DJ Quik Tells All: The Stories Behind his Classic Records

DJ Quik "Born & Raised in Compton" (1991)

Producer: DJ Quik
Album: Quik Is The Name
Label: Profile

DJ Quik: “I got an SP1200 drum machine and a 4-track Tascam recorder, a little cassette recorder. I went from making mixtapes to getting a drum machine and producing my own songs. After about a year on the SP1200, going through different tape formulations. Just listening to the way frequencies in my voice respond to certain tapes, I figured I was in there.

"I've got a good formula that my people close to me like—because I didn't have a big fanbase, it was just me, Playa Hamm and Tweed Cadillac, who was my rap group homies. And this one other guy named Theron. He used to give me old records to sample, old James Brown and the JB's soul records. So I fell in love with that record my mom used to play, Isaac Hayes “Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic,” and I never forgot it.

 

I bought the N.W.A. Straight Outta Compton album and just scratched 'Born and Raised in Compton' because I felt entitled to use it. And Eazy E and them didn't have a problem with it; they never sued me.

 

"So when sampling became all the rage, even before Biz Markie got sued for it, we just sampled everything we could. And it wasn't even thinking about commercial success or nothing. We just sampled all the records that we liked. And that track in particular, it just made me feel like a god. Like on top of the world. It just sounded big. Even though it wasn't on the radio, even though I didn't have a record deal. It was just something about that track that moved me.

“So I went on ahead, and even though I'd already moved out of Compton by 1987—I was living in Los Angeles, South Central as they used to call it—I wrote it in 1988 and 1989, I was just depicting what I remembered from Compton. And at the same time I was watching N.W.A. blow up.

"So I bought the N.W.A. Straight Outta Compton album and just scratched 'Born and Raised in Compton' because I felt entitled to use it. And Eazy E and them didn't have a problem with it; they never sued me. Dr. Dre and Ren they never got on me about it. They actually liked the record.

“'Born and Raised in Compton,' it was cool to be able to vent because the reality was, when we moved out of my mom's house in Compton I had left some equipment there, and my records there, and I was trying to find a place to live. We were getting shuffled around. I was like 16, 17 years old.

"This motherfucker named Leroy—we used to call him Skillet, Barbecue, because he was so black and ugly. This motherfucker broke in my mama's house and stole my equipment. So when I go in there and see my equipment gone and our house had been ransacked—what kind of shit?! When you've got bars on the window, how do motherfuckers still get in your house and steal your shit?

"I had worked hard to buy that equipment. I worked odd jobs, I sold crack, weed. I did everything I could to get that equipment so I wouldn't have to keep doing that shit. And for this motherfucking ingrate, this motherfucking hoodlum, to break in my mom's house, to desecrate my home, step on my fucking records. It was the ultimate disrespect to me.

 

I worked odd jobs, I sold crack, weed. I did everything I could to get that equipment so I wouldn't have to keep doing that shit. And for this ingrate, this hoodlum, to break in my mom's house, to desecrate my home, step on my  records. It was the ultimate disrespect to me.

 

"And I'll go as far as to say this too because can't nobody touch me: after he did that shit, he motivated me to write that record. And he, being the idiot that he was, he kind of gloated about it. He had this sense of almost pride that in some kind of dark twisted way, he helped to propel me into stardom. But as the streets would have it, everybody hates a thief, and everybody hates a snitch. I got news that he got shot and ran over by a car. And I was very happy to hear that.”

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