been good. I've just been working.
deal with Dion is finally finalized. How did it feel to make the announcement?
It felt great.
It's like a dream come true. I've basically solidified my spot in the
the plan for Dion right now?
we're just recording. We're trying to record as many songs as we can.
We've already got twenty to thirty songs recorded. We're working with
a lot of R&B producers.
of people would expect Dion to be exclusively produced by you. Why go
outside for production?
talent. I wouldn't want to limit his talent by giving him all Hi-Tek production.
I'm not really an R&B producer. It's going to be overseen by me and
Dre, but I didn't want to limit him. I wanted to get him with some well-experienced
and respected R&B producers.
you discover Dion?
I met him
through a longtime friend. He brought his demo through to the studio and
he played the CD for me. At the time, I was doing a talent search in the
Midwest and I entered Dion in the talent search. From there, we met and
he actually won the contest. The winner of the contest signed to Hi-Tek
Productions. Look where he is now.
have been working together for the past three years. What have you been
I've just been grooming him. I hate for R&B singers to sound like
other R&B singers. Hip-hop is about taking it to the next level and
that's what I'm trying to do with this project. It's definitely going
to have a hip-hop feel as far as taking it as far as it can go. I've been
grooming him to that point where he's coming with that next-level R&B,
not the regular R&B you've been hearing.
known for your hip-hop work. How do you groom an R&B artist?
are like another instrument to the track. When I listen to people sing,
I usually listen for tone, melody, song structure and content. I'm naturally
good at that from what I do. Dion is already very experienced as far as
knowing how he should sound as an artist so it's really a perfect match.
called him a "new-age Marvin Gaye." That's a pretty big statement.
Yeah. I really
mean that. His vocal tones are smooth and it's not aggravating. A lot
of guys I hear are really aggravating. I never thought I would be producing
a male R&B singer. When you hear his voice, it's smooth and it's not
aggravating. It's not one of those whiny-ass R&B voices.
not feel the current R&B scene?
Back in the
day, you know how it was, there was a lot of good music coming out. It
wasn't based on how old you were or how you looked. It was just based
off natural talent. The way the radio is and the way the industry formats
and structures everything now deprives a lot of natural talent.
of R&B sounds like it's for young girls. Are you targeting a certain
audience with Dion?
everybody. We're not going to target a certain audience. We're trying
to get everybody from the kids to the grown-ups.
take a different approach to your R&B beats than your hip-hop beats?
I take a
somewhat different approach. When I'm doing R&B, it's more melodic.
It's more something you can sing to.
Dre be involved in the Dion project?
Dre is overseeing
the project. Dion's his artist too. He's going to treat this like every
other project and really be critical. We're really not trying to half-ass
it. Dre's not the type to half-ass records. We're trying to make this
one of those records that will be memorable and be one in a series of
records that will come from Dion.
have a timeframe on this project?
don't. We're just working on songs and we have to get the right songs.
We have a lot of songs that aren't necessarily all over the place, but
we're definitely trying to zero in on the approach. He's still a new artist
no matter how long he's been signed for. We definitely don't want him
to come out the wrong way.
rhymed over Busta's "New York" beat. Have you been emceeing
a lot lately?
on my album right now. With this album, I'm spitting a lot more.
Hi-Teknology 2 coming?
good, man. I've been working on it for awhile. I've just been starting
over and starting over a lot. I've finalized a deal with Babygrande Records
and Koch Distribution.
Hi-Teknology 2 be different from the first one?
really different approach to this album is I'm going to be rapping more.
I'm going to be spitting a lot more on this album. You're definitely going
to hear me on more songs and even some solo songs. I'll be talking a lot
of shit! (laughs)
Hi-Teknology 2 drop?
towards an October release. I'm trying to get that right.
drop your own tracks on a regular basis. Why is that?
I don't know.
I think I'm a slow worker. I'm definitely a slow worker and I'm not really
in it for the race. I just try to drop jewels in it and make it special.
and Talib Kweli working on a new Reflection Eternal?
working here and there. There's nothing really solid. We work whenever
we can. We have to sit down and figure out what we want to do. We have
songs that have been recorded. We just did three new songs for his upcoming
have been working together forever. How has your relationship with Kweli
grown over the years?
I think it's grown apart. We were a group and we were doing a lot together.
We don't really do that as much now. I think it's grown as far as business
and respecting each other as men as opposed to just being friends in the
you feel hearing Reflection Eternal today?
I love it,
man. I'm just trying to capture that energy all the time. That record
has all my efforts from when I started making beats. That's Tek's state-of-the-art
work. All the work I put in during my whole career up to that point is
on that album.
any chance of a new Mood album happening?
I don't know.
I don't know. I might not have nothing to do with it.
there is another Black Star album was in the works. Do you know anything
It's in the
works. It's brewing right now.
going to get back with Mos Def soon?
He's on my
the Busta and Nas track "Rough Around the Edges" that didn't
make The Big Bang. Why didn't that track make the album?
I don't know.
That's just one of those tracks that didn't make it.
