Throughout his career, Yates has sold over one million albums and has had his music featured in film, television, and video games!
Aaron Dontez Yates, better known by his stage name Tech N9ne (pronounced Tech Nine), is an American rapper from Kansas City, Missouri. In 1999, Yates and Travis O'Guin founded the record label Strange Music. Throughout his career, Yates has sold over one million albums and has had his music featured in film, television, and video games. In 2009, he won the Left Field Woodie award at the mtvU Woodie Awards.
His stage name originated from the TEC-9 semi-automatic handgun, given to him by rapper Black Walt due to his fast rhyming Chopper style. Yates later applied a deeper meaning to the name, claiming that it stands for the complete technique of rhyme, with tech meaning technique and nine representing the number of completion.
Aaron Dontez Yates was born on November 8, 1971 in Kansas City, Missouri. He began rapping at a very early age, and would rap the letters of his name in order to remember how to spell it. He never met his father, and his mother suffered from epilepsy and lupus when he was a child, which emotionally affected him and inspired him to 'search for God. He would wander around abandoned buildings with his best friend, Brian Dennis, hoping to catch a ghost on film. In 2003, Dennis was shot and killed by his girlfriend's ex-Husband, which further inspired Yates search for a higher power, as well as giving him the drive to vent his frustrations in his music.
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 Villians 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 5050 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 wed done in the past, up until now [...] I dont think it's sunken in yet. Ive been celebrating for the last two days because that's a hell of an accomplishment. Ive been planning success all my life. Im not even a bit surprised, Im 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 wouldnt 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.
On September 18, Tech N9ne released an EP titled E.B.A.H. (Evil Brain Angel Heart). 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 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 July 30, 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.