Hi-Tek (born Tony Cottrell) is an American hip hop producer from Cincinnati, Ohio. He is best known for his work with Talib Kweli on his Reflection Eternal album and on Black Star.
Hi-Tek started his rap career with hip hop group Mood and had a regional hit with "Hustle on the Side". That song was made for Mood's album Doom, which featured amongst others Brooklyn MC Talib Kweli. Talib and Hi-Tek clicked immediately, and Hi-Tek went on to produce most of Talib Kweli and Mos Def's Black Star (1998). In 2000, Tek and Kweli (under the name Reflection Eternal) released Train of Thought (2000) on Rawkus Records, with raps by Talib Kweli and beats by Hi-Tek. It enjoyed moderate crossover radio success with the single "The Blast" and eventually earned Gold status in record sales. The pair have yet to release a follow-up album due to creative differences.
After signing to Rawkus Records, Tek produced for some of their projects, including the popular Soundbombing series, a three-record compilation of Rawkus artists. During his tenure there, he grew unhappy with their treatment of him, such as a time they forced him to give a beat he'd produced for Snoop Dogg to label signee Kool G Rap, who didn't want the beat.
In 2001, he released his solo album Hi-Teknology on Rawkus. The album featured raps by artists like Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Vinia Mojica, Buckshot, and others, all produced by Hi-Tek. It received some critical acclaim and spawned a minor hit "Round and Round" with Cincinnati singer Jonell.
Although the record sold over 250,000 copies, Hi-Tek wasn't pleased with the job Rawkus did with his album, and he left the label shortly after its release. He then signed to MCA Records after the song "Round and Round" became an underground hit. While signed to MCA, Hi-Tek produced the album Hi-Teknology 2 and produced Jonell's debut album for Def Jam, though neither of these albums were released.
Currently, Hi-Tek is working as a staff producer for Aftermath Entertainment and its affiliates, as well as past associates such as Kweli and Mos Def. He is also recording songs for Dion, an R&B singer signed to Aftermath. Hi-Teknology 2 was released October 17, 2006 on Babygrande, and distributed by Koch Entertainment. The producer released the third installment, Hi-Teknology 3: Underground on December 11, 2007.
Hi-Tek was featured on the cover of Beyond Race magazine for the publication's winter 2008 issue.