Thursday, October 12, 2006

An Old Flame: Hi-Teknology 2 (The Chip)

[HIPPO's UPDATE: Thanks goes out to Alternakids for their post on Hi-tek's earlier work as Mood. I do remember "Karma" on TV back in the day, but didn't know it was Hi-Tek (gotta love the Nina Simone source too). Love the "Secrets Of Sand" & "Industry Lies" tracks! Thanks again for edumacatin' me.]

Wow, it’s been a minute. Close your eyes and think back a little (Ok, open them so you can read the rest of this first). There was a time when Rawkus Records was ready to take over the mainstream music scene and owned the underground hip-hop scene. Their artists included: Company Flow (El-P who later went on to start the next powerhouse underground record label, Def Jux), Black Star (we all know what great careers Mos Def and Talib Kweli would go on to have…still keeping my fingers crossed for the next Black Star album), hip-hop legends Pharoahe Monch and Kool G. Rap, and producers Hi-Tek and Evil Dee (of Beatminerz fame). And with financial backing from the Murdoch family (of News Corp. wealth), the sky was truly the limit. But like many things with such a great upside (Michael “Sugar” Ray Richardson or Demetrius “Hook” Mitchell come to mind if you’re bball fans), sometimes things don’t work out. Sure enough, Rawkus is no longer the powerhouse it once was. I mean I remember when there was time when I was getting “tired” of Rawkus cause they put out so much dope sh*t. Raw, fresh, soulful hip-hop that made me remember why I fell in love with this culture in the first place. This was at least 3-5 years ago. How I long for those days now.

This story of great initial potential followed by what many consider a sour turn could also be applied to Hi-Tek’s short career. He was one of the architect’s of the Rawkus sound and was lauded by many and rightfully so with production credits with a string of instant hip-hop classics like “2000 Seasons”, “1-9-9-9”, “Next Universe”, “The Blast”, “The Sun God” and my personal favorite “Fortified Live”. People were calling him the next DJ Premier, Large Professor, Pete Rock and you could see where his style was a killer combination of them all. Then the Rawkus ship sank. And it seemed as other artists were able to make a smooth transition to other labels or even starting their own in El-P’s case, Hi-Tek was somehow left to fend for himself. I mean I was even getting tired of the whole Rawkus thing. I began to notice Hi-Tek’s name for production credits on things like 50 Cent’s The Massacre or some songs with Eminem, D-12, and Snoop Dogg. Now some might call this “selling out”, but it seems like it paid off (in more than one way…hey we all got kids to feed and bills to pay), as Hi-Tek sort stepped out of his comfort zone and was able to learn some things that he applied on his soon to be released Hi-Teknology 2 (The Chip) hitting the shelves 10/17.

As this new album will show, Hi-Tek was able to find a better balance between his more established sounds from the past with something that maybe some of the younger kids will be more down for or the radio might play. He even goes Kanye on us by putting together some unusual MC combinations with appearances by Game, Jadakiss, and even the strange pairing of Q-tip with Kurupt (that strangely works out, see below). At the very least I wasn’t as bored with this album as its predecessor, Hi-Teknology. Something worth picking up, but for you Exclusive Heads, here are some of my favorites:

[MP3] Hi-Tek featuring Dion, Q-Tip and Kurupt :: Keep it Moving
{I never thought I'd see a track with Tip & Kurupt together.}

[MP3] Hi-Tek featuring The Wille Cottrell Band, Ghostface, & Pretty Ugly :: Josephine

[MP3] Hi-Tek featuring Dion, Bun B., Devin the Dude, and Pretty Ugly :: So Tired
{This song right here gives you both, that “old school” Rawkus feeling with some new twists (check that guitar at the end).}

HI-TEK link

I need 'The Blast' like Hi-Tek got, so I grab the mic and make your heads bop.
(Phonte of Little Brother on “Speed”)



Blogger alex said...

The link for Josephine is the same as Keep It Moving, any chance of checking, I wanna hear more good stuff. So cool that Hi-Tek's back, it's been too long. In fact I was watching the video for the Mef remix of Round and Round just yesterday.

6:09 AM  
Blogger Mista Hippo said...

Thanks for the heads up Alex. Think it's fixed now. I really like that Ghostface track.

Hope you continue to checkout GETDOWNNN.

11:49 AM  
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