Hi-Tek Talks Production Career, Digging For Samples

Hi-Tek talks about producing for Reflection Eternal and Black Star in his early career and the importance of digging in the crates.

Dynamic Producer recently caught up with the legendary Hi-Tek to tour his massive Teklab Studios and chop it up about his career. Tek talked about how he was able to build up his brand as a beatsmith by working exclusively with only a handful of artists, including Mos Def, Talib Kweli and Mood. He said that by working with only a few artists extensively at the beginning of his career, it helped him to define his overall sound and give other artists the chance to hear what kind of producer he really was.

"I think a producer [who wants to] make a name for himself coming out of a city like Cincinnati should find an artist, whether it's local or it's any artist they like to work with, [and] to really produce for them solely and really create a sound so people can understand exactly what you're doing," he explained. "The way I really got noticed was when I was producing tracks for Mood, which I produced 50% of that album [Doom], and I did the Black Star record, and I produced like 70% [or] 80% of that record. Same with [Reflection Eternal's] Train of Thought, which these were all my introductions to the game...that gave me a solid name and really gave people a real reason to reach out to me as opposed to having to chase down other artists and really beg them to rap on my tracks."

Tek also talked about the importance of sampling and digging through crates of records for songs to sample. He said that not only did it give him a greater appreciation for soul, jazz and other types of frequently sampled music, but that it taught him to look for certain artists and labels that may likely have an abundance of prime cuts to sample.

"I've been digging in the crates there since I was like 14 years old," he said. "I learned a lot [about music] just from digging in the crates. I would read the credits and I would see like a bass player like Ron Carter, and I would know he would be apart of some of the most craziest records and dopest songs that I've ever heard. I learned a lot about musicians, engineers, record labels in general [from digging]. Certain labels would have certain sounds, so you would know if...you saw something coming from a certain label, [you] would know it's gotta have to have something [to sample] on there 'cus they take pride in the quality of the record."

The full interview can be seen below.

RELATED: Dave Chappelle Makes A Beat With Hi-Tek & Talib Kweli

4 Comments

  • Anonymous

    hi-tek is such a genius he could and should be the biggest producer in rap more talent than most too bad he's wasted a good chunk of his career messing with that fuckin geek lame rapper kweli. last album sucked. kweli stunk. ruined every beat. hi-tek should link up with rakim or something, someone that needs hotter beats moving forward. least hi-tek got paid. the shit he was doing for g-unit was really dope. i'd like to hear more 50/banks hi-tek.

  • Bowski

    Hi Tek is definitely one of the illest producers bar none. I love the way he takes the time to create the "bottoms" for his beats. He almost never makes naked or thinly layered beats. He's one of my favs for sure, keep up the good work Tek.

  • Joshua Bechard

    i respect hi tek, seriously an inspiration for young crate diggers like myself ..train of thought is one of my favorite records

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