From humble KC roots, Tech N9ne talks about building the Strange Empire

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LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. - He's known world-wide for his music, his fast-paced lyrics, and sometimes "strange" antics. It's how Tech N9ne got his start, through rapping. What took him to the next level was a meeting with Travis O'Guin, the co-founder and co-owner of Strange Music.

The pair started the label, Strange Music, in 1999.

The two started with Tech's music and a lot of merchandise sporting the Strange Music emblem, bringing the label some publicity then they went on tour.

"The way you should politic in hip hop is to tour- is to go to each town and infect people, and that's how we built this thing called Strange Music," Tech N9ne explained.

Over the years, Strange Music added more artists. Today there are a total of 11 represented by the label.

Tech credits hard work, business savvy, and a solid team for much of his success, but he has more tricks of the trade to hand off to aspiring moguls.

He says first- you have to have something that is truly special. Then you need money to promote your product, something Tech sees as essential.

"It takes money to promote. And you have to promote if you want people to know that you exist," said Tech N9ne.

He says in the music business, money really talks, sometimes even louder than talent.

"That was the hardest lesson I learned that a lot of this business is a juke box. If you have the money, it'll play," he said.

But Strange Music learned how to make the music business work, even up against big labels, like Sony or BMG.

For a guy from humble Kansas City beginnings, it's a dream come true.

"Every time I walk into either one of our buildings, I trip out, so I do pinch myself, like whoa, but I also remember how long it took to come up- to get to this point," Tech said. "I'm totally thankful, and I look at it like- this is the house that rap built."

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