In this day in age, real Hip Hop is cherished more than ever. And that’s exactly why Hi-Tone’s Price of Admission project needs to be heard. Hailing from Covina, California, the rapper/tattoo artist delivers nothing but hard-hitting flows and melodies, proving he has a place in this rap game. Read more…
With the release of his “Big Cousin” visual, it was soon realized Hi-Tone would be sharing with fans yet another piece of himself on his debut project. Following his No Xanax Needed EP which detailed the hardships of sobriety, Hi-Tone is back to share another part of his journey, which includes representing for the Mexican-American community.
Ahead of his sold out show at The Roxy, Young California sat down with Hi-Tone to speak on his vision with POA and how his music (and life) has evolved since the beginning.
For those who don’t know, who is Hi-Tone?
Hi-Tone is just a regular person with a big dream. That’s what I am — I’m the underdog. I’m the one that got passed up on. And I’m the motivation for the people that have dealt with the same issues that I’ve dealt with. I’m just a regular person with a big dream. That’s what I call it.
How would you describe your sound?
Me! I know music goes in waves. I know a lot of people jump on trends and things like that, but I consistently just stay me and stick to my story. And allow people to just understand that I’m someone that they can connect with all-year round, because every day we wake up, we’re in different moods. And that’s the music I give them. It’s me.
You’re from LA, where does the West Coast fit in the realm of Hip Hop right now?
I feel like the Mustard, YG, Kendrick, that whole thing kind of really lit the West back on fire. I think that the West is always gonna have a place for Hip Hop. We have had some of the biggest artists in the world come from our coast and I think it’s something to be proud of. But the one thing I do feel that the West needs is unity. I feel like the West needs to work more together. I know the politics are big in the street violence and the gang culture is big. But if we put that aside and we really start working together, I think we can do the same things that Atlanta is doing — things like that. I think that’s what the West needs.
You actually put on for the Mexicans, do you feel that you guys are a minority in Hip Hop?
Of course, that’s just been that way forever. It’s just about one of us… because there’s millions of us out here that are talented. There’s a lot of people that are doing it right now on the underground level and selling out shows and putting numbers on the board. But I feel like one of us needs to go to popular culture. One of us needs to really cross over from LA and legitimately put on for our culture.
Talk about your upcoming album Price of Admission.
Price of Admission: we all pay a price to be who are, where we wanna go. Everything that we love in life comes with a line. If you go to your favorite restaurant, you’re either gonna make a reservation or wait in a long line. Favorite roller coaster, long line. That’s what this game is. It’s about being patient, working at the same time, and knowing that you will get to the front of that door, one day. And when you do make that opportunity, what it’s worth.
What do you want fans to get out of this one?
Patience. Trust the process! Believe in everything that you are doing and when you fall, you get up. When you feel like you’re not good enough, you tell yourself you are. That’s all this project is about. It’s just about being patient and knowing that your day will come.
Speaking of, how have you grown since No Xanax Needed?
Man, doors are opening up. People that weren’t showing interest are showing interest now. It’s just funny how things work out because I poured my heart out with NXN, and I really feel like that was my niche. That was the thing that really made people look into me and just say, “Who is this guy?” Because we all felt the way I felt and he wasn’t afraid to tell us, so let’s at least give him a shot. Let’s hear him out. And I think the doors just opened up for me. I’m not there yet, but I’m getting there.
If you had to pick one song for a listener to better understand your music, what song would it be?
Ooh, this is a good question. [pause] “Enjoy.” I feel like it makes you understand not just what I was feeling at that moment, but understand life. Because life is really about moments, life is about right now, and I feel like when I put that record out, I touched so many people.
What’s a normal day in the life?
Hard work. I do the normal stuff because I feel it’s important as you’re chasing success and you’re reaching fame, you have to do the normal things that keep your mind right. But a day in the life with Hi-Tone is on-the-go. It’s moving, it’s never settling. I’m always doing something and people are wondering like, “How could you do this everyday?” I’ve been doing this seven years every single day and that’s why we’re sitting at this table right now, because of hard work.
Other than tattooing, what would you be doing if you weren’t rapping?
So no tatting, no music, probably no clothes then… love animals. I would figure out something to do with animals. Like maybe if I couldn’t do anything else, I would do that.
What’s your end goal?
To put myself in a position to where I can change everybody that I love’s life. That’s my end goal. We can all sit here and say we want mansions and nice cars, and that’s gonna come. But it’s being able to put my family, my close friends, and my real ones in a better position to help them get through life.
Who’s the most played artist on your phone?
Probably Bob Marley and I would say, maybe Brenton Wood. [laughs] I do so much writing and music, that I just like to vibe. I rap so much and I’m writing so much rap, and there’s so much rap around me, that it’s like I like oldies. I like Erykah Badu. I like Sade. I like Marvin Gaye. That’s what I like.
Maybe Erykah Badu. And probably… I really like Frank Ocean. I think that would be pretty dope.
Is there anything else you want to let Young California know?
That I really appreciate the love. I know they hold it down for the West out here. For not just already big artists, but artists that are coming up, like myself. I just appreciate the love.