DJ Quik: Against All Odds

The legendary producer/rapper does the unthinkable for any artist: tells a media outlet the actual truth about radio deejays, Suge Knight, and even himself.

DJ Quik is pissed.

The man born David Blake is considerably more heated than he sounds on “Ghetto Rendezvous,” his melodic-yet-menacing indictment of alleged greed and betrayal on the part of family members heard on Quik’s simultaneously sunny and angry eighth solo effort, The Book of David.

Quik is full of “Fire and Brimstone” because prior to completing his recent interview with HipHopDX he was treated like any no-name new jack would be by Los Angeles-based radio deejays who likely don’t even know that they owe their careers in part to “America’z Most Complete Artist.”  

Long before he was getting “the business” in his own backyard, the Compton, California native was leaving home, at just 17 years-old, to embark on a personal mission to make his music dreams come true. By age 19, the triple threat (deejay/producer/rapper) was already armed with his future back-to-back Top 20 singles, “Born and Raised in Compton” and “Tonite.” Quik’s hits helped him score a platinum plaque by the time he was 21 for his full-length debut, 1991’s Quik is the Name. The album’s success ensured his hometown’s musical mark wouldn’t end with that year’s dissolution of N.W.A., and that two decades later there would actually be Hip Hop deejays working at commercial radio stations in the City of Angels.

Before he nearly got it “Poppin’” with his ungrateful offspring in the industry, Quik graciously made time in a hectic schedule the week before his new album’s release to speak to this site, not once, but twice - after his initial interview with DX had to be cut short.     

The first part of DX’s Q&A with arguably the greatest Hip Hop producer to ever emerge from the pacific coast was a somewhat standard affair (save for his coy dodging of a question regarding the role he played in the creation of “California Love,” and his more direct acknowledgement of un-credited activities at Aftermath Entertainment).

Post radio incident, the second part of his discussion with DX captures Quik in a candidly raw, “Against All Odds” moment, offering up some of the most brutally honest commentary of his historic 20-year career. Quik does so with the same confident indifference to what anyone thinks that he displayed amid the sweeping strings, triumphant horn blasts and grand piano stabs of “Killer Dope,” the album apex of David Blake’s new audio diary, which is punctuated by the drop he surely wishes now he would’ve done during that radio broadcast: “Shouts goes out … to myself/I love me, DJ Quik/Fuck the world!”       

[First part of interview, conducted Monday, April 11, 2011]

HipHopDX: I know you’ve worked with Will Smith before, [on “Block Party”], so I’m not trying to get you to take shots at the Fresh Prince, but just between me and you … and the 50,000 people who are gonna read this, “Summer Breeze” is really the true #1 summertime Hip Hop song of all time, ain’t it?  

DJ Quik: That’s big. I love what [Hula & Fingers] did with the Kool & the Gang sample [of “Summer Madness” for DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince’s “Summertime”], and how crazy [they] made it, and how funky. But, “Summer Breeze” was just coming from a real honest place. And, Jermaine Jackson was cool enough to actually give me some correspondence and let me use the sample, [of “You Like Me Don’t You”]. So, in hindsight, that’s a real special record because I was coming from a place too where I was missing some of my homies that had passed away. … I just did it thinking about them, and thinking about how dope the summer was in Compton growing up, in ’86, ’85 and ’84. It was bananas. We had the [1984] Olympics here, you couldn’t tell us nothing. The Olympics was at the L.A. Coliseum, the torch was lit. We seen that shit off the freeway. It was like, L.A. was on fire!        

DX: Switching gears here, I love how on the new album, [The Book of David], you’re taking it back to your more musical compositions. This album feels like it coulda dropped in between Rhythm-Al-Ism and -  

DJ Quik: Rhythm-Al-Ism and Balance & Options. Say that. It’s funny, when I went into doing this album I went into it as – themed it as Rhythm-Al-Ism 2. Like, where would I continue that thought? And that’s kinda where it’s coming from. As you can see, Jon B stood in for the El DeBarge [guest vocalist role]. … So, this feels like an amalgamation of Hip Hop and R&B, but [blended] in such a way to where it just becomes rhythm-al-ism. … And plus, it’s SSL, [Solid State Logic]. So it’s back to our sound from the “Let’s Get Down” days, Tony! Toni! Tone! It’s that sound again.   

DX: Am I hatin’ for sayin’ that in the years between “Pitch In On A Party” [from Balance & Options] and “Do You Know” from the BlaQKout album that it just didn’t feel like the same Quik that we came to know and love in the ‘90s?

