Aaron Dontez Yates (born November 8, 1971), better known by his stage name Tech N9ne, is a chopper-style rapper from Kansas City, Missouri. He has been rapping since 1985 and during the ’90s, he was in the hip-hop group Nnutthowze.
In 2000, Tech N9ne, along with Travis O'Guin, founded Strange Music, Inc, the independent record label currently owned by Tech and co-owned by O'Guin. Strange Music currently has 12 artists on its roster.
In 2006, he independently released his album Everready (The Religion), and though his album just prior–Absolute Power– is his highest selling album to date ( 358,000 copies sold), Everready is considered by many to still be his best work.
Tech N9ne is the most successful independent rapper of all time. He has sold over 2 million copies independently. In 2010, it was confirmed that his record label, Strange Music, is worth about $68 million (album sales, tours, merchandise, etc.)
He has sold over 2.2 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. He also held a four-consecutive-year streak atop the Forbes Cash Kings list, one of only five artists ever to maintain a standing for such a length of time. Between 2013 and 2017, he received three gold plaques and one platinum plaque for three different songs, “Caribou Lou”, “Fragile”, and “Hood Go Crazy”.