Backpackers have to get paid too. Founded in 1996, Rawkus Records was a purists’ dream label, but former in-house producer Hi-Tek recently revealed that there were a few nightmares as well.
As one of the indie label’s chief beatsmiths, Tek provided tracks for a bulk of Rawkus’ early releases, including their Soundbombing and Lyricist Lounge compilations, as well as his debut Reflection Eternal LP with Talib Kweli in 2000. Despite all his hard work, though, the Cincinnati producer didn’t always get paid in full for his services.
“It was an issue for me, a big issue for me at a point in time, with Rawkus because I was producing a lot of [their] records,” Tek said during a recent sit down with XXLMag.com. “I wasn’t making no money so we kinda had a little business fall out, but I love Rawkus for what they did for me and my career. I take nothing away from that.”
In fact, Tek says it’s all water under the bridge and appreciates the opportunity that Rawkus founders, Jarret Myer and Brian Brater, provided for him and the other artists on the label.
“Rawkus was like the home for us,” he continued. “They definitely created a lot of monsters and they had a lot of great opportunities with a lot of great artists to this day that they didn’t even take advantage of, let alone us, so I wanna say big up to Jarret and Brian for what they did for me and my career.”
Continuing to push forward, Tek—who went on to drop three volumes of his Hi-Teknology series—is preparing for Reflection Eternal’s long-awaited reunion album, Revolutions Per Minute, for release this spring on Asylum Records. “Like I said, it was good and bad,” Tek said. “But at the end of the day we still here still making good music.” —Anslem Samuel