This Cincinnati based artist needs little introduction. Hi Tek is one of the hottest producers on the planet with his soul influenced beats that can bring a tear to your eye, a smile to your face or movement to your feet. Sometimes all three. I chatted to him about the C3OOO, his best album to date, and the Hall Of Fame collaboration list.
I was most disappointed to hear he hasn’t been practising his B Boy moves!
His newly released album Hi – Technology 3 features artists such as Talib Kweli, Ghostface, Raekwon, Young Buck and Little Brother and will be available on Babygrande records. It promises to be another quality album.
Lady Jay UK: You’ve been quoted as saying Hi Technology 3 is one of the best albums ever made. Why?
Hi Tek: I think it’s fresh, um, and it meant a lot to me too. It’s like, the first song on there is called ‘Life To Me’, and I had my mother do the intro so it meant a lot to me. I got some Cincinnati up and coming artists, it meant a lot to me. Couple songs on there meant a lot to me, made me consider it one of the best albums I did.
Lady Jay UK: Now, you have a ridiculous hall of fame collaboration list on this album, break it down for us.
Hi Tek: Uh, I have Estelle, she’s an artist signed with John Legend, she’s from London, she’s a rapper and singer. I have Cross and Showtime… on a Cincinnati based independent label. I have Push Montana, who’s a Brooklyn artist, I have Res, who’s from New York also. I have Little Brother, Talib Kweli, Outlawz. In my interviews I forget about the Young Buck and Outlawz song, but that’s actually one of my favourite on that album. I really think they dug into that song, and that beat, that beat, I always wanted somebody to write in style; in that form… to express, they really dug into that beat; the way I really really wanted it to be done so… that song mean a lot to me too. The way they express theyselves about Pac, and the whole Outlaws movement, so I was glad to be a part of that.
What else I got? I have Korrupt, my man Korrupt.
Lady Jay UK: You’ve worked with some up and coming artists on this album, how did that come about?
Hi Tek: A couple artists was just in passing. Through friends and people just introducing me to ‘em, and you know what I’m saying, I need to check for ‘em. My whole approach with the album initially was to do up and coming artists, so that was really about just going with the flow at that time… I definitely hand picked ‘em, you know. I had a lot of things thrown my way, so everybody that made the album, I definitely felt they music and everything they was doing beforehand.
Lady Jay UK: How did the process work in collaborating with artists who have different skills and styles?
Hi Tek: First things, I go off the sound of the beat. I kinda based my whole album off the music first, because it’s a Hi Tek album, it’s not really a compilation. It’s a Hi Tek album based on Hi Tek speaking through the music, so I have to find artists that fit the music; so that’s really how it comes together.
Lady Jay UK: What do the fans need to know about this album?
Hi Tek: If you a fan of producing, and you a up and coming producer, or MC, this is one of the albums you need to check for the blueprint. It’s definitely an album that’s a blueprint of how albums should be formatted, and well rounded. At the end of the day it’s a good listener album. You can play the album from top to bottom.
Lady Jay UK: How long has it taken you to build your studio?
Hi Tek: It took about, I mean to actually build it and get it together, what I needed, took about… And then I been there for like 4 years, and you know I been actually adding on to it, like the last 4 years.
Lady Jay UK: What do you prefer to use when making beats?
Hi Tek: I prefer to use the C3000 which is my sampling tool. Protools is my recording tool. Sometimes I go to Protools live from the drum machine. A lot of this album on Volume 3, I basically did live freehand and just formatted it within Protools.
Lady Jay UK: Do you get much time to practice your B Boy moves any more?
Hi Tek: What's that?
Lady Jay UK: Do you get much time to practice your B Boy moves any more?
Hi Tek: Ha haha. Not really, I call it swag dancing now, you know, I’m too old to do my B Boy thing. My bones be locking up. I be swag dancing, like a 2 step, you know what I mean. It’s a old man dance haha.
Lady Jay UK: You recently changed to Money Management. Why, and how do you think this will benefit you?
Hi Tek: Sha, what he’s done has been a success, and part of that reason is his knowledge of music… he’s a great musician… (he’s ) a monster, and that’s somewhere I would like to be to further my career.
Lady Jay UK: Do you think there’s been a point in your career where things have changed, like stepped up to a whole new level?
Hi Tek: Yea, definitely. When I started making a lot of money an’, for what I done. I like to keep myself grounded, ‘cos you know, a lot of times, the more money you get, you start to make investments an’ other stuff that basically deprives you from being in the studio. A lotta times, I wish I’d a just kept it simple, about the things I have, but you know I didn't, an’ , that’s what it is. I just try to make sure I make time to be in the studio.
Lady Jay UK: What drives you?
Hi Tek: What drives me is when I turn on my TV, and I see my peers, and I see people I know that's doing well , an’ I see ‘em, you know, doing they thing, videos, award shows, whatever and just hearing good music, period. Other people doing they thing is inspiration to me, to keep doing what I do.
Lady Jay UK: What will you do if your creativity disappears?
Hi Tek: Damn, I don’t wanna even answer that question!
Lady Jay UK: Do you only listen to hip hop?
Hi Tek: Nah, not at all. I listen, to a lot of different music. Not necessarily just music all the time; I might hear music on the movies, I just try to like listen to music in general. Instrumentation. I’m a producer, so I try to just stay in the world of instruments and figure out what I can do to do something a little different.
Lady Jay UK: Is there someone that you’re really feeling right now?
Hi Tek: Not really, hahaha.
Lady Jay UK: What did you grow up listening to, and how did that influence you?
Hi Tek: I grew up listening to a lot of old soul music Jeff Brown, George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, Bobby Womack… a lotta funk and soul music. That’s definitely the most influence, as far as me just having the love for he music, that created a lot of love for the music, and just that feeling you know. Just that feel of it. That’s why, when you listen to my music, by the time, it’s not the craziest beat, or the craziest complex beat, it’s the feel of it.
Lady Jay UK: What was the last track you had to listen to over and over again?
Hi Tek: Damn, It’s hard for me to say that one. I love that Players Anthem with UGK and Outcast. It’s just so colourful like even the way they deal with the video. It just came out so perfect. Even though I heard that beat before on an album, but the way they brought that out, that’s just exactly how the song was supposed to be and just the way they designed that track, the visual, the way they did the video… it’s like, that’s what you call making music. Not just beats, and just a rap song. It’s like a song for real, it’s like a big, like a classic. They made it a classic. That’s what I like to base my music on, like classic, and make classic material.
Lady Jay UK: You often talk about being from Cincinnati in interviews. Is it important that people know where you’re from?
Hi Tek: It’s most important. Definitely one of my biggest things, is to represent where I’m from, because I don’t think my city get enough shine. I gotta represent where I’m from for a lot of reasons and that’s one of ‘em, and the other one is, you know, when you have something fresh people tend to go it, more so than something that’s been done before. Maybe if I was from New York, or a New York, or Brooklyn producer, maybe I would have a harder time doing what I’m doing, so… I think me being from Cincinnati kinda separates me from a lot of producers.
Lady Jay UK: What’s important to you in life?
Hi Tek: The future. Family, and to be able to teach, to give back, to further being good, you know keep the positivity in the air.
Lady Jay UK: You’re a business man, what are your plans for the future?
Hi Tek: My plans is to find a way to get out of the music business. That’s my main thing, ‘cos I don’t wanna depend on music my whole life. So I made a couple investments as far as real estate, so I wanna find something to make me continue the joy of music, of making music. So that’s my main thing, to figure out a way to get out of the business.