6 Ways Tech N9ne Built A Rap Empire Without A Record Deal

Nick Wyatt
8 min readMay 15, 2020

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Tech N9ne’s Strange Music is one of hip hop’s top independent record labels, if not the top independent record label in the World. As a rapper, Tech N9ne has always been a mainstay within the hip hop community. His journey is one of recognition and achievement at the highest of all levels. Being touted by the likes of Lil Wayne and Kendrick Lamar as one of the best to ever do it. Tech N9ne and Strange Music’s rap empire was first recognized by Forbes in 2012, making the magazine’s Hip Hop’s Cash Kings list. Placing Tech N9ne at 20, tied alongside major label names like Akon, Timbaland and Mac Miller.

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At the time, Tech N9ne was beat out by Swizz Beatz, Pharrell, 50 Cent and Young Jeezy by $1 million or less.

“What we’ve built is so massive that I don’t think I’m ever going to be able to stop until the World ends or a meteor or asteroid comes and f — ks us all up.”

— Tech N9ne

This speaks volumes to the notion that Strange Music is a legimitate rap empire. Being an independent artists is not what it used to be back in the early 90s with artists like Chance The Rapper, T.I. and Childish Gambino paving the way to a new norm. Tech N9ne is a great example of how the independent route may be the best path for some artists who are looking for long-term growth. After signing his first record deal in 1993 with Perspective Records, he didn’t drop his first debut album, “The Calm Before Storm, until 1999 under Midwestside Records. Even then, the album didn’t receive the necessary push. This prompted the rapper to team up with Travis O’Guin, to form Strange Music, Inc.

“I met my partner Travis O’Guin in 1999 and we started Strange Music because who knows better how to do me than me.

We’ve been doing this for 15 years strong. It’s a beautiful thing.

We’re still on the incline after all these years.”

— Tech N9ne

Ever since making that move, Tech N9ne has been one of the only independent hip hop artists to make the Forbes Hip Hop Cash Kings List. As stated by…

Nick Wyatt

"It's not what you got, it's what you PLAN to get that truly matters." Writer & FX Trader 📈🔄🏁✈️🏆🧘🏾