DJ Quik: Nah, that ain’t hate at all. That’s actually a correct and very focused observation. So I commend you on knowing. Yeah, at that point, I didn’t really care about the music. I can’t front. I was having just personal stuff going on: fighting with my family, ‘cause they’re trying to rob me for stuff that belongs to me, stealing cars and motorcycles and playing like I owe ‘em that. It’s like, “I paid for this. I could call the police on you. Give me my toys back.” They like, “Nah nigga, we family, you can’t say nothing.” I’m like, “I will sue you muthafuckas.” So I’m fighting with these weirdos. And, it had nothing to do with the music. … I was pretty much going through the motions at that point. I was finding myself, where my place was in the business, where my place was with my mother. Like, just reestablishing relationships that doing music would of taken away from. So I was kinda just a shell of myself, and I had other people helping me. G-One was coming in and helping do some of that shit. I was pretty absent, from my own music. But, that’s reality though. And that’s when I took a real self-imposed break. Like you said, after “Pitch In On A Party,” and all the way up to BlaQKout  it was like – Trauma , don’t sleep on Trauma. Trauma has brilliant, brilliant moments. That’s a brilliant record. ‘Cause I did it from a place where … I was in New York. I was really hangin’ out with Wyclef [Jean], and Dave Chappelle, and Nas. I was just trying to learn my way around New York City. And Trauma afforded me the luxury of being able to live in New York …. I took an apartment in Manhattan, and you couldn’t tell me nothing. I’m going to the [Chappelle Show] tapings. … And hangin’ out with T.I. Like, really just on some New York shit.                 

DX: Now, I love the sleek synths, grown and sexy sound of “Luv Of My Life”

DJ Quik: Man, real grown up, right?               

DX: Yeah. But I gotta admit that as someone who loved how you incorporated a live flute into “Jus Lyke Compton,” “Quik’s Groove II” and “III,” and maybe most impressively on the immaculate “Somethin’ 4 Tha Mood,” not hearing any flute on the new album was disappointing.

DJ Quik: Well, it’s funny ‘cause my flute players aren’t around. I can’t access ‘em. And before I do fake flute, I’ll just do none.  

DX: Charles “Chaz” Greene, he’s not around anymore?    

DJ Quik: Chaz is doing freelance stuff now. He’s a saxophone player too. But he’s got a family now. He hasn’t been touring that much. I still run into real dope other cats though, but no flautist that has really rocked my boat right now; that really impressed me. But, it’ll come. That’ll be on my next record. I’m sorry you disappointed, ‘cause I love this record. This record is really about the drums, and the bass lines. This record is funky. … This album, the sound of it and the feel of it, it’s classic. It’s a classic. And it’s gon’ work. And it’s not pretentious; it’s not like … gimmicky. It’s just solid, emotive Hip Hop and R&B mixed together.            

DX: Well, like I said, I want the DJ Quik that’s full of flute. Pause. [Laughs]  

DJ Quik: [Laughs]      

DX: [Laughs] I also wanna hear you use the talk box. After Roger [Troutman], you really became the definitive user of that for “Safe And Sound,” “I Useta Know Her” -   

DJ Quik: Yeah. I [only] use it live, because there were a lot of people that were doing it [after he died in 1999] and I just didn’t like – it just seemed like they were making a mockery of my man Mr. [Roger] Troutman. And [after] working closely with that man, and knowing that man, I didn’t want to bastardize something that he made popular. I didn’t wanna be like I’m using it just because. He showed me that shit from an honest place, and I gotta use my discretion when I use it. … I’m glad that you like one of my classic [sounds], and don’t take this the wrong way, but I’m really trying to – I’m looking for the younger fan base too, so I’m giving them the music they like as well. ‘Cause I’m still a deejay; I still rock parties, and I gotta play what they like: Young Money and Drake and all them, I gotta play those records. And I think the flutes and that stuff … it’s a trickle-down theory. They’re taking music programs out of the schools. And we’re out fighting trying to keep ‘em in the schools. I’m doing philanthropy in that world, just trying to do what I can to help raise money for these schools so they can keep their music programs. Music and math are synonymous.  

DX: That’s true. Now, taking it back to Roger real quick, is it true – a little bit of Hip Hop folklore here – that you are the reason there was a “California Love,” because it was you who brought Roger to Dr. Dre?

DJ Quik: [Laughs softly] No comment.     

DX: Wow. [Laughs] Is that no comment just because of the current situation, or just you don’t ever wanna reveal anything about that?

DJ Quik: Uh … no comment.

DX: [Laughs] Let me ask you this, did Dre ever tell you if the Safe and Sound sound is what inspired him to make “California Love”?

DJ Quik: Uh … I didn’t hear that. I mean, [Dr.] Dre shows me his appreciation for me like when we hang out. So, I get it. And actually, I don’t even know if Dre knows, [on] Safe and Sound, some of those songs - like “Somethin’ 4 Tha Mood,” that was just me imitating what he did on Snoop [Doggy Dogg’s] album, [Doggystyle], like “Ain’t No Fun.” We throw the G-Funk ball back and forth. And it’s great to play in tandem with sharp thinkers like that. Dr. Dre is a producer who’s … He’s the bomb. And every time I leave the studio I learn something else from him. It’s like, he’s never gonna be the kind of dude that’ll shut down and not show you a secret. He’s nurturing in that way. That’s why Eminem is successful. Like, he nurtured Em. … [Dr. Dre is] always gonna be one of my top three producers in the world.    

DX: Just out of curiosity, I’ve always wanted to know this, did you guys work more together than the credits would suggest …?

