Fourteen successful albums.
Collaborations with some of the biggest names in music.
Over 2 million albums sold.
Featured music in television, movies and video games.
Winner of the Left Field Woodie award at the mtvU Woodie Awards.
It is safe to say Tech N9ne has made a prominent name for himself, not only in Kansas City, but all over the country.
Aaron Dontex Yantes, the rapper’s birth name, was born Nov. 8, 1971, in Kansas City, Mo.
He had somewhat of a rough childhood, never having met his father and growing up with a mother who was suffering from epilepsy and lupus.
These challenges forced him to seek God as well as find comfort in music.
He began rapping at an early age and was a part of many musical groups before going solo.
Tech N9ne is known for his fast, “chopper” style technique of rapping, which is also where his name derived from.
Rapper Black Walt gave him the name Tech N9ne, which originated from the Tec-9 semi-automatic handgun, which shoots in a similar style.
Blue Valley junior Jerry Birts and senior Michael Birts are the nephews of this famous rapper and know firsthand how successful he has become.
“He started in high school with some of his friends and just kind of became big in [Kansas City] and grew from there,” Jerry said.
Jerry credits the success of his uncle’s music to its unique sound.
“His music was a mixture of rock and rap,” he said. “It was kind of diverse, so more people like it.”
One of Jerry’s favorite memories of his uncle was a Christmas a few years back, when he came to his house and spent the holidays with his family.
“We just hung out, and it was really fun,” he said. “Everyone enjoyed having him there.”
Jerry said he does not usually start conversations with his claim to fame, because it leads to a lot of curiosity among his fellow students.
“I told some people, but now everyone seems to know,” he said. “It doesn’t really bother me, but I don’t want all these questions all the time.”
According to Jerry, the most common question he gets is if he can get tickets to Tech N9ne concerts. Surprisingly, Jerry himself does not attend his uncle’s concerts.
“I don’t go to his concerts,” Jerry said. “I don’t really listen to Tech N9ne that much. I listened to him growing up, so I’ve just kind of grown out of it.”
Jerry said he shares his uncles connection to music. However, rap isn’t his prefered style.
“I can’t really rap in choir,” he said. “I like choir music because I can dance to it, and I like dancing.”
Jerry said music runs in the family, and singing is something they all enjoy to do.
“My mom was actually a really good singer, too, and they have demo CD’s together,” he said. “She could probably go take it to a company and get signed.”
Although Jerry said he wouldn’t consider his uncle a personal inspiration, he realizes how influential his music and story could be to other people.
“I would consider him an inspiration to some people because he kind of started from the bottom and has made his way to the top,” he said.