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Earlier last week, a couple days before the Pete Rock joint, I caught up with Hi-Tek for a Vapors Magazine feature. Not to sound exactly like the last post, but I’ve always been a huge fan of Tek, from the early Reflection Eternal joints to all of solo albums…pretty much I like everything he’s done. I can’t recall one wack beat. Anyway, the interview was cool. Dude wasn’t much of a talker, which makes things a little awkard, but after transcribing it and finishing the story, I changed my mind on the whole thing. There were certain things I wish he had elaborated more on, but dude didn’t really sound like he was too pumped on things, i.e. his label. He’s off now, but he made it sound like he was gonna lay low for a minute. Below are some exerpts from the interview that I didn’t use, so instead of trying to explain the situation, I’ll let you read his words.
You switched it up this time, you don’t have the long list of big names, but aside from that the music has a whole different feel to it. Was that a concious thing, to not only switch who you worked with, but also the vibe to the album?
Yeah, this album was more experimental as far as…Doing it on an independent level, it just gives me the leverage to just do some different stuff. I wish I had more time to make the album better, but I’m not mad at it. Truthfully, I couldn’t do too much with this album. There are a lot of stipulations with the business that I can’t really get into, but I definetly wanted to please my fans and for those I let down, I apologize because there were a lot of business issues. When you get the right label, and people behind your music that really care for what you’re doing, that really helps make you put your all into the music. I did what I could dealing with the circumstances…….Truthfully I just want to get back in the lab real strong and make a whole new batch of music, and get my whole love for the craft back. Not that I lost my love, but when you’re constantly dealing with the business, you don’t get that time to really come up with something new. I just want to create some new music and new styles, so in the next couple years I can release something crazy that will get people talking
…he goes on to say that the reason he didn’t have the big names this time around was because in short, he didn’t want the label to own the music. So in a way he manipulated the label as springboard for new cats to get in the game. If that makes sense, it sounds fallible reading it, but I can’t use the exact quote because it’s going in the print version. I’ll cap things off with these last hip-hop nerd questions.
I wanted to talk about the Aftermath situation for a second. Between you, Khalil, Denaun Porter, Focus, and of course Dre, that talent and wisdom is immeasurable. I wanted to know what’s the communication like amongst all of you guys?
We speak all the time, and basically everyone is allowed to do what they do best. It’s a family really, and as a family we respect each other musically. The main thing is that we’re all competitive, it’s a friendly competition, but you know it’s like who can come with that heat. That’s what hip-hop is about period, just coming with that shit. You know when Dre comes with something crazy, that inspires me to do something, and when I do something crazy, it may inspire Denaun to do something else. At the end of the day it’s Dre’s vision. Aftermath is Dre’s vision, and if it doesn’t meet his standards, it don’t work. At the end of the day, we’re just trying to get Dre what he likes.
Are you guys ever working together on the same piece of music, or is it mainly working independently of each other?
Eh, recently we’ve been coming together to wrap up certain projects, but like I said, Dre is the mastermind. It really don’t work when you have too many scientists in one room. It’s better that you have a team with people who do what they do, and at the end of the day, the coach makes the final call, which is Dre. I’m never mad if Dre tells me to change up a bassline or add a hi-hat. If it’s better for the team, then it’s better for me, and in the end, it’s better for all of us.
There are stories of Dre spending days on perfecting a snare. Has that perfectionism run off on you?
Yeah, of course. At the end of the day, once that music is out, it’s out forever. We follow in the footsteps of James Brown and Quincy Jones, real producers, and Dre is one of those, like the Quincy Jones of hip-hop. It’s about perfection, and you gotta realize that once it’s out, people will criticize it for what it is. You don’t have time to explain yourself, that’s why you just do it first, and not worry about it after it’s done. That’s why it’s important to make classic records from the beginning before they’re let out the bag.
I really like the instrumental joints you put on all the solo albums. Have you ever thought about doing a Donuts-type album where you’re just displaying yourself as a producer without rappers involved?
I would, but it depends. I ain’t really too high on putting out instrumentals though…..It’s like free beats (laughs). And you can see when Jay did Donuts everybody did a song to those beats. I can’t believe he put out all those dope beats for free (laughs).
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