Tech N9ne has some numbers he could be boasting about.
The 46-year-old MC and proud Kansas City native is closing in on three decades in the rap game. He is the co-founder of one of hip-hop’s most successful independent labels, Strange Music, which has been in existence for 19 years and recently released Tech N9ne’s 20th album “Planet.” But at the creative pace he is moving, he has given up keeping track.
“No, I write my life. Why do I count?” he said. “People let me know the numbers.”
Raised by a Christian mother and a Muslim stepfather, Tech N9ne’s combination of his skilled lyricism, his fast and furious “chopper” flow and his unwavering work ethic, both as a touring artist and entrepreneur, has garnered him both a loyal fan base and an unquantifiable amount of respect in the rap community.
He has collaborated and recorded with everyone from Eminem, Lil Wayne and Kendrick Lamar to 2 Chainz, Logic and Snoop Dogg, just to name a few. He has even ventured far beyond the confines of hip-hop to work on songs with the surviving members of The Doors and some metal team-ups with lead singer Serj Tankian from System of the Down and Slipknot frontman Corey Taylor.
Tech N9ne’s music, both in the form of personal songs and party anthems, eventually found its way to the mainstream thanks to several hits. These included the Gold-certified singles “Fragile” featuring Mayday and Kendrick Lamar off the 2013 album “Something Else” and his biggest song to date “The Hood Go Crazy” featuring 2 Chainz and B.o.B. (which cracked the Billboard Hot 100) off of 2015’s “Special Effects.”
While the success of those singles certainly was a shot in the arm for both Tech N9ne and Strange Music, he said he has never been intent on chasing down the next hit.
“It’s like what my label sees is that, if we can get singles to pop, that would be dope, but I’m still going to do music that I feel,” he said. “I write my life, and there’s nothing single about that.”
Tech N9ne admits he had some ups and downs in in the past couple years. He finally decided to remove the facepaint he had worn for much of his career (which, while done due to Tech’s shyness, may have scared off some initial listeners) to perform his varied discography on tour as three different personas : The King, The Clown and The G. While the tour itself was a success, the album he was on tour promoting, 2016’s “The Storm,” didn’t get the reception and national attention he was hoping for, despite songs featuring blues guitar ace Gary Clark Jr., Jonathan Davis from Korn and Boyz II Men.
But the response to that album only served as creative fuel for his latest album “Planet.”
“You can go one of two ways, I can go, I’ll stop, I’m just not going to put out anymore music," he said. "Or I could just put out the most kick-ass music ... so that’s what I did.”
Tech N9ne will make what he believes is his first stop in Lexington when he, fellow label mates and other special guests perform at Manchester Music Hall on Monday. He said he’s really mastered the presentation of his three personas on this tour and will stretch back to some of the first songs in his discography. He said he plans to have fewer guest features on his next release. That being said, when he found out the legendary Elton John was a fan, he wouldn’t rule out any collaboration or creative project, as long as it surpasses the one that came before.
“We say in Strange Music, the motto is, ‘It goes up.’ You can’t level off in the middle,” he said. “I just know where I want to go and it’s got to be bigger.”
IF YOU GO
Planet Tour 2018
Artists: Tech N9ne, Krizz Kaliko, Just Juice, Joey Cool and King Iso
When: 7 p.m. June 4
Where: Manchester Music Hall 899 Manchester St.
Tickets: $28 advance, $30 day of show; ages 18 and older