To many, DJ Hi-Tek is regarded as hip-hop’s hottest producer right now since Reflection Eternal’s Train of Thought, which The Source rightfully gave four mics to. He’s brought back a fresh, dope style of beatsmithing to separate the Timbalands and the Mannie Freshes from the true art of production. Tek doesn’t need an emcee to step in and create the mood for a track. Like “Memories Live” says, “I freak with word power, my man speak with beats.” The second the beat drops in its entirety, you’re prepared for the lyrics that will be spit by the featured emcee. Identifying a Hi-Tek beat can be easy, but by no means is his production monotonous. He’ll cook up a deep track like Common’s “The Sun God” and Cormega’s hardcore love ballad, “All I Need Is You” to a smooth, funky song like “Git To Steppin'”, then he’ll flip something as braggadocios and thugged out as “Where I’m From” by Jinx Da Juvy. The beats on all of these tracks tell the story along with the emcee, which is an excellent trait of Tek’s. This entire compilation shows his diversity in how he can work with more than ten different artists, and still keep his effective style in tact.
Naturally, heads ask where Talib Kweli is on this album. He appears on two songs: “Get Back Pt. 2” and the ridiculously nasty, but unfortunately short “Theme From Hi-Tek”. On “Theme From Hi-Tek”, Kweli goes from a braggadocios track to explaining his goals as an emcee with Hi-Tek backing him. He explains that it’s more about people saying your song is dope; it’s about being respected as an artist. “Get Back Pt. 2” barely compares to the theme track in terms of delivery, but there are quotables like, “I got more lines than cocaine, that’s whay you sniffin’ around.” In the beginning, it sounds like he’s just lazily rhyming, but it definitely picks up to a respectable song after the first thirty seconds.
The most notable tracks on here are by Buckshot, Common, Cormega, and Hi-Tek himself which create completely different songs. Common flips over a really ill beat full of sounds on “The Sun God”. As he does on much of his songs, Common rhymes on a lot of our world’s problems from drugs to poorly raised children. Rhyming is definitely top notch on this track, and the beat is an instant head bobber. Cormega spits more serious verses in “All I Need Is You”, which features Jonell on the hook. The song starts off with a phone call from Cormega’s girlfriend who wants to talk about their relationship, but ‘Mega is busy at work and can’t guarantee a time that he’ll be home to talk. He starts rhyming over this insanely melodic beat that will have you thinking Hi-Tek is superhuman. The lyrics on this are deep, one of the best dedication tracks since Method Man’s similarly-titled remix with Mary J. Blige. “The Illest It Get” has a pretty basic, yet perfect beat for Buckshot to rip to shreds with his thuggish verses. Inside the song you’ll find some nice lines to recite to nonbelievers. Hi-Tek flexes his production muscles on “Scratch Rappin'”. He samples many emcees’ vocals, and nearly makes a song that rhymes perfectly, while separating the emcees with some unprecedented scratching. Definitely a remarkable idea done right here.
Never has a producer dropped such a gem before as Hi-Teknology, which has maybe one track that will have to settle for “decent”, which is Slum Village’s “L.T.A.H.”. The beat sounds like something I’d expect from the Neptunes, but it’s tolerable. The only true flaw on this song is the delivery brought by the artists. There’s too much of a stop-and-go flow for my liking. Aside from that and two R&B tracks, which are certainly likeable, the compilation is great. Hi-Tek put so many different types of artists on the album that it created such a true hip-hop album that any head could appreciate.
Reviewed By RhymeLife.Com for HipHopHotSpot.Com