Tony Cottrell, better known as Hi-Tek, is an American record producer and rapper from Cincinnati, Ohio. He is best known for his work with Talib Kweli on his Reflection Eternal album and on Black Star. His father is singer Willie Cottrell of the Willie Cottrell Band whom Hi-Tek featured on his second release Hi-Teknology 2.
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 singles "The Blast" and "Move Somethin'". Reflection Eternal released a follow-up album titled Revolutions Per Minute on May 18, 2010.
After signing to Rawkus Records, Hi-Tek produced for a number of the labels projects, including the popular Soundbombing series; a three-record compilation of mostly Rawkus-based artists. In 2001, he released his solo album Hi-Teknology on Rawkus. The album featured appearances by Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Common, Vinia Mojica, Buckshot, and others, with all production handled 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 promotion of the album, or lack thereof, and he left Rawkus shortly after its release. He then signed to MCA Records after the remix of "Round and Round" featuring Method Man, became an underground hit. While signed to MCA, Hi-Tek began recording his follow-up album, Hi-Teknology 2: The Chip and produced Jonell's unreleased debut album for Def Jam.
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,1 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.
On the D12 single, "Just Like You," Bizarre references Hi-Tek, who produced the track. He says, "When Mos Def hear this, he probably gonna suffocate me, why you let Bizarre rap on Hi-Tek track? All he gonna do is talk about ho's and smokin' crack." This is a reference to Hi-Tek's early career with Mos Def and Talib Kweli who are known for a more responsible brand of music.