoned buildings with his best friend, Brian "B'zle" Dennis, hoping to catch a ghost on film. Tech grew up in a small house in the Wayne Miner projects, where his grandmother and a few of his aunts and uncles also stayed. After a while he moved up to his grandmother's house. He began rapping at an early age and would rap the letters of his name in order to remember how to spell it.
Tech's understanding of rhythm in music was taught by his uncle, while the religiousness came from his mother, grandmother and aunt. When Tech was 12, his Christian mother married a Muslim who would become Tech's stepfather and they moved to a new house. It was a strict religious household, so going to church several times a week and hearing church music and gospel songs within the house became natural for Tech. Although rap music was banned from his house, his life changed dramatically when his uncle snuck him a record called "Rap Dirty" by Blowfly. He began amassing an arsenal--Soulsonic Force, NWA, Public Enemy, Boogie Down Productions--hiding the records at a neighbor's house for fear his stepfather would find out. The moniker "Tech N9ne" was actually given to him by local rapper Black Walt who owned a TEC-9 semi-automatic handgun at the time. The reason behind it was that Tech rapped with an incredible speed, very similar to the fire rate of the gun.
In 1984, the streets of hometown became infected by the crack trade, as L.A. Bloods moved into his neighborhood and the 57th Street Rogue Dog Villains were born. While his homeboys were getting caught up, Tech was perfecting his rhyme skills, gaining a reputation as a dope rapper and dancer.
At 17, he left home to move in with an aunt. He got his first taste of freedom but with it, came another view of the dark side. But during this time, he never stopped dancing and rhyming and his skills attracted a round-the-way girl named Tanya, who invited him to join her at a rap convention in New Orleans. Through Tanya, who later would rise to fame as the rapper Sole, he got his first big break.
The first break (1989-Edit
The early break led to him hooking up with longtime collaborator Icy Rock, who turns out some of the dopest tracks on Anghellic. But it couldn't prepare him for the long hard road out of hell. With every industry inroad--and there were plenty--came major setbacks. An early development deal with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis' Perspective Records went up in smoke as the label faultered and Tech returned to Kansas City.
During this time, he hooked up with an old homeboy, a producer named Don Juan, Anghellic's other wiz kid. He started experimenting even further, rhyming backwards and putting out independent singles with dope dealing money, anything to stay in the game.
An L.A. contact at Rappages Magazine turned him on to QDIII, the son of the famed producer Quincy Jones. Tech made his next leap of faith, signing with Quincy Jones' Qwest Records, a label that would follow the same path as Perspective. While on Qwest Records, Tech was working on what was supposed to be his debut album, Be Warned which was supposed to be released in 1997. By the time he was finished recording "Twisted" (which is on Anghellic), the album Be Warned was complete. However, Qwest decided to shelf the album, leaving Tech to languish. He would later want to get out of the deal, and that's where Travis O'Guin came in.
The Birth of StrangeEdit
Travis O'Guin was a well established furniture business man who was itching to get his foot in the door of the music industry. At the time, Tech had commitments tearing him in every which way with little success. He was signed to both Qwest Records and MidwestSide Records, as well as stuck in commitments to QDII's Soundlab and Sway & King Tech of the Wake Up Show. When Travis offered him something he had never had before (his own label), Tech jumped at the opportunity. The new partners decided to split everything 50/50 with Travis as president and Tech as vice president.
Strange Music releases (2009)Edit
His tenth studio album, K.O.D., was released October 27, 2009. He has spent his illustrious career making sure he's been grinding harder than the average rapper, and is the best selling artist out of his hometown. With nine solo albums and two powerhouse collaboration projects under his belt, the Kansas City MC's flow is sharper and slicker than it's ever been.
"This is another roller coaster ride," explains Tech about the release. "When it came time for Sickology 101, I knew I wanted to do a collabo album based on the study of being sick. It's a beginner's course for people who don't know how to be sick lyrically or how to choose sick beats. It all starts with beats because they tell me exactly what to do." Epic beats from YoungFyre, Wyshmaster, Seven and Matic Lee set the stage for Tech N9ne to weave his introspective and sometimes roguish lyrics around.
Sickology 101 brims with stellar appearances from lyrical heavyweights. On the opening title track, Tech N9ne slays alongside Chino XL and Crooked I, pulling listeners into the Hip-Hop classroom for a lesson in murdering a beat. It's a twisted vision forged on undeniable grooves and quixotic wordplay.
The single, "Nothin," is an inspiring, honest anthem that features Messy Marv and Big Scoob. Meanwhile, on "Midwest Choppers 2," Tech and Krayzie Bone cruise to the depths of darkness. "Krayzie Bone came through and murdered it," says Tech. "I modeled the song after movies. When you do a sequel, there has to be a bigger body count and more people have to die. 'Midwest Choppers 2' is Autobahn-style. It makes you want to speed."
Tech N9ne's inimitable flow and rhyming take center stage on solo tracks, including the haunting, hypnotic "Red Nose" . He doesn't pull any punches on the vitriolic, YoungFyre-produced "Blown Away," either. It's an open letter to several prominent urban artists who refused to play before him at radio festivals despite his massive concert draw.
- The Calm Before The Storm (1999)
- The Worst (2000)
- Anghellic (2001)
- Celcius (2002)
- Absolute Power (2002)
- Everready (The Religion) (2006)
- Killer (2008)
- K.O.D. (2009)
- All 6's And 7's (2011)
- Something Else (2013)
- Special Effects (2015)
Re-released solo albumsEdit
Collaboration albums (Tech N9ne Collabos)Edit
- Misery Loves Kompany (2007)
- Sickology 101 (2009)
- The Gates Mixed Plate (2010)
- Welcome to Strangeland (2011)
- Strangeulation (2014)
- Strangeulation, Vol. II (2015)
Extended plays (EPs)Edit
- The Lost Scripts of K.O.D. (2010)
- Seepage (2010)
- Klusterfuk (2012)
- E.B.A.H. (2012)
- Boiling Point (2012)
- Therapy (2013)
- Vintage Tech (2005)
- Bad Season (2010)
- Amafrican Psycho (2012)
- Hip Hop Squares (2012)
- Beef (2003)
- T9X: The Tech N9ne Experience (2004)
- United Ghettos of America, Vol. 2** (2004)
- Hip Hop Nation Vol. 1 (2005)
- Letter to the President (2005)
- The Psychumentary (2008)
* = Appeared on the soundtrack. ** = Appeared on the soundtrack and in the movie.