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Tech N9ne’s show at new KC venue kicks off a busy time for rapper and his label

Tech N9ne will perform the first concert at a new Crossroads music venue, the Truman, this weekend. Tech’s goal is to make the place sound raucous and rowdy Saturday night.
Tech N9ne will perform the first concert at a new Crossroads music venue, the Truman, this weekend. Tech’s goal is to make the place sound raucous and rowdy Saturday night.

Tech N9ne has one goal for the inaugural show at the Truman, Kansas City’s newest music venue.

“The plan is to tear the place down,” Kansas City’s most successful rap artist said Wednesday during a break from a recording session.

His performance on Saturday night will be the grand opening for the Truman, a 1,200-person venue at the corner of Cherry Street and Truman Road. He hadn’t seen the room yet, but he planned to tailor the show to a hometown crowd.

“The idea of how to start the show came to me yesterday,” Tech N9ne said. “So we are just now putting it together. So we’ll get two days of rehearsal if we’re lucky. But it’s all going to be for the fans.”

The Truman show will launch what will be an extraordinarily busy six weeks for Tech N9ne and his label, Strange Music.

His road plans include a 16-stop tour of Canada; an album-release show at Red Rocks in Colorado; and appearances in several festivals. They will include the Zombie Pub Crawl in Minneapolis with T-Pain and Third Eye Blind; the Aftershock festival in Sacramento, Calif., with Nine Inch Nails, Eagles of Death Metal and Run the Jewels; and Knot Fest in Mexico with Korn, Anthrax and A Perfect Circle.

Amidst all that, Tech N9ne is working on a new album, “Planet,” to be released next winter.

“I’ve been wanting to escape this planet mentally, so I created my own,” he said. “But there’s more love on mine.

“I’m trying to do something different. I wanted to get out of my comfort zone. Seven (a producer) really helped me do that with the beats; he knew where I wanted to go. I wanted it to be our own music but still melodic enough for people to get it. … We did a good job keeping it melodic and with our weirdness and catchiness at the same time.”

The Red Rocks performance will be a release show for “Strange Reign,” the latest installment in his “Collabos” series and his second release of 2017. Like the album, the show will feature nearly the entire Strange Music roster. It will be Tech N9ne’s second Red Rocks appearance in a year. Colorado, he said, has shown lots of love for his music over the years.

“I was blessed to sell out (Red Rocks) last year,” he said. “But I’d been doing the Fillmore (in Denver) for so many years and selling it out. We did Summer Jam at Fiddler’s Green (Greenwood Village) and I was the headliner (in 2015). I played last and I figured people would leave. But when I came out on stage, everyone was still there — 14,000 people — and they stayed till the last song. It was tight.”

This week, he sold out the Truman, which is owned by Chris Cobb and Josh Billue, who run JR Facility Management in Nashville. The building is part of the East Crossroads Urban Redevelopment Plan started by Kansas City developer Matt Abbott in 2015.

The 18,000-square-foot venue features five bars and a balcony/VIP area for patrons 21 and older. Thursday morning, workers were still busy prepping the room for Saturday’s show.

“We’ve got a lot of little details to cover,” said Matt Phillips, the venue’s general manager. “We painted the stage last night. Today, we’re filling up the bars and setting up the box office.

“We fired up the sound system a few days ago. Our sound baffling isn’t in yet, but it sounded good as a raw system. It should sound really good in here when it’s all set up.”

Tech N9ne’s goal is to make the place sound raucous and rowdy Saturday night. He has been getting in shape for the long, busy road that starts in his hometown.

“I’ve been working out and walking and running, doing cardio,” he said. “I’ll do like an hour-plus set, which should be a cinch for me. It will be super powerful, as usual.”

A hip-hop label for nearly 18 years, Strange Music Inc., founded by Travis O'Guin and Tech N9ne, is about to launch its pop music division.

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Timothy Finn: 816-234-4781, @phinnagain


Tech N9ne performs Saturday night at the Truman, 601. E. Truman Road. Krizz Kaliko, Ces Cru and Joey Cool are also on the bill. The show is sold out.