Throughout the ’90s, DJ Quik and Kurupt [click to read] were soldiers of the same struggle. One from Compton and one from South Central, these neighborhood heroes expanded empires to become national stars through raunchy commentary, and belligerent bandana’d bars that forced both men to ruffle rapper feathers from coast to coast. Brief label-mates at Death Row in 1995 and 1996, David Blake and Young Gotti got minimal opportunity to really work together. Thirteen years pass and the collaborative trends of Hip Hop put these two Cali Hip Hop legends in the studio together, for a new period of space-aged Quik production, and verses that might not be as vicious, but a natural progression for men approaching their forties, with great music still in the bank.

Just as Quik‘s Fixxers stint with AMG and Interscope two summers ago, BlaQKout‘s leading inspiration is sex, lots of it. The men who made “Medley For A V” and “Ain’t No Fun” uphold their reputations for risqué rhymes. “Cream” uses the term more in a Prince-fashion than Prince Rakeem [click to read], as the rappers discuss their late-night activities without censorship. Although the rhymes are of the Akinyele and Luke [click to read] kind, it is Quik‘s production, that truly takes the F-stop verses and give them sexually melodic backdrops that make the message deeper than shock value. For the harder lyrics, “9 Times Outta 10” [click to view] is where it begins and ends. Over a beat, that feels like Quik‘s west coast interpretations of The Neptunes‘ [click to read] work on “Grindin’,” Kurupt displays a lyrical exercise that makes his signature repetitive deliveries seem all the more deliberated, and presented with brilliant syncopation. Lyrically, Kurupt is a lot more Smoke Odyssey [click to read] than Dogg Food, but his openness to go in the music’s direction is really what makes the project unique. Although it’s Young Gotti‘s role to be the rapper, Quik‘s less aggressive deliveries give the project a nice contrast, as Compton’s other super-producer reminds us how he cut his mainstream teeth as a rapper. 

Quik‘s role on Snoop Dogg‘s [click to read] Ego Trippin [click to read] hinted at his latest Funk tangent, affirmed in this work. BlaQKout sees Quik combine his periods with Tony! Toni! Tone! [click to read], The Fixxers and Snoop in a way that showcases his Moog abilities, as well as his ear for overall instrumentation. “Jupiter’s Critic & The Mind of Mars” is certifiably, the most out-there work that the Jay-Z [click to read], Murs [click to read] and 2Pac producer has ever released. But as Kanye West and Lil Wayne unveil their creativity, so has David Blake. Madlib-like vocal recording, Hyphy-drums and short-verses are anything but laid back. The concoction works, as the album prepares you for its artistic plateau. From Penthouse Players Clique to Under Tha Influence, Quik is one of the elite producers who gives every full project he’s ever done its distinct sound, and this is surely the most enhanced.

BlaQKout might be the most unpredictable Los Angeles mainstream Rap has sounded since The Black Eyed Peas [click to read] crossed over.  Although the lyrical substance is not nearly as cohesive as the music itself, Quik and Kurupt reveal that this album took more than a week to make, and that both men are evolving greatly as artists. Like Snoop‘s aforementioned album last year, it’s a harder transition to make, that may leave longtime listeners a bit challenged, not by the verses, but moreso the tempos and genre inspirations. As Hip Hop changes shape in 2009, Kurupt and Quik, two men raised in its golden glory, two men who flame-broiled beef in the ’90s, are also proving that they’re carrying the sound forward, with grace and style.