Last year’s stellar Hi-Teknology
had Tek making good use of his
impressive rolodex, calling upon everyone from Nas to Bun B. All the
while, backing them with his always remarkable production. So it was a bit of a
surprise when Tek took it back for Hi-Teknology 3, using just a few
notables and bringing a handful of underground emcees to the limelight; much
like his original Hi-Teknology.

Talib is still
in the cut, as are Dion, Ghost, Rae,
and songstress Jonell. Other
than them, Young Buck, Outlawz, Little
and M-1, there aren’t
many familiar names gracing the LP. But as we all know, the best rapper’s we’ve
ever heard were unknown at some point. Unfortunately, none of these emcees are
going to become your next favorite rapper. Brooklynite Push Montana likely fares the best of the bunch. His rhymes might
border on generic but he does an admirable job over Tek‘s ominous backdrop on Kill
. M-1 of dead prez joins Lep, Count,
and Big D for the trite Handling My Bizness. Someone should have been
handling their business and left this one on the cutting room floor.

Sadly, things get no better with Ohio All Stars, which couldn’t be a more inappropriate title. I’m not
sure whether its Cross, Showtime, Mann
or Chip The Rippa, but one of them
starts the song with “I got the flow like
Pac, I got the weight like Biggie/I got the muscle just like I was fuckin’ 50/…I
got the carter, but I’m not Weezy/I got the snow, but I’m not Jeezy.
” It
sounds even worse than it reads, which is too bad cause Tek‘s production is on point. Atlanta’s Rem Dog represents better on the lyrical tip over Tek‘s moody production on I’m Back, but his prominent lisp can
make it a tough listen. 

The veterans have no trouble showing the newcomers how it’s
done. My Piano stands head and
shoulders above everything else on the album. Not only is the guitar driven
beat by far Tek‘s best here, but it
propels Ghostface and Rae to the top of their games with the
always phenomenal Dion providing the
icing on the cake. Along with Kurupt, Dion steals the show on Back On The
, one of the album’s finest. What is it about Kurupt on Tek‘s production?
Damn. The Outlawz join Young Buck over melancholy keys and
reminisce about 2Pac on God’s Plan, which turns out very nice. Step Ya Game Up, a stand out from Little Brother‘s Getback is “remixed” here. Same verses, same beat, but Dion gets a few bar verse. Not exactly
what I’d call a remix, but the song is dope, so whatever. Speaking of stepping
games up, Talib does just that with the conceptual Time. Can we get that new Reflection
album now please?

I’m generally a much bigger fan of indy hip hop, so I was
all for Tek‘s reverting back to the
underground for 3. That is, until I
listened to the emcees he chose to work with. There is just no comparison
between the results of tracks with Ghost,
or Talib with those of songs
with Lep, Cross or Big D. Tone’s guest selection certainly
faltered at points, but his production didn’t (even though it is a notch below 2). It is hard not to be disappointed in
this LP after his last was so superior, but with Tek‘s soundscapes and the few gems throughout, it is still an album worth
listening to.