DJ Quik: Yeah, I did a lot of ghost stuff over there [at Aftermath Entertainmenr]. I helped with [50 Cent’s] Get Rich or Die Tryin’ . I helped with [Eminem’s] Encore . I did little … I stood in on some [songs] – you know, when they needed me. And, when they had it all together I left. … You’ll feel me, I’m in that mix. You can [tell]. Some of the snares and kicks, and little tabs and shit, I had something to do with. But we really showed off on [Truth Hurts’] “Addictive” though. That was the smartest record ever.

DX: What about during your mid-‘90s tenure as basically an in-house producer at Death Row [Records]; were you and Dre [working] in tandem then?

DJ Quik: Well, at Can-Am [Studios] he had Studio A, and I had Studio B. I had the smaller room. He had the Rock & Roll room. So he was doing the big Rock records. But like if there was something that he had left, that he didn’t wanna finish or … if he didn’t wanna mix it, he passed on something, I would try to make it sound – I would take a shot at it and put it in the vault. So there were some things that went in the vault that was like a pass [to me]. But, again, I ain’t got nothing but respect for the man. I can’t do nothing but laud his business. He’s a sharp dude; he’s a sharp cat.

And those [Death Row days] were some of the funner times of my life too. ‘Cause, with them dudes I was – we was actin’ a ass. … Just doin’ whatever we wanted to do! [We were driving] big white Lexus’ on big 18, 19-inch wheels. That was big back then: 18’s. We was doin’ it! [Laughs] … One of the better times in my life, I don’t regret that.  

DX: Speaking of that era, I was just listening to all the leaked demo recordings from [2Pac’s] All Eyez on Me. And man, I can’t believe how much you polished up that album.   

DJ Quik: Yeah, man! I did it in two days. I put a spit shine on them records. When the tapes went up, I went right to work. I dialed them bitches in like Pop records. And you know what else? In the UAD stuff – I don’t know if you’re into Universal Audio, but if you go on their website they’re mentioning All Eyez on Me as far as the [SSL mixing board]. ‘Cause they just recreated the SSL plug-ins. And they did ‘em with SSL, so they’re licensed to UAD – Universal Audio Digital. And, they talk about a Guns N Roses record, they talk about another big record, and they put All Eyez on Me up there, and said that these were the records that defined the SSL sound. They said some big journalist word about 2Pac’s record that was just crazy. And they gave me a credit. They gave me a credit as David Blake. I was blown away.

DX: I just know “Skandalouz” wouldn’t be the classic it is without the talk box [you added to it].

DJ Quik: Yeah, I touched [that record]. I had my boy, Cornelius Mims, play bass on it. That was Daz [Dillinger]’s beat. Daz shot it to me and I really made it a record that they wouldn’t have to clear a sample with. I played Rhodes [electric piano] on there too. I was coming.

DX: How did it happen that you even came to be adding those extra synths to “Heaven Ain’t Hard 2 Find,” and basically remaking “Thug Passion” into the fully funked out track it became?

DJ Quik: It was because they gave me freedom in there. Suge [Knight] was like, “Do you.” I was like, “Okay. Put the tapes up. Get me an engineer that’ll run for me, patch wires for me, go back to the wall. Get me coffee and I’m good.” That’s what the engineers back then did for me. Some of ‘em really worked their asses off. But, some of ‘em were … subservient. It is what it is. He gave me a little power and let me rock out.  

[Second part of interview, conducted Friday, April 15, 2011]

DX: When we ended on Monday we were discussing the demo recordings for All Eyez on Me. I was just curious if ‘Pac knew it was you who basically made his album sound the way the public heard it?

DJ Quik: He was the one that helped compile the cassette demos so I could take ‘em home and listen to ‘em. I got ‘em maybe four days in advance [of the album deadline]. So, he helped compile it. And I guess there were some songs he even took off of there. So when I got it I took it home, listened to it. And I was warm at that point; I was already done with Safe and Sound, so I was still like – my engine was revving for production. So, I listened to it and then went to the studio and asked for the tapes. The engineers ran in there and got me the tapes out of the vault, and I started rockin’ out wit’ it. I was remixing those records and putting ‘em on tape. Like, mixing ‘em and dropping ‘em down to transfer in less than two hours. That’s the fastest I ever worked. I did 14 songs in like two days.

DX: And I just gotta ask, why was your Donald Byrd-sampling classic creation, “Late Night,” cut from All Eyez on Me?

DJ Quik: It wasn’t cut; we couldn’t clear the sample at that time. But it woulda made it. It’s just Donald Byrd is … let’s just say he’s not too keen on clearing Hip Hop samples. I don’t think he really cares about the genre. And I guess he made enough money to where a 10 million record seller was – I’ma say Donald Byrd might have been a dumb ass … ‘cause he let that slip through his fingers.

DX: “Heartz Of Men” and “Late Night,” were those the only songs you and ‘Pac did?

