DJ Quik


Rolling out of the Blue Leprechaun at 4:30 in the morning, I had only two things on my mind – the good girl beside me, and my soon-to-be second interview with west coast legend & recording artist, DJ Quik. Carmen and I had gotten a trifle slaughtered from Long Islands at the bar, and now she was telling me there were wolverine scratches on the passenger side of my ‘89 Cavalier. There’s nothing like a strong mixture of vodka, gin, tequila, rum & cerebrospinal juices to get the prefrontal lobe misfiring. So by the time we reached the border in Port Huron, I truly believed I could muster enough votes to campaign for the mayoral election, and that I should dedicate my DJ Quik interview to the fine girl beside me. Clearly, my thoughts had not yet fully distilled. But when they do, oh man, will it ever be pretty. I just have be patient.


In the meantime, let’s have a peak at some of DJ Quik’s career stats. In 1991, Quik was signed to Profile Records, where he released his freshman album, Quik Is the Name. The LP eventually went platinum, and Quik followed it up with two more classics, Way 2 Fonky and Safe & Sound. By the late 1990’s, Quik had successfully honed his own brand, what he deemed as “Rhythm-al-ism”. But as the millennium dawned over L.A., the deaths of two of his closest friends, as well as a run-in with the pigs, Quik was forced to reevaluate some of his longterm goals; that is, until now. As we race through 2011, Quik is back & stronger than ever, releasing his first album as a Hip Hop professor, The Book of David.

Congratulations, Quik, on the success of The Book of David. It’s another classic. Tell us a little about the album, and how it’s been received thus far?
Out here in Cali, in America pretty much, people like it. Like it’s a trip to see because people are so inundated with music right now. So it’s a trip to see that they will still come out and show their respect for a legend. People like me, we could put out records that don’t work, just because we need the money, but I’ve never done that. I’d rather kill myself than be a slave to celebrities from way-back-when, from celebrity-past. I don’t want to rally one up for the band again – Let’s strike up the band for old times sake. I’d never be that guy. But to see people follow me where I’m going now, in my future endeavors, it’s a wonderful thing.

Have your live performances & tours changed over the years?
The faces change but the energy is still there. People respond to good music, and I guess I’m still doing good music. There were times when people were into other things, like when “snap music” came out and the south was running it. There were times when people seemed like they were more into that type of music, and our west coast music, funk music, wasn’t working. But it’s almost like there’s a resurgence, like everybody’s into the west coast movement again, and I love it. It couldn’t have happened to a better coast, because we’re the most mellow out of everybody. Just to see people enthused about our music again is wonderful. We deserve it.

But you still show love for good women, like to keep a nice pack by your side…
[wild laughter] Hell yeah! Because you are who you associate yourself with. You hang around with five people. They define you. So, you know, I have beautiful women around me. They motivate me.

I see you in the Adidas Originals tracksuits. How would you describe your style?
I’m leisure. There were a couple of times I did shows in a three-piece suit, everything suit and tie, and people didn’t respond to it. Hip hop is still a sporty genre, because it’s young. Lil Wayne has done the rock ‘n’ roll thing so I can’t come out in the studded shirts and the Louis belt, with the chains attached to the back wallet. That’s not me. My style on-stage is leisure and sporty. It’s accessible. Adidas and Nike are just comfortable tracksuits to wear on-stage. You can really open up.

Well, I got the Originals track pants on right now.
[laughs] Then you know what I’m talking about!

Do you still have the purple jacket from the “Tonite” video? If so, can you mail it to me?
[more laughs] It was really like a fuchsia color, the jacket. I lost that a long time ago. I’ll tell you what happened. There was this cleaners in Compton called Rosecrans Avenue, that we used to all take our clothes to. Eazy E had turned me on to this store in the South Bay Galleria, the Guess store, so I started buying all Guess clothes. I did everything Eazy did, so my girl took all of my clothes to the cleaners and someone saw that shit going in there. We’re talking about a few thousand dollars worth of clothes. So they broke into the cleaners and stole all of my shit, and the jacket was part of it. They got my jacket.

