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A Case For Tech N9ne, My Favorite MC [Editorial]

Published: January 8, 2013 in Tech N9ne by

A Case For Tech N9ne, My Favorite MC [Editorial]

Last Saturday, CNN published an article written by Eliott C. McLaughlin titled “A Case for Nas, Hip Hop’s Finest MC”, in which Mclaughlin orchestrated a reasonable and well thought-out case for why he believed Nas is the greatest emcee of all time.

While my love for Nas is huge and I can’t argue with many of the points Eliott made in his article, I felt compelled to hold it down for the Kansas City King and make a case for Tech N9ne, hip hop’s Strangest emcee.

I’m not out to rank Tech N9ne among any other emcees in Hip Hop, because to be honest it’s a completely relative matter of opinion, no matter how much people may try to claim otherwise. However, I am out to acknowledge a cemented spot in hip hop history for one of my personal heroes and an emcee I’ve been listening to for over a decade.

On November 8th, 1971, just 2 years before DJ Kool Herc made history on Sedgwick & Cedar in The Bronx, Aaron Dontez Yates came into the world. It would take another 28 years for Tech N9ne and Travis O’ Guin to form Strange Music Inc., which, in my opinion, is one of the most amazing effects of Herc’s cause in ’73. Since it’s inception in 1999, Strange Music has come to be the standard by which all other independent hip hop outfits should be compared to, and Tech N9ne has been at the helm of it all.

Let me start by addressing Tech N9ne’s sound, because I feel that is the main root of Tech’s appeal. In hip hop, the emcee’s voice is often just as much of an instrument as those he’s rapping over, and nowhere is this more easily observable than in Tech’s flow. A unique voice in and of itself, coupled with a percussive cadence and powerful intonation make Tech N9ne’s delivery incomparable. Tech is able to match and often lend aid to drum patterns with his voice, something I feel a lot of today’s rappers could learn from.

The next logical thing to acknowledge is Tech’s lyrical abilities, which coupled with his delivery make him one of the most (if not the most) unique rappers in hip hop. Tech N9ne has this weird ability to bend and manipulate the English language to make it serve his purpose. For those not willing to venture beyond the surface, some of Tech N9ne’s lyrics may come off as borderline nonsensical. However, damn near every time that appears to be the case, a closer listen will reveal depth and meaning beyond what one might have imagined possible from words that sometimes don’t even exist until Tech N9ne decides they do. If you doubt this at all, look at “Caribou Lou” (arguably Tech N9ne’s most club-type party track) on RapGenius.

As part of Tech’s lyrical ability, I’d also like to address a skill that was mentioned in Eliott’s case for Nas: storytelling. In this category, I feel Tech N9ne easily matches Nas. Both emcees are incredibly talented at the art of storytelling, and both use examples from their own lives to tell their own stories as well as the stories of others. One could argue that Tech N9ne’s body of work is basically an auditory autobiography, and they wouldn’t be wrong. One thing I’ve learned for certain while working at Strange Music is that Tech N9ne raps what he lives.

The final point that I will make in my case for Tech N9ne is another one that was made in the case for Nas: longevity. While Nas is turning 40 in September, Tech N9ne is over 40 already and is still putting out quality hip hop at a rate much more frequent than Nas.

Again, I’m not here to rank the quality of these two rappers or their work, just stating my opinion along with the fact that Tech has put out quite a few more projects than Nas. Tech N9ne has been in the game for over 20 years, and has continued to not only remain relevant, but grow as an artist and challenge new listeners and long time Technicians alike with new content and musical styles.

It’s hard to say how much longer Tech N9ne will remain a fixture in Hip Hop. He’s recently expressed his desire to remain a part of the business even after he’s no longer behind the mic, and knowing Tech N9ne, it could be another decade before that’s even a possibility.

All this writer knows is that for the last 20 years, Tech N9ne has continued to challenge, inspire, and even save lives with his inventive and 100% genuine content and delivery, and that alone reserves him a seat at the table of all time hip hop greats.

– Strange Music Social Media Dept., Brent Bradley

Follow Brent Bradley On Twitter @HipHoptimistic

Photo credit: Cheetah King Pein

  • Who do you think is the greatest rapper of all time?

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below!

  • Well-written, I can wholeheartedly agree.

  • @facebook.com/randall.langston

    The greatest thing about Tech N9ne and his lyrical ability to bend and manipulate words hit me directly, I have been a Technician for over 10 years and have extreme loyalty to his music and all other upon Strange Music. I love how if you listen to a CD from 5 years ago he mike make a reference today that makes perfect sense, but if you didnt listen to Absolute Power, or Anghellic, or Everready, then you just get lost in his style. He is by far the dopest MC and he doesn’t make music just to make noise. He is great and I even have a huge N9NE on my left arm to back that up!

  • G.O.A.T…..Big question…big answer= I remember seeing a dude at the mall wit uh shirt that said: All my favorite rappers are dead! I was agitated, but elated because;although,his shirt acknowledged th

  • ( just got cut off) that a large majority of rappers we could do without…he OBVIOUSLY has not heard of Tech though. I was just listening to “asshole” & the part hes talkin bout how they say …nice stage show

  • (next time laptop not Kindle, smh) but being passive about his rapping apptitude, more than credible wordplay meaning genuine (Tech didnt jump on the scene talkin bout owning an island, or havin private jets in the beginning) I will have to say that he is the only rapper besides that I have ever listened to for this length of time on and ongoing basis always gotta have atleast one of his in rotation. My thing is words..and I am in love with words and . person

  • cont. and a person male or female who can command them and convey meaning to the point of making knee jerk reaction in me ….like : what in the hayl did he just say ! The man consistency of music as of late has to be applauded. subject matter…I know he flips things and makes you look at something you already have a grasp on and can totally tweak your view….all new angle. rhyming backwards ( throws hands up) cmon now…ORIGINALITY..so much more to discuss…..He has been my g.o.a.t. since I 1st heard hi music …and he still is presently…For anutha MF to keep my attn for a looong time Im thinkin next dude up after TECH gone have to be on some ventriloquist shit idk rap without his mouth moves and hav it clear….who knows…ya get my vote, Tech …. – PeepingtomETTE 2

  • Daz Ghost

    A song collaboration between Nas and Tech N9ne would be super nice.

  • UnIquel

    Between the best rappers? TECH N9NE! Nas is Ight! Don’t get me wrong! But Tech has more diversity in his music he’s done club/dark, rap/rNb, rap/rock etc. & better stage show & he can b-boy & that’s a elements of hip’hop. So I to go with TECH N9NE!

  • Sammeh

    Tech! Hands down! <33

  • TJS101

    Ever since the first time i heard tech n9ne i’ve never stopped being amazed at his lyrical ability. Not only does he rap about real life and real life problems but he puts it to incredible music. Very few artists have this ability much less rappers. Hopefully i can see him live for the first time on the powerhouse tour.

  • My case would be for Eminem as the top Emcee of all time, but Tech is easily among the all time elite along with Jay, Nas, Black Thought, Kweli, Budden, Royce, Lupe and a few others. No one has ever done it independently on the level Tech has, and over the past few years there’s been major increase in the amount of quality projects being released on Strange Music other than Tech N9ne. His long term success on his own terms as well as his unmistakable style make a strong case for Tech as an all time great


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