Compton, California’s veteran DJ Quik may say he doesn’t need love on “Fire and Brimstone,” the leadoff cut from his latest album, The Book of David, but he’s certainly garnered much of it through the years. “Critics want to slam me,” he says with conviction, not admitting that he’s actually a critically acclaimed producer/emcee and one who has kept this reputation through the highs and lows of a 20-year career. Two decades in, Quik is still a maestro on the boards. Sadly, however, this album does not live up to the anticipation that has been built up since his last release, 2005’s Trauma.
For years, Quik has been known for crafting heavy head-nodders and crisp cuts that become instant hits. While this album doesn’t showcase a track that stands out like past singles, it’s as clean as it usually is with DJ Quik creations. From the drums on “Fire and Brimstone,” to the keys on “Killer Dope” and “Hydromatic,” Quik maintains his position as a leading producer in Hip Hop, specifically one of the most renowned producers this genre has seen on the Pacific coast. He keeps this going on the “Paul Revere” inspired “Poppin’”. With “So Compton”, and “The End,” Quik also shows that he is still capable of creating that laidback sound, typical of Cali-centered tracks of the ’90s. All of this gives the album life, something that will always be present when Quik’s involved with the boards.
Still, there are some who will be dismayed by some aspects of the album. While it was touted as a personal record, The Book of David seems to ignore personal issues for the most part. Although there are some glimpses of Quik’s personal strife and battles, it is clear that the album wasn’t written solely about hardship and what was actually written can instead sometimes become trite. For example, he rhymes, “I may never dance to ballet in the ballet, but you just might see me two-step in the Valley,” on “Boogie ‘til You Conk Out.” “Boogie,” is another moment of disappointment. The cut features Ice Cube, but does little to live up to lofty expectations of a Quik/Cube collaboration twenty years in the making. Other collaborations drown the album out as if it belonged to DJ Khaled, not the great DJ Quik.
They say we never stop learning, and after 20 years in the music world, it seems Quik continues to evolve and change his musical tastes and abilities. This album shows glances at a musician who simply does not age in a youth driven culture, a feat that few have been able to claim. The Book of David isn’t Quik’s finest effort; an album reportedly done in quick fashion, doesn’t truly live up to Quik standards. However, it still holds its own in the current field.