Battle Rapper turned commentator and the culture’s version of Stephen A. Smith, Tech 9 transitioned over the weekend, leaving the entire culture mourning. One of the architects of modern battle rap, Tech 9 (whose real name is Akeem Mickens), started his professional battle rap career in as a fighting cub in the legendary leagues, Lionz Den and Street Arena. However it was at the Ultimate Rap League (URL), where he became a staple in culture- shifting the way people listened to rhymes by presenting humor, clever wordplay and the intensity in delivery (like only a Philly emcee could spit).

While as an emcee he was memorable, it was his colorful commentary on the hit Battle Rap platform, Champion (alongside Jay Blac), that showcased his personality and made him the most visible in the culture. With his catchphrase “Microwave Stopper,” no-holds-bar critique of battles and battlers, he was unmatched and beloved personality and influencer. It does him no justice to limit his rising star to just this platform in Hip-Hop media, he could have honestly been as legendary as veteran cultural critics and music enthusiasts such as Harry Allen, Selwyn Hinds or Allen “Black Cat” Gordon. As a professional, he felt almost responsible for the content he reported on, maintaining an ability to challenge rappers from a space of familiarity and accountability. He also was very generous teaching others about this art form he so loved.

He will be missed. He leaves to mourn his immediate family and children, friends and an entire culture of fans who send their prayers and sympathies.

Check out some of the most legendary moments of his career:

While The Source would have wanted to produce a compilation of his most legendary moments, YouTube fans and content creator Damnimwild offers this in memorial.

Norristown (NT) vs. Tech 9 in Street Arena

Midwest Miles Vs. Tech 9 on URL

DNA vs. Tech 9 on URL

Best of Tech 9

Bill Collector vs. Tech 9 on UDubb Network

Arsenol vs. Tech 9 (Part 1, 2 and 3) on Lionz Den

This is the last post on Champion on he appeared on, published only hours before transitioned.