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Tech N9ne's The Lost Cities Tour

Rapper Tech N9ne follows the road less taken. This fall, his The Lost Cities Tour, featuring Jay Rock, Krizz Kaliko, Kutt Calhoun and Flawless, brings the hip-hop artist back to Medford.

He'll perform at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27, at the Medford Armory, 1701 S. Pacific Highway.

The Kansas City, Mo., icon brings the hottest in hip-hop and appeals to a wide range of audiences. Rock brings his West Coast flair to the tour, and longtime Tech N9ne col-laborators Kaliko and Calhoun will treat fans to their hit songs. East Coast rapper Flawless rounds out the show.

Tech N9ne, born Aaron Dontez Yates in 1971, has earned the title of "hardest-working hip-hop artist." After finishing a tour behind his 2011 release "All 6's and 7's" on the Strange Music label, he put the finishing touches on an upcoming studio album, "Welcome to Strangeland," and hit the road again late last month.

His hustle has paid off: His last four albums have debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's independent charts; he has more than a million Facebook fans; he was No. 1 on the list of MySpace Top 10 Indie Artists; and XXL magazine recently featured the rapper and his Strange Music record label in a six-page spread.

"All 6's and 7's" hit stores in June, and "Welcome to Strangeland" is set to be released Nov. 8, the rapper's 40th birthday.

Yates' stage name was coined from a TEC-9 semi-automatic handgun given to him by rapper Black Walt (it's rumored to have reminded Walt of Yates' fast rhyming style). Yates later claimed the stage name stands for the complete technique of rhyme, with "tech" meaning technique and "nine" representing the number of completion.

While he's known for dynamic rhyme schemes and the ability to speed-rap, Tech N9ne's style is influenced by old-school hip-hop, specifically Slick Rick, N.W.A., Public Enemy, Boogie Down Productions, Eric B. & Rakim, Schoolly D, Wu-Tang Clan and Just-Ice. He's also interested in other genres of music and lists Jim Morrison and The Doors, Led Zeppelin, Elton John, AC/DC, Metallica and Gnarls Barkley as influences.

Tech N9ne has looked for a higher power most of his life. He barely knew his father, and his mother suffered from epilepsy and lupus. When he was about 30, his best friend was shot and killed by his girlfriend's ex-boyfriend.

He moved in and out of various hip-hop groups in the '90s. In 1999, he and Travis O'Guin founded the Strange Music record label.

Advance tickets cost $27.70 at www.ticketweb.com and www.jmaxproductions.net. Tickets cost $30 (cash only) at Bad Ass Coffee in Medford and Music Coop in Ashland.

Rapper Tech N9ne's new album, “Welcome to Strangeland,” is due out in early November. - Photo courtesy of JMaxProductions