DJ Quik Tells All: The Stories Behind his Classic Records

DJ Quik "Thinkin' Bout U" (1998)

Producer: DJ Quik
Album: Rhythm-al-ism
Label: Profile

DJ Quik: “My friend Kenneth Crouch, who's one of the most revered piano players in the world—played with Eric Clapton, played the Michael Jackson review, the one without him where all the celebrities were there, he was the main keyboardist. He wrote the track, he gave it to me on DAT.

"I took the DAT to my studio, and instantly heard those lyrics, because of his piano playing. He's my favorite piano player, period. That song just wrote itself. I remember being in the studio, getting out of the spa with my wet-ass hands on the tape machine, and listening to that track and writing that story about the love I lost, the girl who didn't want me because she didn't see the bigger picture, forest for the trees or whatever. Look at me now.

"I wrote it very quickly. I stood there in my wet, dripping, Michael Jordan basketball shorts, because that's all I swam in back then. Wet jheri curl. Chlorine water in my studio, rapping that shit. It went down how it sounded. No extra overdub tricks or whatever. Just kind of an honest one-take pass. Bitch, I'm ballin' now, bitch I'm ballin'! You should have fucked with me, bitch. I'm ballin'!

“'Thinking Bout You' was totally 100% musically written by Kenneth Crouch, who's the nephew of Andre Crouch, a revered gospel artist with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Greatest pianist that I know, right down to this day, synthesizer player, everything.

"Unfortunately the credits on the album didn't reflect his writing, so I've always had to apologize to him for that because I left that in the hands of the staff at Arista. I turned in the credits, and somehow it slipped through the cracks. But totally written by Kenneth Crouch. All I did was lend the lyrics.

“I was outputting what I was taking in. I was listening to some jazz, even though jazz was to me a little passe. Sometimes music is too smart for people. And you don't want music that's too smart. I was listening to a lot of Parliament Funkadelic live albums, as opposed to just the studio albums that I grew up with—just to see where they were gelling at, where they weren't gelling.

"What made grooves loose and what made them tight, and how long they could stay locked and all that virtuosity that went with that shit. I was just trying to be a virtuoso piano player. Virtuoso bass player, guitar player, whatever, and kind of match that shit. I got a chance to practice on there. I like the futuristic synthesizer sound on that song 'No Doubt.'

"Back then, nobody was really doing that kind of freaky shit with the Merlin Jupiter series synths. It was a super-experimental, totally risky record, but Clive liked it, and that's all that fucking mattered.

"My fans liked it. I signed a lot of those motherfuckers and sold a lot of them. We might have to do a revisit at some point. Rhythmalism 2. I still have all that fucking skill, all that equipment. All those sounds. I figure we can make it happen.”

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