Hiway is an up and coming rapper from Humboldt County, California the so-called “marijuana capital of the world." Hiway has shared stages with the likes of Potluck, Bone Thugs n Harmony, D-12, Warren G, Tha DoggPound, Tech N9ne, Ill Bill and Devin The Dude. He has a rep for impressing crowds and is said to have a love “for using clever and uncommon phrases to make you think is what separates him from the pack.”
With his rockin’, recently released recording he strives to match his hype. It follows the format of other more famous discs of this type with 24 tracks including some skits and personal commentary. It’s a healthy mix of oft’times explicit rap, hip-hop, dance and electronic music with a touch of funk and R&B thrown in for good measure.
The CD opens strongly with the titular track “Roadside Assistance”. It’s a loose concept album in that the tracks are held together with a story. He plays a tow truck driver with aspirations of being something more. Each cut after the intro is simply Hiway sharing with his broken down female customer.
He brings in guest collaborators incredibly early as Chavo helps him out on the second selection “Wutitdoodle”. His homies get a notorious nod in "Humboldt Crud" before he moves into “Amped Up”. He jumps in with “Jibberish” before taking a break with the first skit titled “(Recess 1)”.
He returns to his ranting raps with “Delirious” which somehow is new but yet sounds very reminiscent of something that has come before. It features Potluck which somehow adds to his street cred. Don’t ask for an explanation just listen carefully to the cut.
The 8th audio offering titled “Brake Check” keeps the auto idea in there and features yet another guest artist—this time—Oh Blimey. It is quickly followed by the nasty “Gefilte Fish” which seems a bit derivative but still he manages to somehow stand out. “My First Time” is perhaps what some would call the obvious single and to be fair it is one of the best tracks here adding a bit of humor to the whole stereotype of rapper and strippers. (Make it rain, dude.)
His collaborative cuts continue with exuberance in “Exuberant” (which features Rappin 4-Tay) before he breaks again with “(Recess 2)”. “Invertigo” also includes ingredients that somehow make it sound almost derivative but before you can figure it out he cuts loose with “Cold Chillin” complete with compadre Kush. The familiar “Fear Factor” follows with another sound similar to something but you probably won’t know what.
“Priceless” is far from worthless thanks to the work of Doe the Unknown & Mr. Garth Culti-Vader. (We try not to question the names; it’s rap, right?) Never Die’s Chavo encores on “Trippin” before another short break “(Recess 3)”.
He knows his strengths as he brings in more guests to add to the out of control musical mash-up on “We Ain’t Done Yet” with Flo J. Simpson—(yeah, yeah, it’s rap and hip-hop)—and Logic One and the energetic “Too Lit to Quit” with Swizzz. The latter is a bit lengthy at almost 5 minutes but before you notice Hiway moves out with “Outta Town”. The last full track is “Hometown” with Vidagua and works well as a (near) closing cut before he takes a final timeout “(Recess 4)” before the apropos album end-note “Outro”.
While his press praises him as being different it’s more like he is able to take elements of an already established genre and make them his own with his own multi-personality. Considering he has also earned some notoriety on his local radio stations and even broken onto a chart he very well may be someone to watch. If you ask Hiway and friends they will no doubt say: “We Ain’t Done Yet”.
My name is Phoenix and . . . that’s the bottom line.