DJ Quik Tells All: The Stories Behind his Classic Records

Tony! Toni! Tone! f/ DJ Quik "Let's Get Down" (1996)

Producer: Raphael Saadiq, DJ Quik, G-One
Album: House Of Music
Label: Mercury

DJ Quik: “If you listen, 'Let's Get Down' is a complete drum rip-off of 'Dollaz and Sense.” Because 'Dollaz and Sense' had blew up, I used the drums again on 'Let's Get Down,' and hit No. 12 on the nationwide Top 100 charts.

"That breakbeat is one of the breakbeats that I invented that I used on a 2nd II None 12” back on Profile for their song 'Be True To Yourself.' I used it on this European remix that I did. This long-form, long-edited—where I was in the studio splicing tape—one of them long breakdown edits. I fucked around, broke that beat down.

 

This is my drum break—back then I cared about my drum breaks. It was my sh*t. I invented it. I wrote it.

 

"Simon Harris, who had an independent label back then reissuing breakbeats, sampled my shit and put it on that breakbeat. I bought the album and he named it after one of KK's lyrics on there, 'Keep cool little girl.' The 'keep cool little girl' break. It ended up being on Mr. Grimm's 'Indo Smoke.' This is my drum break—back then I cared about my drum breaks. It was my shit. I invented it. I wrote it.

“Just to see how much it got used, and I never got—nobody ever came to me. Warren G never came to me like, 'Man, that was the shit.' He probably didn't even know where he got it from. It was used for 'Black Superman' by Above the Law. It was used on 'Shackles on my Feet' for Mary Mary, from my young producing protege Warren Campbell, Baby Dub.

"And it was also used in 'Home Alone' for R. Kelly, which is another record that I had something to do with that I didn't get credit for because I had some slimeballs in the game that were trying to capitalize on my sound and suspiciously left my name off of the credits.

"That's me playing percussion on the 'Home Alone' record—that's my bass sound, that's my synthesizer, which was a Roland JD800. That's my drum break, the 'keep cool little girl' break. It is what it is.

“But 'Let's Get Down' was fun in that after I heard the Sons of Soul album, by Tony Toni Tone, I knew I wanted to work with them. I wanted to give them a dance record, something funky and grimy. Right around 1994–1995 was the perfect time for something that was amalgamated like that. That kind of record where you've got this beloved R&B group and this fucking hated gangster rapper or party rapper.

"It made for a cool, not-so-aggressive, one of them let-your-hair-down, let's-party-till-we-get-drunk, bring-all-the-bitches-none-of-these-niggas, ladies-leave-your-children-at-the-nursery-so-we-can-slow-wine.

"Three men, nine women, that's how we used to like it back then. That was that kind of record. It was more for ladies. And if you listen to 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' by Nirvana, you can kind of hear some similarities. Don't tell anybody that though. Long live Kurt Cobain.”

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