DJ Quik: No, we did a couple others: “Message 2 My Unborn” and this other one I don’t remember the name of it. But yeah, we were trying to mash it out, but he got really busy at that point. All Eyez on Me came out and soared to the top of the charts and rocked out.

DX: It’s hard to believe in a couple months ‘Pac would’ve been turning 40. He would’ve been like the Governor of California by now or something.

DJ Quik: You think?

DX: I think he was going in that direction, maybe eventually.

DJ Quik: Yeah, I think he woulda been something way more important than a rapper. ‘Cause he was so political. He had so much going on, and sometimes he would be conflicted because he was trying to save the hood and the world as well. That’s too big. That’s too big for people.

DX: I wanna go back to the Death Row era for just one more question -

DJ Quik: That’s cool. You can stay there, I don’t care.

DX: Well you made some amazing music during that time, stuff some people even forget about like “Crack ‘Em” for O.F.T.B., “Come When I Call” for Danny Boy, so many classic joints. But I’ve always been curious to know why David Blake’s name didn’t appear in the credits for [Tha Dogg Pound’s] Dogg Food or [Snoop Dogg’s] Tha Doggfather?

DJ Quik: Um … you know, sometimes Suge could be an asshole. Or maybe some of the engineers, ‘cause everybody thought they were gangsters over there, including the little white engineers.

DX: [Laughs]

DJ Quik: Yeah, it’s funny, isn’t it?

DX: Well, it’s not funny, but …

DJ Quik: Yeah, everybody thought they were gangsters. … But Daz and Kurupt know how much I helped them. But see, payback is a dog. Look how we made it right, me and Kurupt did an album together [BlaQKout] that was considered album of the year.

I’ll share this with you: I think I might be a little too advanced for Hip Hop. I think Hip Hop is such a small, minute genre when it comes to music. And it’s the only genre of music where there’s murder, mayhem, infighting, jealousy and hatred, and all that good stuff. That doesn’t happen in Country music, nor does it happen in R&B as well. [And], that was the normal thing [at Death Row]. You’d have to really be – Like Suge [would] say, “You had to make hits or get hit.” Dig that.

DX: Did you get to really work with Nate Dogg at all during that period?

DJ Quik: Yeah. He had this song called “These Days.” He gave me the tapes. Teddy Riley had did the beat for him. And we sat up in there together and he let me … you know, he let me remix it for him. I mixed it for him. I would do anything for Nate. Nate was just a easy guy [to work with].

DX: You worked with Nate a lot post-Death Row, maybe most notably on “Medley For A ‘V’” from Rhythm-Al-Ism. Was the Marine-turned-crooner always the stoic, serious guy he appeared to be to the public?

DJ Quik: It’s funny, I never even knew he was a Marine. But that might explain his stoicism. [He was] just a calm under pressure kinda dude. But, generally a nice guy. I never seen Nate excited; he wasn’t excitable.

DX: Any story maybe you haven’t told up to this point ….

DJ Quik: I’m gonna space them out, because I don’t wanna run out. I don’t wanna drain the treasure chest of Nate Dogg stories, anecdotes … He was a great dude though. I’m gonna miss just hearing him in the booth singing with the mic off. He had such a big voice. He was like a glee club leader. He was just a big voice. He moved the air around him. And he made people happy. … He made those records mean something. They woulda just been good beats without him. He gave ‘em character, and gave ‘em that gluey sing-song hook that no one could forget – anybody [of] any race, any walk of life.

DX: This may be a bad segue, but I’m glad you and [MC] Eiht got to make peace before either one of you leaves the earth.

DJ Quik: Before we’re dead. Yeah, that’s a reality. Believe me, I think about it everyday. Well not everyday, but I think about it from time to time when I need to be grateful.

DX: “I even smoked with MC Eiht / Yeah, ain’t life great?”

DJ Quik: That’s right! I said that, right?

DX: Yeah, on … Down’s song, [“Certified Boss”]. And I saw that picture of you and Eiht like toasting, with the glasses raised. It’s a dope flick, but it’s still surreal for anybody who remembers -

DJ Quik: Remembers that beef. You know, I been helping those guys. I’m actually getting in the studio with him soon.

DX: It’s been a dozen years now since you first extended that olive branch on [the album version of] “You’z A Ganxta.” Did you get any immediate feedback from [Eiht] …?

DJ Quik: Yeah, we went into the studio immediately thereafter. [Writer’s note: Quik has been in a bank up until this point in the second part of his interview. He then gets into his car and begins speaking in a more natural volume from the somewhat softer tone he was speaking with while in the bank].

DX: Well, I just wanna close out by noting Eiht has an album about to come out with DJ Premier.

DJ Quik: Who better though? Like, if you think about it, MC Eiht could’ve easily been from another coast. When you listen to his records, if it wasn’t for some of just the familiar soulful samples, and his drawl, you wouldn’t know where he was from. And that was the beautiful thing back then; the autonomy [that artists had] was crazy! Like, I didn’t sound like I was from Compton. When I listen back, I sound like I was a country kid that got transplanted to Compton.

