In hip-hop, east coast, west coast, and the south all have their distinctive sounds. From the east coast’s complex lyricism, to the South’s slowed-down chopped-and-screwed style, each area has a separate identity and contribution to the genre. So what did the Midwest bring to the table? Hip hop heads will argue it’s the rapid fire “chopper” style of Cleveland’s Bone Thugs N Harmony or Chicago's Twista. Include on that list Kansas City’s Tech N9ne, who since the early ‘90s has been delivering a healthy dose of machine gun fire verses. Jumping to several record companies before starting his own label Strange Music in 1999, Tech N9ne, born Aaron Dontez Yates, has sort of assumed the role of black sheep of the hip-hop world. His lyrics are no-holds- barred, and he’s even brought on rock vocalists to collaborate, like Korn’s Jonathan Davis, who was featured on last year’s “Starting To Turn”. With 13 albums set to drop through his label this year as well as a huge tour with label kin Krizz Kaliko, Brotha Lynch Hung, Ces Cru and Stevie Stone, Yates’ 2017 is gearing up to be a busy one as he continues to lead the pack in the world of strange hip-hop.