Gangsta rapper DJ Quik is moving from bitches and hos to crescendos and allegros.
The man behind songs like "Sweet Black Pu---" and "Born and Raised in Compton" is conducting an orchestra for the score of the upcoming Chris Rock comedy "Head of State."
"It's another avenue for me and I love it," Quik said Monday. "[It's] strings and brass and orchestration mixed with hip-hop. And the main vignette in the movie I did with Nate Dogg doing the singing."
Aside from scoring the movie, due in theaters March 28, DJ Quik will contribute at least one song to the soundtrack. In "Head of State," which marks Rock's directorial debut, the comedian plays a Washington, D.C., alderman unexpectedly selected by the Democratic Party as its presidential candidate.
As for Quik, in what little time he's had outside of the film ("transcription of all the pieces takes most of my time"), he's produced tracks for new albums by Talib Kweli, Beanie Sigel and Nate Dogg.
The latter song, titled "Get Up" and featuring Eve, will be the first single from Nate's latest star-studded, self-titled release (see "Snoop, Eve, Xzibit To Appear On Next Nate Dogg LP").
"It's Parliament-Funkish, but without sampling," Quik said of the track. "After hanging with George Clinton, I get it. I know how to produce these records and make them sound authentic. He showed me some things."
DJ Quik has also been in the studio with a few artists from his Bungalo Records label, including Butch Cassidy, Suga Free and newcomer Amir, a soulful 26-year-old rapper of Persian descent.
"I was in a studio with Butch, and Amir was in another session and he opened up the possibility of doing some production," Quik explained. "So we talked a little bit and he was hungry, and I listened to his projects and it was another kind of music for me, the whole Persian and Arabic thing."
After working with Amir, Quik said he began studying music from other cultures, which eventually lead to him discovering the sample for Truth Hurts' "Addictive," which he co-produced with Dr. Dre (see "Dr. Dre, Interscope Stung With $500 Million Lawsuit Over 'Addictive' ").
DJ Quik expects Amir to draw comparisons to Eminem because of his skin color, but he promised the rapper has his own unique style.
Like Slim Shady, though, Amir is both personal and controversial with his lyrics. Songs on his debut, Images of My Mind, due early next year, include "Bombs Over Saddam," "What's My Life Worth" and "Bloody Murder."
Quik is particularly fond of the Erick Sermon-produced "My Life Is Done." "It's like his autobiography, how he was getting into trouble and what he used to do to get his kicks, like sniffing gas out of go-karts."
After Amir's album is released, Bungalo Records will focus on Suga Free's follow-up to Street Gospel (1997).
"[It's] Richard Pryor's lyrics over some Dr. Dre-type production," Quik said of the rapper's new material. "It's real interesting. It's comedy, but really street, really vulgar, on the pimp thing. He's a real rhythmic dude. He can beat on the table and rap at the same time without missing a beat. That takes a lot of talent."