A.V. Club Most Read

News Newswire Great Job, Internet!
TV Club All Reviews What's On Tonight
Video All Video A.V. Undercover A.V. Cocktail Club Film Club
Reviews All Reviews Film TV Music Books
Features All Features Game Review TV Club
Sections Film Tv Music Food Comedy Books Games Aux
Our Company About Us Contact Advertise Privacy Policy Careers RSS
Onion Inc. Sites The Onion The A.V. Club ClickHole Onion Studios

Hi-Tek: Hi-Teknology



Album: Hi-Teknology
Label: Rawkus

Community Grade

  • A
  • A-
  • B+
  • B
  • B-
  • C+
  • C
  • C-
  • D+
  • D
  • D-
  • F

Your Grade


Like Mos Def and Talib Kweli, Cincinnati's DJ Hi-Tek has maintained a remarkable level of quality in his work while evolving at a breathtaking rate. But Hi-Tek didn't come into his own as a major artist until "For Women," the last track on last year's terrific Reflection Eternal album: There, Kweli's vivid, poetic verses and Hi-Tek's haunting, elegant production combined with unforgettable results. Hi-Tek's growth continues apace with his solo debut, Hi-Teknology, an album that ranks among the best producer compilations ever assembled. A part-time MC, Hi-Tek handles mic duties on Hi-Teknology's title song, but stays behind the boards for the album's remainder, crafting astonishingly assured, eclectic beats for an assortment of MCs both established and up-and-coming. But, like Mos Def, Hi-Tek can't be confined to just one genre, as two of Hi-Teknology's best tracks eschew rap entirely for slinky, brittle R&B (Jonell's "Round & Round") and spacey, blissed-out soul (Mos Def and Vinia Mojica's "Git To Steppin'"). Kweli pops up for a pair of typically strong tracks ("Get Back Remix" and "Theme From Hi-Tek"), but, of all people, it's Cormega—an otherwise undistinguished Mobb Deep flunky—who scores the album's best song. Leaving behind his real-ass-thug shtick for a few minutes, Cormega achieves something approaching greatness on "All I Need Is You," a street-smart love song that's both sweet and propulsive. Elsewhere, Hi-Tek does his best DJ Premier impersonation on "Breakin' Bread," and does right by his Cincinnati compatriots in Mood with a stellar beat for "Suddenly." Serviceable but unremarkable thugged-out turns from Buckshot and newcomer Jinx Da Juvy on "The Illest It Gets" and "Where I'm From," respectively, slow the album's momentum a bit, but otherwise Hi-Tek maintains an impressive blend of street savvy and arty ambition. An essential solo debut, Hi-Teknology confirms what Reflection Eternal implied: that, over the course of a few short years, Hi-Tek has risen to the ranks of hip-hop's elite producers.