DJ Quik and Problem’s Rosecrans EP, released in 2016, was a welcomed teacher-meets-successor collaboration that brought Quik’s signature G-funk up to date. It benefitted from the remarkable chemistry shared by West Coast natives DJ Quik and Problem. The two continued the momentum of the EP with a full-length Rosecrans. The album keeps with the gangsta party sentiments of the EP which results in undeniably dope music.
Rosecrans’ greatest strength is its duality when it comes to headphone candy and party starters. Quik’s production is syrupy and drawn-out, but energetic enough to entertain. This is especially true on the opener, “European Vacation,” where slapping drums are complemented by cool, futuristic sounds. This is music to ride out to; several joints surpass four minutes and feature instrumental solos. “A New Nite/Rosecrans Groove” is nearly 10 minutes long and features elongated instrumentals fit for a joyride on a sunny CA day.
That’s not to say the production is the sole star of the show. Problem flows akin to pitbull off his leash — wild and dangerous, while Quik complements his partner-in-rhyme with smooth braggadocio. Similar to the production, the lyricism features compelling duality. “I’m just tryna spread love through these Compton streets/Hit DJ Quik need a Compton beat,” Problem raps on “A New Nite/Rosecrans Groove.” Later in the verse, he spits aggressive with, “Now a nigga think he gotta be mad at me/Keep it cool though you know my niggas blast happy. These contrasts are not only engaging but should succeed in helping DJ Quik and Problem reach a variety of audiences.
Some of the album’s greatest moments are neither ride-worthy nor fit for a party playlist. “You Are Everything” features impactful reflections about Problem’s drive to succeed in the face of adversity. In the same vein as fellow West Coast stars Kendrick Lamar and Game, DJ Quik and Problem bring the listener directly to the curbs of Rosecrans Avenue with their music. Nowhere is this more apparent than on “Central Ave,” featuring MC Eiht. On the brightest guest verse on the album, MC Eiht paints a vivid picture of life in Compton: “Used to ride the back of the bus like Rosa Parks/Down the mainline shouting hood remarks/’Where you from, homeboy, Compton on mine’/Get ‘em up one time, gafflin’ fine.” Bars such as these elevate Rosecrans from a standard gangsta party to an encapsulating view of Compton.
The only major hiccups arise when DJ Quik and Problem veer from their go-to recipe. While variation is certainly refreshing, trap-inspired cuts “Move Something” and “Take It Off One Time” are cookie-cutter club tunes that hamper the album’s momentum.
Most of the album’s standouts were already on the EP, but remain fresh in part because a full year stands between Rosecrans iterations. Full-length projects often supersede EPs in a fan’s memory, so it’s likely that in time people will associate tracks like “Straight to the City” more with the album than the EP. In any case, DJ Quik and Problem continued the West’s winning streak with a captivating album that is accessible while remaining true to Los Angeles.