DX: I just think Eiht doing an album each with the #1 and #2 Hip Hop producers of all time would be … that’d be a good look.

DJ Quik: Yeah, it would. I don’t think we’d do it for the money anymore, because let’s just be honest about Hip Hop … It’s sad to see what happened with our shit. But, it wasn’t like nobody saw it coming. I think everybody felt like the shit was getting self-destructive when 2Pac started going on his rants, and nobody stopped that shit. Like when he really started to take it to [Notorious B.I.G.], doing video parodies, it was okay but it really divided the nation. It divided the nation, and it had a bad affect on all of us. At that point I wasn’t just DJ Quik from Compton, a great musician, deejay, good producer or whatever; I became DJ Quik from the west coast. Because of that war it was like you had to pick a side. And here I am, I kinda was reluctantly thrust into some shit that I couldn’t separate myself from. It was like … It was just weird. And we all knew it was downhill from there, because certain places we couldn’t go. The media was all over that shit. I remember how the VIBE magazine and The Source and all the Hip Hop monthlies was going so hard on that shit. This is the funny thing: I don’t recall ever seeing anything about those Hip Hop wars in Newsweek or in People magazine …. You never saw any of that shit in The Wall Street Journal until after those guys got killed. And I think honestly, they got killed because of propaganda. All that shit was being put up and posted up so high. Like, we were pitted against each other so bad that ultimately something strange had to happen. It was inevitable. It’s like, you ever pumped too much air into a balloon? And you start getting squeamish after it gets a little too big, you start anticipating the pop. That’s what happened to Hip Hop. And then it got taken over by the suits. So, what does that do to a guy like me? Well, it makes me either go independent or … pretty much retire. Because, at this point I’m a part of – fuck my legendary status, fuck how many records I’ve sold, at this point now I’m a west coast artist. … [And] at that point it was like, “Yeah, we off of west coast Hip Hop.” Everybody, like a school of fish …. And we’re talking about my livelihood. … To me it all seemed like what I learned from selling crack back in 1985: easy come, easy go. But just the fact that you can annihilate somebody’s way of living like that; that you can affect somebody’s quality of life with just opinion, is crazy. It had nothing to do with the music at that point, it was because we were from this coast. I wish that it wouldn’t have happened, I wish everything woulda been cool, and I wish that Hip Hop would’ve went to where we were taking it to: a multibillion dollar industry. Yeah, it made a couple of billion, but at what cost? Look how many bodies is buried underneath the establishment of Hip Hop.

DX: Let’s end on something less heavy. Um … do you still got your Pimpin -

DJ Quik: [Interrupts] Nah, that’s actually very light, believe it or not. Now if you wanna talk about me and my Illuminati affiliation we can talk.

DX: [Laughs] Don’t bring [the Illuminati] up. That’ll be all over the ‘Net for the next month.

DJ Quik: You wanna talk about these niggas I shot in Compton and killed them, and never got busted for it?

DX: Ugh.

DJ Quik: That was heavy, ain’t it?

DX: That’s too heavy.

DJ Quik: That’s a turnoff, ain’t it? That was filibuster. No, I’m just playing. I’m joking. I ain’t killed nobody that didn’t deserve it. Let’s move on.

DX: Do you still got your Pimpin’ Hoes Daily degree from Bitch College? [Laughs]

DJ Quik: Yeah, P.H.D. Well, you know, actually, I got daughters now, so I’m just trying to keep them from being pimped. And, I’m trying to also keep them from being pimps. Life is good when you’re not beating up on people. Life is good when you’re not poisoning people’s minds.

DX: Well this new album is refreshing.

DJ Quik: This album is the shit. I ain’t even gon’ front wit’chu. Honestly, I don’t even know why I did it. People ask me, “So, why did you feel the need to do an album all of the sudden; just woke up one day and said let’s do an album?” No. I thought, I’m sitting up here just sleeping on my record company. I got a record company, [Mad Science], and I can’t sit up and wait for Dr. Dre to put out a record, I can’t sit up and wait for things to get back good. I realized that I had to be proactive. … I’m about to start doing other things too. Like, it’s about to get real. I’m loving this artist direct thing. And being in control, and being stable, and unmovable right now is kinda great. I could really be effective. I’ll have another four years effective, in whatever genre I wanna go into.

DX: Let’s end on that note. I don’t wanna keep you any longer, man. I already took too much of your time.

DJ Quik: It’s alright, man. Honestly, you’re cool. It’s not even you. I went to a radio station this morning, and it was just some funny energy up there. We ended on a high note last night, and we were all singing Donny Hathaway songs, and my piano player playing, and we drinking Grey Goose, everything’s cool. Get up in the morning [today] and go to the radio station, and dudes is up there grumpy, talking about things that don’t have nothing to do with my album. And trying to teach me how to be a radio personality. Like, “Do your drops like this. More character. Put some more enthusiasm in it.” It’s like, “Really?” You guys are so young and so stupid.

DX: I can’t believe radio survived. Like, I really thought 10 years ago [that the Internet would eventually kill it].

