The Hip Hop community has suffered another loss in the world of battle rapping. Over the weekend, battle rapper Tech 9 passed leaving the rap community with a huge hole in its wake.

As a rapper turned critic and observer of the culture, he was one of the engineers of modern battle rap. Tech 9 (government name: Akeem Mickens) began his professional battle rap career as a brawling cub in the legendary leagues, Lionz Den and Street Arena. But it was at the Ultimate Rap League (URL), where he became a fundamental pillar in culture- shifting the way people processed rhymes. He showcased humor, clever wordplay, and metaphors with an undeniable intensity in delivery (like only a Philly emcee could).

“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.”

He was legendary as an emcee. Giving the community colorful commentary on the popular Battle Rap platform, Champion (with co-commentator Jay Blac). It showcased his persona and made him one of the most notable rappers in the game. With his catchphrase “Microwave Stopper,” he had a no-holds-bar critique of battles and battlers alike. As a beloved influencer, he was loved by the community of rappers and listeners who tuned in to his expertise on the culture and the game as a whole.

As a professional, he was organized and responsible, with an uncanny ability to challenge rappers from a space of awareness and accountability. He also had a passion for teaching others the fundamentals of rap and the culture overall.

Needless to say, Tech 9 (not to be confused with Strange Music’s Tech N9ne) will be missed. He leaves an entire culture of fans who send their thoughts, prayers, and sympathies to his family and children.

“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.”

Peep some of the most memorable moments of his career: