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June is Black Music Month and WERS at Night will recognize black musicians, composers, singers, and songwriters who have made enormous contributions to the music industry. Today, June 12th, 889@Night is highlighting DJ Quik.
One of the premiere West coast hip-hop artists of the 90s, DJ Quik has secured his place as one of the godfathers of today’s music industry. Born David Marvin Blake of Compton, CA, Quik had a love for music from a young age. His mother raised him on an extensive record collection, whose influence showed itself in the samples he used later in his career to construct songs. He also is credited for bringing the use of the talk box, a voice-transforming device similar to Autotune, to hip-hop. At the age of fourteen, he bought his first turn table and began making mixtapes and DJing around Southern California. He built a name for himself on street buzz throughout the late 1980s, generating attention from several record labels. By 1990, he had signed to Prolific Records as their most expensive signee, receiving their first ever six figure check. In 1991 he released his debut album, Quik Is the Name, which went platinum. Although none of his subsequent albums were as successful, they were continuously well received by critics and listeners. Quik Is the Name produced four singles (“Born And Raised In Compton”, “Quik Is The Name”, Tonite”, and “Sweet Black Pussy”), and has been noted as one of the best rap albums of all time. He went on to produce three more gold-certified albums in the 90s, Way 2 Fonky (1992), Safe + Sound (1995), and Rhythm-al-ism (1998).
In 2000, Quik released Balance & Options, whose lack of commercial success led to him being dropped from his record label. He released Under Tha Influence two years later on an independent label, and later founded his own, Mad Science Recordings. It was under this new platform that he released his next three albums, Trauma (2005), BlaQKout (2009) and Book of David (2011).
Besides releasing eight full-length studio albums, DJ Quik has made quite a name for himself as a producer. He began by producing Quik Is the Name in 1991 and shared a credit on each of his following albums, as well as several artists associated with West Coast recording giant Death Row Records. That year alone, he also produced the debut album for 2nd II None, as well as tracks for Hi-C and AMG. After meeting with the label head of Death Row, Suge Knight, for his album Safe + Sound, he was enlisted to produce tracks on Above The Rim soundtrack, Snoop Doggy Dogg’s Murder Was The Case, 2Pac’s All Eyez On Me, Until the End of Time, Better Dayz, and It’s About Time. He also produced on the albums Dogg Food and Tha Doggfather, but as with most of his production work, went uncredited. In 1997, Quik discovered rapper Suga Free and produced his debut album, as well as tracks on Gap Band’s Y2K: Funkin’ Till 2000 Comz album, Snoop Dogg’s No Limit Top Dogg, Suge Knight Represents: Chronic 2000, and Deep Blue Sea (soundtrack). Shortly following being dropped from his label, Suge Knight invited him to become the in-house producer for Death Row Records, shortly before his brief retirement. He returned to the rap game in 2003, and produced for The Black Album for Jay-Z, 50 Cent’s “In Da Club”, and Ludacris’s album The Red Light District. He has also produced four songs on Dr. Dre’s Detox with Snoop Dogg, Battlecat, and The D.O.C. He has also notable produced for Penthouse Player’s Circle, Tony! Toni! Tone!, Jermaine Dupri, Will Smith, The Game, Xzibit, E-40, Chingy, Shaquille O’Neal, Whitney Houston, Erick Sermon, 8Ball & MJG, and Janet Jackson.
DJ Quik was played a large role in hip-hop from his start in the 1980s up until today. He was able to popularize the use of old time sound devices such as the talk box and sampled new kinds of sounds to be mixed into hip-hop records. His production works from the early 90s onward have given him a hand in shaping the sound of hip-hop over the years. He has not only stayed true to his West Coast roots, but has collaborated with artists from both coasts, as well as from an array of genres. DJ Quik puts artistry and work into each of his recordings, working closely with engineers and sound technicians. He is very dedicated to producing a superior musical product as he has stated in several interviews. DJ Quik is a force in hip-hop who should be noted and honored in shaping the sound of urban music today.