DJ Quik: I once cried because our radio in Los Angeles suffered so much. I wanna say it was like 2004, 2005, 2006 when I really realized that we have no radio identity in Los Angeles.

[The whole industry became] Hip Hop under new management. And honestly, it was supposed to happen. Evidently, because it did. Unfortunately, the ones that really love doing music like me and … a couple other people I can name, we suffered the emotional backlash for that shit. ‘Cause, I’m creative, and it takes a lot of emotion to do hot records. You gotta feel the shit. You can’t just be doing shit from no motivation. So, the fact that people like me got hurt …. I saw some of people’s comments about me in the press, and there was this one magazine - I don’t remember [its name]; they went out of business …. They were hot too for a minute. They were talking about gear and artists.

DX: You talking about Scratch?

DJ Quik: Scratch magazine. After I did interviews for ‘em, chopped it up wit’ ‘em, kicked it, brought ‘em to my studio – when I was working at Warner Brothers; when I had a chair at Warner Brothers you might as well say – these dudes went behind my back and put out an article the next week talking about, DJ Quik, he’s a good artist, but he’s never gonna be paid, he’s never gonna have the money that the Dre’s have and all these people have. And I guess they was telling it – you know, calling it as they see it. But it was almost like I’m like a non-factor. I was like, “You know what? They’re entitled to that [opinion].” And whatever I’m doing right now they must be thinking that that’s where I’m coming from and that it’s easy to diss me like that. [But], I took that. And then a couple of years later I read that I got the homosexual Hip Hop quote in Ozone, for telling MC Eiht [on “Dollaz and Sense”] “I never had my dick sucked by a man before / You gonna be the first you little trick-ass whore / You can tell me just how it taste, but before I nut I shoot some piss in your face / You fuckin’ coward.” In other words, I was saying that no man will ever suck my dick. But I think that because Atlanta is now the homosexual capitol of black America, I felt they felt the need to expose that and say that shit and bring it up. And I’ve done no homophobic lyrics after that, but they dropped that shit on me during an interview. And I looked at it and read the shit, and instead of getting emotional – ‘Cause I know you guys are entitled to your opinions. We used to actually put people – we used to not take so kindly to disrespect. But I realized at that point, not only am I not getting my gold and platinum records like I used to for the money and the time that I put into the music, but now I’m getting ridiculed on another level. And I guess that’s the backlash of helping to grow a business that’s so popular. America, they love you for a minute, and then they tear you down. That’s how it works. They build you up to tear you down. That’s why there are no buildings that have stood in America for 300 years. Do you understand what I’m saying to you?

DX: Yeah, I understand completely. I think it’s generational somewhat too – not to make excuses. But, if you were born past a certain point it’s kind of like you have no reference point to even understand why DJ Quik is so important to the history of Hip Hop.

DJ Quik: Right. And, it would be fortunate had Wikipedia really compiled my information and my career correctly. These muthafuckas start my whole little biography by [not printing my correct middle name, Marvin]. They call me “David Martin Blake.” That’s automatically – it’s a wrap there. [And they go on to write], His career started off wonderfully and waned over the years, and he became a non-factor. But, he did these hits with Janet [Jackson] and Jay-Z! It’s like, hey guys, let’s just not say that. Why don’t you just make my shit blank? I’d rather you say nothing about me than to say a whole lot of untruths.
Who wants to filter read anything? Honestly, who wants to take shit with a grain of salt? Who wants to fill in the blanks? Or, who wants to correct the misnomers? This is bullshit. I appreciate where you was coming from though earlier in the week when you brought up the Dr. Dre and the Roger Troutman thing. To be dead honest wit’chu, I did a lot of important things that I didn’t even care to get credit for.

Man, I was such a philanthropist I probably gave away $250,000 to the city of Compton, my guy. And who will ever say that? I got the key to the city of Compton when I was 29-years-old. They didn’t give me that for my music. That music was violent. They gave me that because of how I was going back into them schools and raising money for them schools.

Pardon me for being grumpy. I’m just really disappointed that some people are just so uncouth. You would think that after all of these years, and all of the examples that have been set, that people [wouldn’t] still push your buttons to the point to where you would wanna drag ‘em out in the hallway and stomp their fuckin’ teeth down their throat with your security guard.

Well, all is well, man. I just need to go hit a fat blunt, and stop thinking about the ghost of Hip Hop past. ‘Cause unfortunately, this business right here is not what I signed up for.                 

Purchase Music by DJ Quik


  • pimpster


  • Just_Joi

    As a DJ Quik fanatic, this is the best interview ever. I had no idea that he had a hand in so many projects in hip hop. I respect Dre; however, I love Quik's style...his voice. I had no idea...floored. Hey, but is it true that he levitated on stage at Krush Groove at the Forum? What's up with that? Should I be worried about another artist being a satanist?

  • phxrealaz

    Dj Quik your daughter was just arrested this week for beating to death her 2 year old in Arizona. "Davianna Blake" I guess she didn't get a copy of your interview. nice parenting there buddy! my favorite is this "DJ Quik: Yeah, P.H.D. Well, you know, actually, I got daughters now, so Im just trying to keep them from being pimped. And, Im trying to also keep them from being pimps. Life is good when youre not beating up on people. Life is good when youre not poisoning peoples minds."

