DJ Quik

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

Profile Records.

"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)"

(RealAudio excerpt).

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.