Battle rapper Tech 9, born Akeem Mickens, has reportedly passed away. Earlier this morning (March 25), battle rapper Buttah From The Block, who was friends with Tech 9, announced Tech's death on Facebook before providing more context in a statement to XXL. “Sadly it's true. We lost a Philadelphia and battle rap legend and pioneer," Buttah From The Block tells XXL. "Unfortunately we haven't fully figured the cause of death. We are praying that it was natural causes. He had no signs of harm done to his body.”
Tech 9, not be confused with Strange Music's Tech N9ne, had been throwing down defensive bars in the ring for well over a decade. In that time, he'd battled artists like Arsenal, T-Rex and plenty more. Although he wasn't a key player in mainstream hip-hop, elite lyricists and like Lupe Fiasco, Kendrick Lamar, Denzel Curry, Lloyd Banks and more have already hopped on Twitter to express their condolences and offer prayers to the battle rapper's family and friends. "Rip Tech 9...one of the most entertaining battle rappers," Lupe Fiasco tweeted. "Condolences to his family and friends. May God have mercy on his soul."