Early in his career, Yates was a member of a group formed in 1991 called Black Mafia. He saw glimpses of success in the group 57th Street Rogue Dog Villains with their single “Let’s Get Fucked Up.” As a member of the group Nnutthowze, Aaron Yates signed with Perspective Records in 1993. However, the group disbanded soon after being released from the label. Yates signed with Qwest Records briefly before moving to JCOR Records.
In 1997, Yates joined the group The Regime formed by rapper Yukmouth. The following year, he was featured on the soundtrack for the film Gang Related. Yates appeared on the song “The Anthem” by Sway & King Tech in 1999, which also featured artists RZA, Eminem, Xzibit, Pharoahe Monch, Jayo Felony, Chino XL, KRS-One, and Kool G. Rap. Later that year, he and Travis O’Guin founded the record label Strange Music.
In 2001, Yates released the studio album Anghellic on JCOR Records. After disputes arose about the promotion of the album, Yates and his label severed ties with the JCOR with a deal that allowed them to retain the rights to the album. The next year, he released Absolute Power, under a 50–50 joint venture between Strange Music and M.S.C. Music & Entertainment (which was founded by former Priority Records head Mark Cerami). The album debuted number 79 on the Billboard 200. The albums sales are said to have tripled following a campaign, going by the name of “F.T.I.” was started by the rapper and his label. The campaign, which asked music listeners to legally download the album for free through the artist’s own website, was in response to the anti-downloading campaign by the RIAA. In 2006, Yates released the album Everready (The Religion). The following year, he released Misery Loves Kompany. Yates announced that the album was the first in a series of “Tech N9ne Collabos” albums that feature a wide range of guest appearances.
The following year, Yates released the album Killer. That September, he exceeded one million album sales over his entire catalog. Yates remarked of the accomplishment that, “It just reminded me of all the work we’d done in the past, up until now I don’t think it’s sunken in yet. I’ve been celebrating for the last two days because that’s a hell of an accomplishment. I’ve been planning success all my life. I’m not even a bit surprised, I’m happy about it. That just means I was right.” Yates released his second Collabos album, Sickology 101, in April 2009.
Yates later performed at the Rock the Bells 2009 Festival and the tenth annual Gathering of the Juggalos. That October, he released K.O.D., an acronym for King of Darkness. The album featured a dark overtone, as Yates was dealing with the illness of his mother. An EP of new songs over unused beats from the K.O.D. album was released in 2010 as The Lost Scripts of K.O.D.. Later that year, Yates released his third Collabos album, The Gates Mixed Plate. In October, he released his second EP Seepage. On December 23, he released his first mixtape Bad Season, which was later released in retail CD form with a modified track list and without DJ Scream. On June 7, 2011 Yates released All 6’s And 7’s. The album features several hip-hop artists as well as rock artists including B.o.B, E-40, Snoop Dogg, Hopsin, T-Pain, Jay Rock, Mint Condition, Busta Rhymes, Twista, Lil Wayne, Yelawolf and Deftones and many others.
In 2011, Yates told 411mania.com that after All 6’s And 7’s he planned on releasing his fourth album in the Collabos series titled Welcome to Strangeland, featuring guest appearances from everyone on Strange Music, followed by the long awaited K.A.B.O.S.H. and 816 Boyz albums. Then, in July 2011, Yates said in a blog post that Rick Ross has agreed to do a song with him for the K.A.B.O.S.H. album and that he is also hoping to have a collaboration with Jay-Z on that album. In the same blog post, he said that the K.A.B.O.S.H. album will be a rock album. In another blog post several weeks later, he confirmed that he will begin work on the album after completing Welcome to Strangeland. Following his tour, he announced that he was about to begin work on Welcome to Strangeland and KLUSTERFUK, confirming producers for both projects.¡MAYDAY! is to entirely produce KLUSTERFUK. He said he will then begin work on the K.A.B.O.S.H. album.
Tech N9ne is featured on Lil Wayne’s ninth studio album Tha Carter IV on the song “Interlude”. The track features a verse from Tech and Andre 3000. During a radio interview with Funkmaster Flex in August 2010, Wayne stated that he and Tech N9ne formed a “brotherhood” when Yates visited him in jail. In a later interview, Tech N9ne claimed that he thinks the song will “awaken a lot of other people that wouldn’t usually look [his] way” and “teach all the new fans how to become technicians.”
