Until 1998, rapper DJ Quik endured a succession of traumas that hindered his recording
activity. Quik had a physical burnout in 1995; he briefly was affiliated with the ill-fated
Death Row Records at a time when it suffered through a number of high-profile
defections and the jailing of its CEO, "Suge" Knight.
Most tragically, Quik's personal assistant was shot to death by one of the DJ's nephews.
But Quik bounced back late last year on his fourth LP, Rhythm-Al-Ism, his first
record in three years, and one which dealt more with feeling good than with the
gangsta-rap death imagery of his past efforts.
DJ Quik was born David Blake 29 years ago today. Quik was raised in Compton, in East
Los Angeles, where he was a gang member. Though he left the gang life to be a
recording artist, Quik's music always has reflected his background.
At the age of 20, Quik cut his debut LP, Quik Is The Name (1991). Quik's debut
and the following year's Way 2 Fonky both achieved gold-record status and
established him as an important new hip-hop artist.
Quik then signed with Death Row and released the acclaimed,
Parliament-Funkadelic-influenced Safe + Sound, but he was soon caught up in
the label's chaotic environment.
Quik's musical mood is decidedly more upbeat on Rhythm-Al-Ism, released on
"I had a bunch of tragedies and a lot of personal stuff that really dampened my spirits,"
Quik said last year when the album was released. "I changed energy, thank God, and
made it through all that stuff."
Though Quik's lyrics are still explicit, his themes are lighter on tracks such as "Thinking
About U" and "Medley for a V(The Pussy Medley)"
The album sports big-name guest stars, such as El DeBarge, Nate Dogg, Snoop Dogg
and Peter Gunz. In addition to appearing on "Medley for a V," a song packed with music
celebrities, El DeBarge is featured on "Hand In Hand" and "El's Interlude."
Also in 1998, DJ Quik was featured in a documentary about urban life, "Straight from the
Streets," along with Snoop Dogg, Ice-T, Louis Farrakhan and other notables.
"There's a fine line between artistry and vanity," Quik said, "and I don't know when I'm
crossing it. I'm just a big dummy. I just happen to be in tune with some big power that
allows me to make some great music."
Other birthdays: Bobby Goldsboro, 58; Tom Bailey (Thompson Twins, Babble), 43; Bob
Rosenberg (Will to Power), 40; and David Ruffin (Temptations), 1941-1991.