No. I'm a
family member of Aftermath. It basically just helps me come better as
a producer when someone doesn't choose a track. It makes me ask myself
why didn't they choose it. It helps me step my game up. I don't look at
myself as a big producer. I'm my hardest critic and it makes me step my
game up. I really respect Busta's album so much. It's a very well-produced
and well-rounded album. It's really inspirational. I still feel a part
of it because we recorded two other full songs and three scrapped songs
that we didn't finish for the album. We put the Nas joint out on the mixtapes.
Being in with Aftermath, I saw how to put together an album. I already
knew how to put an album together, but I learned as well. You don't just
put songs on the album because it has the name of a certain producer.
It's really not that type of album. I have to respect that.
the album grow and watched Busta grow as an artist. That's why I still
feel a part of the album. I'd be in the studio with Dre listening to songs.
I still feel a part of the album because I'm in the Aftermath family.
it like working with Dr. Dre?
the Wizard of Oz. When he listens to your music, you just capture that
energy from him. Getting his yay or nay on a track means a lot. When Dre
says it's hot, it's hot!
in the studio when you worked with 50 Cent?
Get In My Car" was recorded on the road. That beat was a year and
a half old. A lot of music we've done, he's been in one studio and I've
been in another studio. We weren't actually in the studio together. We'd
send files back and forth.
hurt the tracks at all?
certain artists. With artists like 50 Cent, he has it and he does what
he does. It's always a help when you have an artist and producer together
in the studio. Although 50 doesn't need somebody over his shoulder. He's
dope like that.
do you draw the line as far as letting certain artists work alone and
being there when they're working on your tracks?
really control that so the best thing is to make the beat as hot as possible
to where the artist is feeling the beat so much they just have to purchase
it and they put the money down. I know how I am. If I hear a track I want
for one of my artists, I would put the money down so they stop playing
the beat for other artists. You can't really control people two-tracking
your stuff. People want to two-track it first to see how it feels before
they record it. Technology allows people to do that. Before there weren't
really Pro Tools and there was more respect. People didn't loop up your
stuff and two-track it. Nowadays, that's just how it goes.
good or bad?
I think it's
bad. Sometimes it has some good to it. Some artists just want to see how
it feels first. They can't release the track and you're not obligated
to hold the track for them anyways. You have to let them know if somebody
else is inquiring about the track and if they really want to do something
with it, they have to put some money down on it.
able to go back to 50 Cent and tell him when you think something doesn't
It's a mutual-musical respect. If I told him something, he would definitely
listen and say, "I respect that." He might ask me why or he
might put me up on game as to why he did it that way. Artists definitely
give me respect on that level.
coming up for you production-wise?
right now I'm just working on signing artists and trying to build a good
record label and put out good music. I want to give other people a chance.
I'm 30 years-old right now. I've been in the music industry making music
and selling music for ten years. I'm trying to find other artists to work
with and give them an opportunity.
looking for hip-hop artists or would you rather do R&B?
I just found
a female R&B singer from London. I want to do R&B and hip-hop.
It's wherever the talent is. It doesn't really matter as long as there's
an MC have to have to catch your ear?
to have a certain type of flow. I hate people who sound like anybody else
in any certain kind of way. They have to sound relevant to today but still
be on some other shit. I like flows. I like different patterns on the
beat and when people rock to different patterns on the track. It's great
when they can talk about the streets and still love music. It's a combination
have a million different ways to make a beat. Can you take us through
the making of a Hi-Tek beat?
that's hard to say. I'm on my way to the studio right now. I'll probably
just start messing with some drums. Drums mean a lot to a track to me.
I have a live room set up in my studio so I might just bang on some live
drums and record onto Pro Tools and loop it up. I'll start building it
and it just starts becoming a classic beat. That just comes from feeling
don't have a set pattern. If it's not that, I'll go dig in the crates
and just listen to some old records. I'll try to emulate an old sample
in a record and just build off of that.
a lot of big tracks in your discography. If it's even possible, do you
have a track you're most proud of?
like the G-Unit Intro I did off the G-Unit album and I like "The
Blast" (Reflection Eternal). That record, I just love that song.
That's the oldest beat on the Reflection Eternal album. That's the oldest
track and it never died. That beat was done maybe two years before the
Reflection Eternal album came out. I touched it up a little bit, but I
love that track. I can listen to the sample I used for that record and
I still can't understand how I did it.
do you have for up-and-coming producers?
I think you
just have to keep respecting the realness of music. Keep the respect and
integrity in the music and always do your studying of history as far as
who came before you. Listen to old music and listen to other producers
and ask why they were considered the best. Stay original, but at the same
time, take from the best and challenge yourself. The longer you do it,
the better you're going to get. The more true you stay to it, the better
you'll get. While people are in the club kicking it, you should be banging
you want to say to everybody?
taking so long with this album, but I'm definitely going to give it to
y'all and I appreciate everybody's support. I think it's a blessing from
God that I have so much love in the game. It's crazy how the vibe travels
and it actually hit people the way I wanted it to hit them. It's a blessing
to have fans worldwide and even to be doing this interview.