On January 27, 2012, in an interview with “Underground TV” posted on Tech N9ne’s blog, Tech N9ne talked about his 2012 plans, confirming the release of Klusterfuk, the K.A.B.O.S.H. album and an untitled solo album to be released in 2012. In July 2012, it was announced that he would guest on an upcoming remix of one track from Linkin Park’s album Living Things. He was featured on the song “Edge of Destruction” (which also features Twista) that appears on Machine Gun Kelly’s first studio album “Lace Up”.
On September 18, Tech N9ne released an EP titled “E.B.A.H” (Evil Brain Angel Heart). On October 30, Tech N9ne released an EP titled Boiling Point. He announced his thirteenth studio album would be titled Something Else and would be released on June 25, 2013. The first song released from the album would be “B.I.T.C.H.” an acronym for Breaking In To Colored Houses which features rapper/singer T-Pain. The album would end up being released on July 30, 2013 to universal critical acclaim. The album, which is broken up into three portions — Earth, Water & Fire, features guest appearances from B.o.B, Big K.R.I.T., Cee Lo Green, The Doors, Game, Kendrick Lamar, Serj Tankian, T-Pain, Trae tha Truth and Wiz Khalifa, among others including several artists from Tech N9ne’s Strange Music imprint.
1. News with Mark Alford 1 (Skit)
2. Straight Out The Gate (Feat. Krizz Kaliko & Serj Tankian)
3. B.I.T.C.H. (Feat. T-Pain)
4. With The BS (Feat. Big Scoob, Red Café & Trae tha Truth)
5. Love 2 Dislike Me (Feat. Liz Suwandi & Tyler Lyon)
6. Fortune Force Field
7. I’m Not A Saint
8. Fragile (Feat. Kendall Morgan, Kendrick Lamar, & Mayday)
9. Priorities (Feat. Angel Davenport & Game)
10. News With Mark Alford 2 (Skit)
12. So Dope (They Wanna) (Feat. Snow tha Product, Twisted Insane, & Wreckonize)
13. See Me (Feat. B.o.B & Wiz Khalifa)
14. My Haiku- Burn the World (Feat. Krizz Kaliko)
15. That’s My Kid (Feat. Big K.R.I.T, Cee Lo Green, & Kutt Calhoun)
16. Meant to Happen (Feat. Scoop DeVille)
17. News With Mark Alford 3 (Skit)
19. R.I.P. Ray (Skit)
20. Strange 2013 (Feat. The Doors)
22. Colorado (Feat. B.o.B, Ces Cru, Krizz Kaliko, Mayday, Rittz, & Stevie Stone)
23. Drowning (Feat. Liz Suwandi)
Track by track review and rating
1. News with Mark Alford 1 (Skit)- Newscast intro speaking of a meteorite crash and a fog covering in Kansas City. N/A
2. Straight Out The Gate (Feat. Krizz Kaliko & Serj Tankian)- This track is driven by a definite Tech N9ne beat. The verses flow well and are mixed great. Serj Tankian handles the hook in the track. Surprisingly the two styles work very well together. 8/10
3. B.I.T.C.H. (Feat. T-Pain)- This track is Tech’s response to the African American culture not being accepting of his music. B.I.T.C.H. stands for Breaking In To Colored Houses. A very slow beat allows Tech to rhyme much slower than usual and that works here. T-Pain covers this hook with his standard fare of Autotune but it fits this track. 7/10
4. With The BS (Feat. Big Scoob, Red Café & Trae tha Truth)- This beat will have the listener bobbing their head for sure. The verses are handled well and the hook is unique enough to draw some attention. The featured artists add a lot to the track. 7/10
5. Love 2 Dislike Me (Feat. Liz Suwandi & Tyler Lyon)- Heavy hitting guitar riffs back this beat and Liz Suwandi adds a haunting flair to this track. Tyler Lyon brings a modern hard rock sound in between Tech delivering Hard Hitting lyrics. Another risk taken by Tech that pays off here. 9/10
6. Fortune Force Field- Another slow melodic beat leads Techs delivery here. The combination of music and lyrical styles is again very unique and provides great evidence Tech’s style is easily used with a wide variety of music genres. 8/10
7. I’m Not A Saint- This track has a very different sound than the listener is used to with Tech N9ne. It is more laid back and his verses are almost spoken word. It is a nice change of pace. 8/10