Last time we talked you compared yourself to Prince in the Purple Rain movie…
Yeah, and if you remember, Prince was living his life. He had his career. They had the club popping. He was number one on the throne, or the number two band. Then he started being a slave to his feelings. His music suffered because of his love for Apollonia, and the audience started to get skeptical. It took Prince a bit of soul-searching to reveal Apollonia’s true colors, like “Hey, I’m with the hottest guy, whoever’s the hottest guy, I’ll be there.” So Prince realized that that shit is fleeting, and he decided, “Hey, I’m going to do what got me here. I’m going to have a fucking ball. I don’t give a fuck about Apollonia. I’m moving on”. And that’s how I feel. I’ve been through the battle of the bands, and now I’m at the end of the movie. It’s time to hit them with the finale. That’s what we’re doing right now with my band, my producer for the show, and my boy Gift Reynolds. It’s the face of things to come.

Would you like to get in the studio with anyone?
I like Jay Electronica. I think he’s what hip hop really is. He’s quintessential hip hop. I want to get back in the studio with Jigga. I want to get in the studio with Snoop again, and Dre, even though they don’t need me. It’s always fun to go in there with them. I might want to get in there with T-Pain and Rick Ross. I think those would be cool collaborations. Right now though, it’s about me and my boys, Gift and KK.

You had a bad experience with the Canadian press once…
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I was really shocked. I had lost my friends. I wasn’t caring about food. I was drinking and going hard, and somebody boldly asked me if I was doing crack. I was like, “Wow, really? Why would you think that? If I was in Canada I’d fuck you up. I’d push the microphone in your mouth. I’d bust your eyes or scratch you. I’d fuck you up.” That was just one reporter who said that, but it made me not so motivated to come running up there to perform. And I’ve had good shows in Canada too. They’ve been great, especially in B.C., but if that’s what people are feeling, they should look at my new video then ask me if I’m on illegal drugs or if I’m abusing myself, because a picture’s worth a thousand words. I was just really disappointed, you know. Like, homosexuality and cocaine use, to me, don’t go with hip hop. They don’t go with gangsta rap. They don’t go with where I’m from. These are things that are condemned, shunned. But you know, I have respect for all the cities I rock. As a performing artist, you never want to leave your fans with a bitter taste in their mouth. But that was the ultimate insult. It made me think like, “Wow, crack. Well I might as well be gay too, and I might as well have AIDS. Let’s just put that in there too. Give me all that shit, if that’s how ya’ll feel about me.” I was just really disappointed. I felt that that’s how everybody felt, so I figured whatever, I’ll stay here in America with my crackhead ass. [laughs]

Well, I was shocked when you told me that.
Yeah, I fired my publicist for that!

What’s next for you, beyond The Book of David and the tour?
More albums coming out of my label hopefully. My distributor’s happy with me. I just want to build my brand, and give other cats the chance to be owners in this business, as opposed to artists who get robbed like we did back in the Profile Records days. We sold all those records and didn’t get money from the label. We pretty much relied on that money, like ancillary income. So I want all my artists to be able to eat from their sales, just like another Ruthless Records. I like the way Eazy did it. I want the Ruthless Records type of thing, and maybe getting into the film side too, doing film scores. I’m pretty proficient at that already, and who knows, maybe you’ll catch me directing. Because I’m not going to be on-stage all the time. It takes a lot of energy. When you go on a long-ass tour, you’ve got to really have your endurance up. I’d rather see that my young artists are doing their shit. Maybe I’ll become a director. I can bring what I know about music and arrangement to film.

What does it mean for you to be a hip hop professor?
I don’t think it means anything. I think it’s just what I naturally became, like I stay true to what I do. I’m an historian. I don’t try to impress my will upon people. I’m not out here begging people to honor us because we’re legends. I’m just giving people good music. Hip hop is funny, you know. So we’re out here doing comedy, cracking people up and just having fun. I just believe the key to success is just being easy to work with.

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