DJ Quik Tells All: The Stories Behind his Classic Records

DJ Quik & Kurupt "Do You Know" (2009)

Producer: DJ Quik
Album: BlaQKout
Label: Mad Science/Fontana Distribution

DJ Quik: “I love Blaqkout. We only sold a measly 30,000 records, no marketing. No international distribution because Fontana doesn't have that, my distributor. That record was done for the sake of art. Not even hip-hop, just art.

"New gear, new Pro Tools system. New recording technique. New microphones, new samples. Let's go! If you don't mind, it's not going to be a gangster rap record. It's going to be eclectic, and avant-garde, and enigmatic and all this weird shit. It's just gonna be some funky new shit. He was like, 'Push the button.'

"Every time I pushed the button, we'd be in there quirk-ing out, funking out. And I kept my sound; it's still raw, still funky. At the same time, Kurupt sounds great, I sound pretty good I think. We did a record that is for the sake of music. It makes sense.

"It's a little sparse in places. Some of the arrangements just kind of landed where it was. As opposed to being regimented, where it's 16 and then eight, 16 and then eight. This shit would be 14 and then there'd be this little lull, this change. And then 17 would be something different. And 20 would be different. And 25 would be totally different. So it was kind of randomized arrangement, sample-heavy, trigger-heavy, but something I love.

“You're supposed to take, as a hip-hop artist with just an SP1200—I wish everything went back to ten seconds of sampling time, because you'd see how interesting producers really are, because this drag and drop shit with these young infinite loops, Fruity Loops, it's kind of just whatever.

"But back then, our way, that shit was dope. So I said that to say, the production, when you had less, it made you do more. I cleared that with Raphael Saadiq. I spent a lot of money clearing it. And again, I'm paying for the shit myself.

"I'm in a unique kind of place, where I can sustain without having to be bankrupt and stressed out and fucked up. I'm living, and I'm still doing what I love. I cleared that sample, Raphael let me use it. To do 'Anniversary' like that was just dope.

"Clare Fisher on the strings, god rest his soul, he passed away. One of the greatest string arrangers ever, one of my favorite people. Whenever you hear people playing strings a certain way, you know its him. He is the most [distinctive] arranger when it comes to strings.”

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