DJ Quik Tells All: The Stories Behind his Classic Records

Truth Hurts f. Rakim "Addictive" (2002)

Producer: DJ Quik
Album: Truthfully Speaking
Label: Aftermath/Interscope

DJ Quik: “That ranks as top three best recording sessions I'd ever experienced in my life. Just the professionalism of Aftermath. A super-revered label, but just Dre as a music person, what he sets forth. How he rolled the carpet out for me, if you will.

"It was ironic that I demoed that record on MC Lyte first. I knew it was a hit, but I knew I didn't have anybody in my stable caliber to be able to blow that record. Lyte came over, she demoed it. It was cool, she nailed it. Lyte is a superstar.

"Then my sister Shari came over, she heard the track and she just started flowing to it, started singing. Where Lyte was rapping. And I figured that's what this record is for, it's a song, not a rap record.

"It was her birthday, and I was like, 'You know what? I know MC Lyte is going to hate me for this, but here, this is yours.' She was like, 'Are you serious Quik?' I'm like, 'Yeah, do your thing Shari. Congratulations.'

“She took it to Dre. Dre called, he was like, 'Yo. I like that beat you did. I want y'all to go in the studio.' So he put me in Larabee North. I sampled it off of ZTV, which was an Indian-based free cable channel that we got. I didn't understand it; I just knew it was hot. I took the breakbeat from 'Do It (Til You're Satisfied),' which everybody has tried to sample but can never get that clean.

"So I did this trick that I have that I invented called interior dynamics, some shit that I made up—Patent Pending. But I cleaned the fucking break up and layered that Indian girl over it and blew my own mind. That record still to this day makes me feel the same exact way. I recorded it old-fashioned on tape. I want to say it was 499 Ampex.

"Rolled the reels off, took that shit to Dr. Dre, and left. Dr. Dre called me about four, five days later. Says 'I want you to come check the shit out.' I went up in the studio, and before I knew it, he had Rakim rap on it and Static Major wrote the lyrics. The song was done.

"When he turned it on in the studio—I can always tell a hit record if I get the chill bumps, the goose pimples. As soon as that shit came on and her voice hit, I got goose pimples, like, 'Oh boy.' Then when I heard Rakim rap it was like, 'Drink time.'

“I didn't know enough to clear the sample. Back then a lot of people in my circle didn't really know what was going on with me. I was doing that kind of music because I was grieving.

"I feel like I'm coming to the end of my life. It's been a long journey for me. I know my mortality. I just don't want—I already know what they call me: they call me eclectic, they call me eccentric, they call me enigmatic. I hate these words. I'm just a fucking peculiar producer. I'm just a little strange, I love it. I'm in my right state of mind, and I'm fly. I'm a unique, clean, fly kind of dude.

“I said all that to say, I was grieving real hard when I was doing those records. I had just loss Mausberg and I lost Top Dog—my two favorite people. I did all that music to stay alive, because without it, I was drinking myself to death. I wasn't eating. I didn't know how to grieve. And I guess after seeing all that death and all that bullshit in my life, all that came to a head right then and there.

"It was like, 'Wow, I'm here for a reason and I'm going to keep doing this, but I've got to change something. I've got to fix this problem and learn how to stop grieving.' I was making bad decisions. I beat up my sister and went to prison. I'm too emotional and shit.

"But it's all in the music; it's all there. Every hi-hat. Wherever I place every hi-hat, that shit's not an accident. I'm DJ Quik, I'm a sound-maker more than a rapper. I am music. I do musical things just by chilling. I don't know how I got that adept and shit.

"I'm not trying to be arrogant or whatever. But that music is coming from somewhere. Without me it wouldn't exist. There would be no 'Addictive' if it wasn't for me. There would be no 'In Da Club,' 'Tonite,' 'Why U Bullshittin,' 'Let's Get Down,' and a lot of records where people just tried to sound like me. 'Addictive' is a record that saved my life, gave me something to smile about in the darkest moments of my life. ”

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