Full Clip: DJ Quik Breaks Down His Catalogue Feat. Jay-Z, 2Pac, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Rakim, Whitney Houston & More
Quik Is The Name (1991)
“N.W.A. pretty much showed us all that we could have pride in our city of Compton because Compton was so tumultuous back then. It sucked to see all that oppression from the police and from the gang bangers. You were damned if you do, damned if you don’t. So when Eazy E and them came out representing Compton it made me feel proud to be from there. I was already a DJ at that time in the late ‘80s, but N.W.A. sparked me to really become serious with my lyrics. We were the real gangbangers. N.W.A. weren’t even bangers…they just played it so high up. But although we really lived that gang culture that’s not what it was all about with us. We were very family oriented. We showed the softer side of Compton.
Quik is the Name was originally supposed to be a mixtape that I was going to sell in the ‘hood. I recorded it on a Tascam four-track. I did all the over-dubs, all the blending, and mixed it down on one of those Maxwell metal tapes they used to sell. But along comes Dave from Profile Records looking for me like, ‘Hey dude, I heard your cassette, man. Come sign with us.’ [laughs] There was a bidding war between Fred Munao at Select Records and Cory Robbins and Profile. Cory ultimately ended up beating Fred out and I signed with Profile.
Profile gave me a $30,000 budget to mix the record over. So you do the math: a $1000 a-day studio…if we get Quik is the Name done in less than a month, that’s more money in my pocket. So we got it done in 17 days. We dumped everything out of the SP-1200, brought the turntables into the studio, scratched all the hooks, did all the overdubs and brought in a bass guitar player to fatten up the sound because we would lose a lot of the bass from sampling. We recorded some of the album at Westlake Studio on Santa Monica, which is where Michael Jackson did Thriller. It was a trip being in there mixing ‘Tonite’ on those big boards knowing that Michael was coming in and out of there.
My mom played Isaac Hayes’ ‘Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic’ all the time. That was my motivation for sampling it for ‘Born and Raised in Compton.’ It was a dog beat, very funky. But on the other hand ‘Tonite’ was pretty much R&B and some jazz. I sampled that from Kleer’s ‘Tonite,’ which came out I believe in 1981 on Atlantic Records. That record was so advanced for that time. That musical scheme was dumb, and to have it over a TR-808 beat that was bananas for me. I sampled it primarily for that groove and it was a good record to tell a story to, especially about growing up in the ‘hood.
Rappers weren’t going platinum a lot except for Run-D.M.C., Dr. Dre, Public Enemy and so on and so forth. So I still don’t understand how Quik Is The Name went platinum. I don’t question it, but I think I had a stroke of blessing at the right time. I had this edgy, dark live show that was kind of ‘hood-tinged, but it was still entertaining. I looked at myself as the average homeboy in the ‘hood; the one that made it. Ultimately I willed myself into the business.”