    • Shaun

      Yeah because his daughter is still a baby that he's trying to raise. That's a grown ass woman that made that decision on her own. You are retarded whoever you are and I hope my comment hurts your feelings. Cuz this is the dumb shit I read everyday on the internet in all subjects and articles, just stupidity

  • kiofnc

    Quik is the truth..easily makes my top 5 of GOATs of all time. He evolved into a complete musician and DOPE engineer over the years. I study his work how physicist study Einstein!

  • Truth Speaks.

    Quik is a genious. Big props for him being true to his craft and honest to his supporters.

  • buffalo sway

    Quik is my biggest inspiration in music.

  • roubensrpatrick

    Grigsby connections hiphop reflections peace treaty backwood ah Texas.1love mc Diligent parlyzen tha game Diligent killin it!!!preachers nephew!!!

  • grownmanbiz

    that MC Eiht and Quik pic is nice gyeeeah

  • ssssssssssssss

    what is crazy about djquiks discography is that his personal situations have always been played out on his albums..look it up.from crackheads stealing his producing equipment to his beef with friends and family through the years..the trauma album is that deep not a true hiphop head is you do not have all of Quiks albums..not burned..album art and everything.BLAQKOUT!

  • G($)

    Damn, Donald Byrd is a DUMBASS!

  • milhousevanhalen

    one thing I noticed was that they didnt talk about the Quik and Nate Dogg track, "what they think (about you)"

    • sssssssssssssss

      they been talked about that in a previous interview...go play some electronica/house/hiphop you faggot

  • Mack

    Great Interview. Just copped that Book of David Album Flow and beats is rejuvenated for real Quick, sonically sound, drums patterns is nuts. Give it a listen....oh oh and I bought my shit....Support the music if its good.

  • Onrea

    Quik is my fav artist producer of all time hands down. The book of david is classic quik. I hope everybody thats givin him props actually goes out and BUYS the record. Support real MUSIC.

  • Rick

    good read man! Man i remember i was in 10th grade when "Tonite" came out and that was the fuckin' track back then...That bass line was fucking ridiculous!!!!!!!!


    Great article...That was some real shit

  • Anonymous

    DJ Quik: Unsung hero in Hip-Hop

  • Kashif Ilyas

    I really liked reading the article. It was really informative and interesting.

  • Anonymous

    buy that album man..

  • B. Emerson 909

    Now that is what you call an interview.. DJ Quik...LEGEND!

  • Ace.^

    you know its a good read when there are no negative comments good shit

  • OnemikE

    u can tell Quik a real G - cant say that 4 majority of yo favorite rappers kids!

  • Steve Rio

    This is the best piece I've read in HHDX in a long time.. you guys been slipping in to the soap opera category recently.. but this was such a well done interview. congrats to the Paul Arnold for keeping it real and knowing his rap. And big up Quik for being one of the pioneer OGs of the west coast sound.

  • t$$$

    Dj Quik is definitely one of the best,not just on the west.he is very passionate about music.i remember when i first heard born and raised,it brought a smile to my face to see him and MC Eiht on the pic.I was more so rollin with Eiht back then,but always liked Qik,he got him on dollaz and sense tho!!!!!!Quik work ethic and resume speaks for it self,i mean Tony Tone Toni,Eldebarge,Roger Troutman,I mean Legends!!!When i see Paul W Arnold i Know its about to be a bomb ass interview,job well done fellas

  • Number1g

    Great interview. DJ Quik is one of the greats producers of all times that song Tonight was the shit that song was before its time plus he had a lot of hits before the Deathrow days Quik,2nd2none,AMG and Hi C was the first Snoop and Tha Dogg Pound this was all before the g funk era if you know your hip hop history Quik is the man!

  • Miles Noe

    Great interview, Quik is one of my top 2 producers ever! No one bridges the gap of producer/artist better than Quik, props to the interviewer and props to Quik! The new album is everything I hoped for and more! Quik needs to tear down the walls of Hip Hop and rebuild it, cnat think of a better architect!

  • Anonymous

    What quick had to learn the hard way, most niggas of my generation don't understand. THIS MUSIC INDUSTRY IS FUCKED UP.

  • Max-El Saffold

    Paul Arnold is the truth. Great job.

    • Gemstar

      @ EddieMurphy - Is there anything else you want to add or should we just take your homophobic talk as a deflection away from your own "secret?"

    • EddieMurrrphy

      what a gay loser. why you sucking off some faggot named paul, who gets all shook when quik raises his voice on the phone? "lets end the conversation on that note please" lol

  • Modeblaz

    This is Hip-Hop journalism. My respect for DJ Quik just went to another level. The interviewer did a banging job of just letting DJ Quik flow and tell the story. Checking out these clips, I never knew Quik had that kind of large sound.

  • Jon

    Props to interviewer as well. He knows Quik's history.

