label: rawkus
producers: hi-tek
guests: common, buckshot, talib kweli, mos def, mood, jonell, cormega, vinia mojica, slum village, others.
webiste: hitekproductions.com
rating
click for explanation
click to see the rating scale explanation
tracklisting
1. Scratch Rappin
2. The Sun God feat. Common & Vinia Mojica
3. Get Back Pt. II feat. Talib Kweli, DCQ
4. Breakin' Bread feat. Donte, Main Flow, Brian Digby Jr., Crunch
5. All I Need Is You feat. Cormega & Jonell
6. Where I'm From feat. Jinx Da Juvy
7. Tony Guitar Watson
8. Round & Round feat. Jonell
9. Get Ta Steppin' feat. Mos Def & Vinia Mojica
10. Theme From Hi-Tek feat. Talib Kweli

11. L.T.A.H. feat. Slum Village

12. Suddenly feat. Donte & Main Flow of Mood
13. The Illest It Gets feat. Buckshot
14. Hi-Teknology feat. Jonell

 

Hi-Teknology

People have this thing, that they demand or expect something from someone or another thing, knowing that they will not get it. Like people are running around demanding more beats from Hi-Tek that sounds like "2000 Seasons" or "Illuminated Sunlight", knowing damn well, they will not get it. But they complain nevertheless. If these people would have paid attention during the duration of the Reflection Eternal album and miscellaneous other stuff, they'd be aware that Hi-Tek is doing something much different now, something smoother, more melodic and organic. So what the heck? Hi-Tek has moved on. He's not sucking the last bit of life out of his past successes, but blows life into new creations, that he releases into the world. Creations like his first album, not really a solo record, as he brought some friends along.

Like Common, who does "The Sun God" with Vinia Mojica, after Hi-Tek opened the album with "Scratch Rapping". Now Common does rhyme with his spiritual half, going: "try not to say shoot around my daughter, she already know to blast / catching the future, don't know who threw the past". Vinia provides the chorus with using her voice as an instrument, while Hi-Tek gives us something summer happy with a nifty sprinkling instrument. Then Tek's partner Kweli appears on "Get Back Pt. II". Answering criticism, Talib says: "basically, your take on me ain't make me or breaking me", then going to do some bragging writes like "these cats is so plastic that we call 'em laminated / tried to duplicate the style quickly got frustrated". The beat is based around a guitar, and during the chorus, there's an extra one on one ear, while some sound shuffling happening on the other. Next 'Tek teams up with some of his city peeps as he does "Breaking Bread" with Crunch, Brian Digby Jr (Homeskillit) and Mood's Donte and Main Flow. Crunch comments "turn the other cheek, 'cause this track I be smacking it", while Donte digs deep with "I struggle more in tug-of-war, writing rhymes by the score / before I lived the hustle, swore this poor man would give the law / as a testament it goes, it was destined in my soul / they tested but questioned weapons rest in my foes / blessed in my flows and obsessed with my scrolls / Midas touch as it's told, writing nothing less than gold".

The love rhymes are said by Cormega on "All I Need Is You", who's getting real personal with his words: "I relapsed cause of these words you spoke to me / you said you wanna feel me, inside you, conceal me / I belong to you no other woman could steal me / we mentally attached, essential in fact / what you give is so real you know I had to give it back". Hi-Tek's beat is multi-layered and almost conducted like a classical orchestra, with the sounds appearing in the back, to disappear again. Towards the end the beat then switches and so does the topic of the words, with 'Mega starting to battle: "you niggas got fat while I did time in jail / now it's time to pay, the rhymes you say / sound a lot like mine, but not quite as ill / as my rhyming skill, I could relate to how Tyson feel". The next track then features Jinx Da Juvy ("Where I'm From") and the thuggism on here is rather alienating. However, we are gained back with the smooth and instrumental "Tony Guitar Watson". Things further continue to the R'n'B piece "Round & Round", where Jonell does the sour love singing, over a guitar lick. A Brandford Marsalis phone message opens the next track that features more singing, as Mos Def and Vinia give us "Get Ta Steppin'". Hi-Tek allows himself to have this build slowly with the final result being a beautiful and enormously dope piece. Talib returns for "Theme From Hi-Tek" where he mentions a musicians sentiment, when he goes: "it's special when cats don't just say your joint is hot, cats say 'yo, I respect you'".

The Slum Village featuring "L.T.A.H." suffers from not the best beat, what can also be said about "Suddenly", that features a prominent guitar and a whole lot of gaps between the kick and the bass. This is a little too Mafia for our liking. Mood's Donte and Main Flow are talking about new claimed fame's and newly gained troubles. Back in NYC, Hi-Tek teams up with the busy lately Buckshot, him doing "The Illest I Get". He goes the straight up braggadocios, with leaning a little to the smack up violent side, still kicking lines like "Buck spit saliva on your shoe / tell you slide off with your crew / and if you rap I tell you slide off the boot / and slide off with your boo, cause your bitch is mine too / you cop my bootleg and bit this rhyme too / goddamn nigga, your kid is mine too". The beat is a little restrained, what pushes Buck into the foreground. A place that Hi-Tek positions himself in, as he picks up the mic on "Hi-Teknology". Surely he's not the most gifted behind the mic, but it's understandable that he wanted to address the audience with lines like "making a change from the old hustle street slang / to beats that ban, I hustle my name / Hi-Tek gotta make it bang loud / M-P-C, three triple o, with the eight outs / 'best kept secret' since Diamond D / Midwest rap putting it down for Da 'Natti".

Now while the album moves us a little less towards the end, there are only gems on the first half, and no real bum tracks on the second. And so Hi-Tek manages to further himself as a household name for his production, that are once more displayed skillfully on this album.

review: tadah

2000 - 2012.08 by urban smarts | contact