Acclaimed underground Kansas City rapper and Strange Music labelhead Tech N9ne returns to Nashville tonight, June 17, to headline Marathon Music Works in support of his latest LP N9na. Dubbed the “It Goes Up” tour, Tech is, per usual, making it a label-centric family affair, boasting a stellar lineup of likeminded friends and collaborators as support: Dax, Krizz Kaliko, ¡Mayday!, and UBI! One of the summer’s best bets for fans of real hip hop, tickets are available right here; snag ’em now and read on for more about the show!
Hailing from Kansas City, MO, Tech N9ne, born Aaron Yates, became attracted to hip hop at a young age, finding a taste of success through his first group Black Mafia in the early ’90s. After several years of more collaborative efforts to varying degrees of attention, Tech and his business partner launched their own record label, Strange Music, in 1999, opening the door for a barrage of independent success throughout the ’00s. Known for his “chopper style” technical flow (his stage name was derived from a “TEC-9” handgun, but he’s since added the “technical” implication to its meaning), often dark lyrical themes, and expansive and genre-bending influences, Tech has become one of underground hip hop’s most prominent and well-respected figures, with a staggering 21 albums (eight a part of his guest-heavy “collabo series”) under his belt in over the past 20 years, his latest being this year’s N9na. If you need further confirmation of his respect with the scene, just take a peak at all of the features on his records, which include Kendrick Lamar, Eminem, Snoop Dog, Lil Wayne, T.I., Cee Lo, Busta Rhymes, Wiz Khalifa, and even The Doors. The architect of his own scene and collective, Tech N9ne shows are especially guest-filled and engaging, and a must-see for any fan of real hip hop.
Canadian born, LA based young up and coming rapper Dax got his start doing poetry and motivational speaking, before gaining early viral fame for his rap online, uploading freestyles, diss tracks aimed at internet influencers, and original material to YouTube, and scoring viral fame for his 2017 track “Cash Me Outside.” Boasting a seriously refined, fast flow and a sharp lyrical prowess, he’ll quickly becoming a buzzed-out underground figure to watch, especially since last year’s It’s Different Now, and with his impressive technical skill, Dax should easily appeal to Tech N9ne fans.
A longtime collaborator of Tech N9ne (the two met in the late ’90s while simultaneously working with local producer IcyRoc), rapper and songwriter Krizz Kaliko also hails from Kansas City, and is signed to Tech’s Strange Music label. His sixth album, GO, which refines his fusion of alternative hip hop, r&b, soul, and jazz, arrived in 2016 to solid critical buzz, and he’s since been on the road and making regular guest features, with new music sure to drop in the near future.
Known for helming production duties and collaborating on lots of Tech N9ne’s work, Strange Music group ¡Mayday! hail from Miami, and are made up of rappers Bernz and Wrekonize, along with producer and percussionist NonMS (formerly featuring multi-instrumentalist Plex Luthor, drummer L T Hopkins, and bassist Gianni Cash, who departed a few years ago on amicable terms). Their style is expansive, composition heavy, and influenced by rock almost as much as it is hip hop, and has remained boundary pushing and fresh over 15 years and seven LPs.
UBI a.ka. Ubiquitous is one half of long-running Kansas City hip hop duo Ces Cru, another Strange Music fixture and underground rap staple. While Ces Cru have been at it for almost 20 years, UBI only recently started branching out on his own, delivering a series of EPs called Under Bad Influence since last fall, which showcase his honed and technical, personal, and incredibly verbose style, sure to make for a captivating and engaging opening set- don’t be late!
Tech N9ne, Dax, Krizz Kaliko, ¡Mayday!, and UBI will perform tonight, June 17 at Marathon Music Works. The show is 18+, begins at 8 p.m. (doors at 6:30 p.m.), and tickets are available to purchase for $35.