Tech N9ne’s most recent tour – in the fall last year – was not one to remember for the renegade rapper. He had planned to have his latest studio album, “The Storm,” released in September to coincide with the tour, only to have to push back the release until December because he felt the album wasn’t finished when the original deadline rolled around.
That messed with plans for the show Tech N9ne wanted to present – and then a few other things messed with his off-stage life.
“I went into a depression, man,” Tech N9ne explained matter-of-factly in a mid-March phone interview. “I got fat on the tour. I wanted to lose weight. Understand there were a lot of things going through, man. The tour was suffering because the album wasn’t out, so the tour wasn’t in support of the record. And my divorce got really intense at that time, you know what I mean? Everything was kind of like tumbling on me so I started drinking like heavily, man, … and I gained all of this weight.”
Today Tech N9ne (real name Aaron Yates) has lost that weight he gained, and he’s much more fit emotionally. “The Storm” has been well received critically and notched some solid chart numbers, debuting on “Billboard” magazine’s Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums chart at No. 4 and No. 3 on the magazine’s Independent Albums chart.
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I had kind of moved away from my harder gangster music. ... So on ‘The Storm,’ I had to go back to my roots and give the fans who loved ‘The Calm Before the Storm’ that feel.
Rapper Tech N9ne, on his most recent album, “The Storm”
Tech N9ne’s tour this spring promises to have some elements that will top anything the costumed rapper has presented on a concert stage.
“I get to be four different people in one setting, … the King, the Clown and the G,” Tech N9ne said. “But there’s one that combines all of them, and that’s Mr. 3-D, you know, three dimensional.”
The three characters tie into “The Storm” which has 17 tracks divided into three segments – “Kingdom,” “Clown Town” and “G. Zone.”
The three-section format of “The Storm” signals ambition. So does the unusually diverse music, which blurs genres. Featuring a posse of notable guests, the songs range from hard-hitting hip-hop to tracks with an electronic accent, a bit of uptempo pop/hip-hop, eerie rock/hip-hop, and even some silky pop balladry.
The album, a sequel of sorts to his acclaimed 1999 solo debut album, “The Calm Before the Storm,” also finds Tech N9ne bringing back the grittier, gangsta-style sound that typified his earliest music.
“I had kind of moved away from my harder gangster music,” Tech N9ne said. “Over the years, I got more into my rock that I love. So on ‘The Storm,’ I had to go back to my roots and give the fans who loved ‘The Calm Before the Storm’ that feel.”
The Kansas City-based artist had seen three major label deals fall apart and decided his only option was to start his own label – Strange Music – with partner Travis O’Guin. “The Calm Before The Storm” began what has become one of the most successful DIY careers of any music artist.
“The Storm” is Tech N9ne’s 11th solo album, and he has released six “collabos” albums, writing and recording tracks with other artists (including many from the Strange Music roster). His total album sales now have topped 2 million copies.
But Tech N9ne said he is nowhere near where he wants to be with his career and won’t take his foot off the accelerator any time soon. He plans to release “Dominion,” a “collabos” album, and another ambitious studio album, “Planet,” before the end of the year.
“We’re not complacent,” Tech N9ne said. “There’s a brighter day (ahead) for us.”
When: 6 p.m. April 13
Where: Ace of Spades, 1417 R St., Sacramento
Cost: The show is sold out
Information: www.strangemusicinc.com; 916-930-0220