Local rapper Hiway 101 has released a music video for his new song “Top Floor,” featuring singer Braye Nicole and famed rapper Tech N9ne.
Hiway 101, also known as 35-year-old Aaron Kaplan of Eureka, said that Tech N9ne agreed to collaborate on the track after he emailed the unfinished song to Tech N9ne’s music label Strange Music.
“Tech said he dug it and a couple weeks later he had his part back,” Kaplan said. “I definitely compensated him. I didn’t want to ask for any homie hookup or discount based on who I know. That’s artist tact. After the initial business deal, if it opens up the relationship to become more organic, that’s great, but especially for a legend whose time is money, it’s no question.”
With no record label involved, Kaplan said he financed the entire project as a tribute to his late father who passed away in 2019. He purchased the beat, hired the talent and rented the parking garage in Kansas City (Tech N9ne’s hometown) to film the music video.
“People tell me to invest my money, in realty in particular,” he said. “I wanted to invest my money, but invest it in myself instead.”
While the music video was released earlier this year, Kaplan said that he and his team traveled from Humboldt County to film the video in September, when there were far fewer reported cases of COVID-19.
“It was crazy traveling all that way during a pandemic but we were all safe and to go from one ‘hot’ state to another wasn’t a problem for airports,” he said. “Tech met us at the Corrigan Station Parking Garage and did his part with us. Tech got his part done, shot the chorus with us, kicked it for a few minutes and took off.”
The video has received more than 22,800 views on YouTube in the last month. But Kaplan has higher aspirations for his project, and said that he’ll likely promote the song in the near future to take it to the next level.
“I’ll probably hire an [artist and repertoire] person to shop the song to the bigger platforms,” he said. “Again, if artists are serious, we have to invest in ourselves.”