Aaron Dontez Yates, aka Tech N9ne, is known these days as one of the most successful entrepreneurs in hip-hop history, a man whose founding of the independent Strange Music record label and its ancillary merchandising arm have earned him millions minus the efforts of any middlemen.
But the reason we should revere Tech N9ne has nothing to do with video games, film soundtracks or cool looking T-shirts, and everything to do with mad microphone skills. Tech is to rapid-fire rhyming what Eddie Van Halen was to the electric guitar when he first burst onto the scene in the late ’70s. He’s a game-changer whose blend of jaw-dropping technique and ribald inventiveness upped the ante for everyone else in the game.
Tech’s blend of dark, unflinching realism and speed-rap chops make him hip-hop’s leading virtuoso at present, and has simultaneously endeared him to one of the largest cult followings in popular music.
Tech N9ne brings his Independent Powerhouse Tour 2016 to the Town Ballroom (681 Main St.) at 7 p.m. April 20. Also performing are Krizz Kaliko, Ritz, Mayday, Stevie Stone, Cres Cru and Kamp Crystal Lake. This is an all-ages show. Tickets are $31 to $35 (box office, ticketfly.com).