  • eazystr33t

    Quik is a genius who is underrated, youngins pay homage!!!!

  • JacksonC

    Damn beautiful Interview! Yet, Quik remains so underrated, I hope this interview puts more people on him.

  • Anonymous

    DJ Quick is an all rounder which is why people might be mistaken for thinking his R&B work was the best thing he had to offer. Regardless of the blind statements he previously made about producers using daw's, hes a pioneer of the west coast hip hop scene along with Dr Dre and the likes.

  • Anonymous

    $WonDough$ is going against all odds

  • Carl "Maximus" Holmes

    perfect article!!! Quik is one of my favorite producers, this should be read by every music lover. Good job DX!!

  • buckeyewu

    Quik is a GOAT! HE is still one of the best producers to ever touch a mic. RZA, Diamond D, Erick Sermon, Large Pro, and Pete Rock are the only producers that compare when it comes to a producer that has rap skills.

  • rodney

    I had no intention/care about Book of David. This interview is going to make me grab it up before Sunday.

  • Terrell OG

    Quik had his moments in the 90s but I always felt his beats were almost R&B like instead of hip-hop. (like a west coast version of Kanye) He should stick to producing Chris Brown and Ray-J and leave the real hip-hop to producers that go hard like Dr Dre, Alchemist and Lex Luger.


      If it wasnt for R&B, there would be no Hip Hop?Rap... (ie, all the samples rappers have used...including DRE)

    • Miles Noe

      Thats what has always made Quik who he is...flutes El Debarge, 2nd II None, etc! Hes always been on the r&B tip, and just because he doesnt drop hard ass beats doesnt mean he should only produce R&B. Thats crazy talk!

    • Born Winner

      Your a lost little boy. But I agree he is more R&B. But u still a bitch for mentioning LexLugar. He dont spit! And Dre is old and wack now FACT!

  • Beez

    This was a fantastic read, and to really captures how seriously Quik takes his music. His sound transcends time, and I think the fact that is indeed a DJ has a lot to do with that. He stays in tune with what people are listening to presently, and understands how to craft his production around that without sacrificing trying to sound like the next person. If he considers Dre to be one of the top 3 producers in the world, he could very easily be either 1 or 2. I have been anxious to hear some new Quik for awhile now, and he certainly didn't disappoint with the Book Of David. If he went in themeing this album as Rhythmalism 2, he certainly succeeded in that regard. This album is solid all the way through, and I am really looking forward to what he decides to deliver next. It would be interesting to see what he would come up with if he went in with a Safe + Sound 2 frame of mind. Last, I think he was spot on about his comments about Pac, and the media essentially dividing a genre.

  • Enlightened

    Real interview. Quik, you still the nigga. I appreciate all the music from all the years. And Trauma was the shit! You saying you were in New York explains it. Like the interviewer said, it wasn't traditional Quik, but it was some harder edge, lyrical hip-hop shit. I felt that. Lastly, bring us some Sexy Leroy and The Chocolate Love-Lites shit back lol

  • insanemacbeth

    very, VERY big read...and DJ. QUIK's alwayz been a don. loved the part of the interview about the S.S.L.'s, and the U.A.D. cards.

  • DP tha groundhogg

    keep doing your thang quik...i look at quik like dre, premier, empd, he was a pioneer. he was and STILL is a strong factor in hip hop to me.....the point where a real factor from the streets came in, sold records, changed lives...they dont give quik the credit cause he aint putting out bubble gum bullsh*t......I'm gone buy this book of david album, cause i know ima get some solid material....

  • I

    Oh phuck scratch magazine! In the toilets I told ya!!!

  • Christian

    While I am aware of who DJ quik is, and I am also aware of how legendary he is as an artitst and a producer, I now know that I need to get up on more of Quik's music. I love his sound, you know a Quik record when it comes on. But alot of these tracks that are mentioned in the story I am unfamiliar with. Time to get on with some discovery! Thanks Quik for your contributions to music.

    • JD

      Ud be surprised how much of Quik u dont know... Try Shaq for instance... Truth Hurts... 8Ball and MJG, Do Or Die, everybody i tell ya!!

  • Chris Thomas

    Preach!! This is the perfect interview.

  • ATLtru

    Good muthafuckin article! Quik always seems to never hold back in interviews. It's a shame there's not more artists like him in the game. I also like it when Quik's rockin the talkbox and he's got the flutes on the tracks. Rhythm-al-ism is dope as fuck, great to listen to and get high with some bitches. I've heard The Book Of David and I gotta go get myself a copy now. Downloading is really hurting these record sales, case in point: Raekwon's new album, and I know Quik's album is all over the net. I always wondered what a Quik and Above The Law collab would sound like. Quik you gotta make that happen homie, throw Eiht in the mix too and it's a wrap.

  • I

    Quick is one of the illest producers PERIOD! No one makes quality music like him. Not even dre! His sound is still in his music over all these years. Just heard the joint with Ice Cube. Classic quick! He don't follow no one! Keep doin u Quik dont nobody have a presence like you!