8. Fragile (Feat. Kendall Morgan, Kendrick Lamar, & Mayday)- Almost an R & B beat in this track. Wreckonize and Bernz lead off the track with a very well performed verse. Kendall Morgan covers the hook and it fits really well. Kendrick Lamar holds the last verse and does very well. All the artists make this track very enjoyable. 9/10
9. Priorities (Feat. Angel Davenport & Game)- The verses work well in a track with a limited beat. Simple but effective. 8/10
10. News With Mark Alford 2 (Skit)- Second skit here. Continues the news report about the mist. N/A
11. Dwamn- A very mainstream beat on this track. Tech kills the beat. This track is very “club” friendly with the content, beat, and hook. 7/10
12. So Dope (They Wanna) (Feat. Snow tha Product, Twisted Insane, & Wreckonize)- This track takes the listener back to the sound they are used to from Tech. All the featured artists perform their verses very well. The hook is fairly basic but it works against the complex verses. 8/10
13. See Me (Feat. B.o.B & Wiz Khalifa)- A slower beat than the last track take Tech back to a slower flow, this seems to be a theme in this album. B.o.B adds to the hook but it doesn’t really fit here. Wiz Khalifa has a good verse but this really doesn’t sound like a Tech track as the styles clash a little too much. 6/10
14. My Haiku- Burn the World (Feat. Krizz Kaliko)- This track is in stark contrast to the last. In this track Krizz and Techs styles complement one another, which isn’t surprising as they have worked together a lot in the past. While the hook is sung once again it fits here. 8/10
15. That’s My Kid (Feat. Big K.R.I.T, Cee Lo Green, & Kutt Calhoun)- This track is over a simple beat but that is done intentionally to make the lyrics shine. Lyrically this track is about parenting and how it alone can prevent future tragedies and keep kids out of trouble. Cee Lo sings on the hook and it caps off the theme of the song nicely. 9/10
16. Meant to Happen (Feat. Scoop DeVille)- This track starts with a hook from Scoop DeVille. This is Tech’s tale of his mother and upbringing and how it has shaped him today. A very good track with a positive message. 8/10
17. News With Mark Alford 3 (Skit)- Final newscast about the fog making positive changes in KC. N/A
18. Believe- Another slow beat. This track is a socially conscious track that has good meaning. The hook works but there is no credit given to the singer. 7/10
19. R.I.P. Ray (Skit)- Short skit giving respects to The Doors Ray Manzerick. N/A
20. Strange 2013 (Feat. The Doors)- Of all the collaborations the music world could have never expected this is it. The Hook by Jim Morrison and Tech’s delivery of verses over that trademark Doors sound works really well although some listeners may not be able to feel the vibe. 9/10
21. SMB- 5 second closing statement. N/A
22. Colorado (Feat. B.o.B, Ces Cru, Krizz Kaliko, Mayday, Rittz, & Stevie Stone)- A nice beat leads this track forward. B.o.B. adds a decent hook. All of the featured artists on this track lay down very good verses. The track as a whole works and is enjoyable. 7/10
23. Drowning (Feat. Liz Suwandi)- Another haunting hook by Liz here. The hook is mellow and allows the listeners to chill out at the end of this long album. Great overall sound on this track. 8/10
Overall Album Rating: 7.8/10
Conclusion: Tech N9ne took a lot of risks on this album. Most of them paid off but there were a few that fell short. With Michael “Seven” Summers producing the beats and album we see a lot of similar risks to Twiztid’s latest release A New Nightmare, and that is not a bad thing. This album blends a lot of different genres together and shows the diversity of Tech N9ne’s style and delivery. This album will appeal to mainstream fans based solely on the featured artists while leaving some underground fans scratching their heads as to why Tech made some of the choices he did. The album is definitely worth picking up and deserving of the title “Something Else.”
- Love 2 Dislike Me (Feat. Liz Suwandi & Tyler Lyon)
- Fragile (Feat. Kendall Morgan, Kendrick Lamar, & Mayday)
- That’s My Kid (Feat. Big K.R.I.T, Cee Lo Green, & Kutt Calhoun)
- Strange 2013 (Feat. The Doors)