Label: Mad Science/Fontana
From: Compton, CA
Active Since: 1987
DJ Quik isn't as hugely popular as he was when he dropped Quik is the Name in 1991, but he's maintained artistic relevance longer than almost anyone in hip-hop. His work with Kurupt on 2009's Blaqkout was some of the most unusual of his career, without losing the kind of loose experimentation that found the rapper divulging highly-personal lyrics one moment and dropping irreverent party tracks the next, or bringing the two topics together on the same song.
His 2011 record Book of David furthered this agenda. The tracks seemed more concerned with originality than broad appeal, to their great advantage. In 2012, no one would claim Quik is setting sales records or reaching a massive audience, but his music is as personal and entertaining as ever. As a result, he's still rewarded a high level of critical respect from hip-hop connoisseurs.