Faced with a lack of interest from major labels, Tech N9ne founded his own independent label, Strange Music, in 1999. It quickly became a big player in the music industry. Ever since then, the Kansas City artist has developed a unique style through artistic versatility and a never-ending quest to perform as much as possible. Born in 1971, the year of Jim Morrison’s death, Tech N9ne was inspired by the Doors’ leader through the Strange spirit that possessed him, and his ability to evolve alongside other artists.
With some thirty projects to his name and a discography that began in 1999 with The Calm Before The Storm, the rapper has weathered the years well, having had 19 albums in the Billboard Top 10. This is a record, ahead of E-40 and Gucci Mane. Throughout his many projects, Tech N9ne has managed to create varied music that comes with at least one or two surprises. His work encompasses everything from gangsta rap to pop and soul, via influences from rock and metal, to which he even dedicated an album: Therapy: Sessions With Ross Robinson (2013). He is also a highly regarded metal producer and has worked with The Cure and Korn, amongst others. The final track on Tech N9ne’s collaboration with Ross Robinson, “Stop the Sailor” expresses both the charm of psyche rock and the energy of grunge.
With a flow as quick and devastating as the semi-automatic weapon after which he’s named, Tech N9ne’s interpretive strength and vocal dexterity allow him to vary the speed and intensity of his voice at will. On “Why You Ain’t Call Me” (2008) he demonstrates this by alternating between punchy phrasing and moving melodies. When he slows down, his deep, penetrating voice is captivating. Check out the chorus of “Awkward” (2012).
A constantly evolving artist, Tech N9ne’s musical experimentation is far from over. From sample culture to trending sounds, he’s always sharpening his style with a melodious fusion that is ever more fluid and profound. Guided by an all-consuming passion, his music can be frenetic and percussive as well as soft and bewitching, like “Sink” (2019) with its pop/rock flavours, the blues 2.0 sound of “Rata” (2019), and “My Fault” which borrows from both soul and gospel.
His musical mosaic has been enriched by collaborations with artists from all walks of life, and Tech N9ne always likes to shine the spotlight on the artists he’s signed such as Krizz Kaliko who joined him in 2006. Respected by his peers, whom we often hear featured on his tracks – from Snoop Dogg to Busta Rhymes, 2Chainz, T.I. and T-Pain – Tech N9ne has also helped promote artists like Kendrick Lamar and Jay Rock. As the head of one of the most powerful independent labels out there, Tech N9ne wields a serious weapon that never fires the same bullet twice.