Battle rap extraordinaire Tech 9 died over the weekend, according to multiple reports.
The Philadelphia lyricist, born Akeem Mickens, was considered a “battle rap legend and pioneer,” fellow Philadelphia rapper Buttah From the Block told XXL Mag Monday. “Unfortunately we haven't fully figured the cause of death. We are praying that it was natural causes. He had no signs of harm done to his body.”
While he wasn’t as mainstream a name in hip-hop as Drake, Lupe Fiasco or Kendrick Lamar, Tech 9 was beloved by rap enthusiasts for his quick wit, humor and wordplay.
According to The Source, he “started his professional battle rap career in as a fighting cub in the legendary leagues, Lionz Den and Street Arena. However it was at the Ultimate Rap League (URL), where he became a staple in culture - shifting the way people listened to rhymes.”
His “colorful commentary” on Battle Rap’s “Champion” also earned him visibility. But as The Source reported, “it does him no justice to limit his rising star to just this platform in Hip-Hop media... As a professional, he felt almost responsible for the content he reported on, maintaining an ability to challenge rappers from a space of familiarity and accountability. He also was very generous teaching others about this art form he so loved.”
Several renowned lyricists and rapper, including Kendrick Lamar and Lupe Fiasco, have taken to social media to share their condolences. Some have clarified for hip-hop fans that Tech N9ne, the founder of Strange Music, is still alive.
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