Tech N9ne celebrates new album N9NA at the Agora

Yvonne Pan, A&E Editor

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Rapper Tech N9ne has had quite a year, after briefly being mistaken for dead when battle rapper Tech 9 committed suicide on March 24. Just weeks later, Tech N9ne released “N9NA,” his fourth album in five years, on April 19.

Few artists, if any, share the extent of his legacy. Tech N9ne, born Aaron Dontez Yates, has 21 studio albums under his belt, breaking the record for most top 10 albums of any artist on Billboard’s Top Rap Albums chart, when his 2018 album “Planet” became his nineteenth top 10 album.

Tech N9ne also set a world record for longest consecutive rap tour in 2012 when the Hostile Takeover Tour, featuring rappers Machine Gun Kelly and Krizz Kaliko, Mayday, Prozak, and Stevie Stone, artists signed to Strange Music, the record label Tech co-founded with Travis O’Guin in 1999, made over 90 stops in 99 days.

Averaging almost 200 shows a year, Tech is on tour yet again, this time promoting “N9NA,” with a recent stop at the Agora on Thursday, June 6. Tech has been traveling for the “It Goes Up Tour 2019,” since April with rappers DAX, Krizz Kaliko, Mayday, and Ubi of Ces Cru, another artist signed to Strange Music.

In addition to promoting “N9NA,” the 55-date tour also celebrates Bou Lou, inspired by Tech’s hit song “Caribou Lou” and the result of a collaboration with Boulevard Brewing Company. Introduced in a limited release last year, Bou Lou is a wheat beer infused with pineapple and coconut.

Unlike “Caribou Lou” which has more 47 million listens on Spotify however, “N9NA” has no single hit song. The album has 21 tracks, each an epitome Tech’s tremendous skill. Despite his lyrical talent however, no song stands out. With so many tracks, and such a long career of making music, the songs are not distinct, and many end up sounding the same.

Still, “N9NA” feels more personal, and artist-centered than Tech’s other works. “Fans have been asking for an album centered around just Tech N9ne with minimal features, so I give them N9NA,” he explains.

This sentiment was met with roaring crowds last week. Tech’s setlist skillfully combined selections from “N9NA” with songs from older albums, including “Sriracha” and “Erbody But Me” from “The Storm.”

Interestingly, the concert also included excerpts of music videos, including the beginning of “Like I Ain’t.” Although an interesting touch, a murmur of confusion ran through the crowd, as spectators paused to watch the video. Perhaps, a shorter excerpt would have made a better introduction.

If the tour group was tired from traveling from city to city with no more than a single day between each tour date, it did not show. “It was an energetic and appealing concert and I can tell that DAX has a bright future ahead of him,” masters student Rasheed Ajala said.

DAX’s performance was impressive. The Canadian rapper, born Daniel Nwosu Jr., went viral in 2017 when he released the music video for his song “Cash Me Outside,” featuring Danielle Bregoli (stage name: Bhad Bhabie), who popularized the term.

DAX released his debut EP “It’s Different Now” the following year, collaborating with rappers O.T. Genasis and Futuristic. Earlier this year, he also collaborated with rapper Hopsin on the song “You Should’ve Known.”

The “It Goes Up Tour 2019” finishes out in other big cities including Atlanta and Nashville, within the next week.