One of the most insane, influential, and impactful legacies in hip-hop belongs to Tech N9ne. He has consistently accomplished the impossible from outside of the system. He’s bucked every trend, overturned all expectations, and not only built a culture, but a whole damn world with Strange Music.
There’s only one way to describe a rapper on the eve of his 50th birthday with a bigger audience than ever, wilder shows than ever, and crazier flows than ever—and it’s the title of his twenty-second fulllength album, ASIN9NE [Strange Music].
“It’s asinine for Tech N9ne to be rapping like this going into his fiftieth birthday,” he laughs. “All of the fear is gone. It’s just stupid as fuck, as we used to say back in the day. It’s weird. It’s wonderful. It’s crazier than ever, man.”
The craziest thing is how far he’s come since co-founding Strange Music back in 2000. The Kansas City, MO rapper has gone from packed Midwest underground shows to the annual Forbes “Cash Kings” list multiple times, the cover of XXL, the playlists of Sir Elton John and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and national commercials for the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. Beyond tallying billions of streams and views, he has scored four platinum singles (“Am I A Psycho?” [feat. B.o.b & Hopsin], “Worldwide Choppers” [feat. Ceza, JL B.Hood, USO, Yelawolf, Twista, Busta Rhymes, D-Loc, & Twisted Insane], “Hood Go Crazy” [feat. 2 Chainz & B.o.B], and “Caribou Lou” [feat. Krizz Kaliko]) and three gold singles (“Fragile” [feat. Kendrick Lamar, ¡Mayday!, & Kendall Morgan], “Dysfunctional,” and “The Beast”) as well as a gold album (Everready). He has notched 23 entries on the Billboard Top albums Chart and remains the record holder for “most Top 10 albums on the rap chart.” Not to mention, he cracked the Top 5 of the Billboard Top 200 four times. His collaborators have ranged from Eminem, The Doors, Lil Wayne, Tupac, Boyz II Men, T.I., MGK, Flatbush Zombies, and Gary Clark, Jr. to Slipknot, System of a Down, Deftones, and Logic. Mainstream went Tech when he ignited ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel LIVE! Meanwhile, Complex mused upon “How Kendrick Lamar Became a Star With Help From Tech N9ne.” He has sold out hundreds of shows as part of a relentless schedule. Not to mention, he introduced his own craft beer Bou Lou—in partnership with Kansas City’s own Boulevard Brewery.
Throughout 2021, he wrote and recorded ASIN9NE. Posting up millions of streams in advance, he teased the album with a string of fan favorites, including “Kickiter” [feat. Shao Dow], “Close Your Eyes” [feat. Kiddo Al], “Take Your Halo,” and “I Been Thru A Lot” [feat. Stige]. Of this marathon run, HotNewHipHop attested, “Tech N9ne just keeps blessing us with dope music.” Now, the album opens with the statement-making “The Herder.” Ominous funeral organ groans underneath back-masked vocals before Tech launches into a succinct salvo of staccato rhymes. Over a rock-infused soundscape, he speaks on his place in the game with the perfect metaphor…
“I am the ‘G.O.A.T. Herder’,” he grins. “I’ll take that title over ‘The G.O.A.T.’, because I’m making all of the ‘G.O.A.T.’s’ move. Whenever I send my verses to these ‘G.O.A.T.’s’ like Slim Shady, Wayne, T.I.P. or K. Dot, I push them to go harder. I’m not trying to outdo people; I’m just trying to do my best every time I drop.”
On “Too Good” [feat. Lil Wayne & Mumu Fresh], he delivers one quotable bar after another, living up to the title in the process. Mumu Fresh blesses the track with otherworldly soul, while Wayne—on his third track with Tech—devours the beat.