DJ Quik picks out 19 influential records at L.A.’s Amoeba Music
This self-styled mad scientist producer has sonically alchemized disparate genres in his 20-plus-year hip-hop discography.
by Tony Best
“When you sample,” says Compton, California, legend DJ Quik, “it’s more than just about the musical piece. It’s the wow and flutter from the turntable. There’s something about the electrified diamond touching the carbon-based vinyl that makes the sound so robust. The concept shouldn’t even work. It’s a miracle of physics, if you ask me.”
DJ Quik (né David Blake) tends to pepper his musical discussions with scientific and mathematical terminologies. And that’s not much of a stretch. With a lauded twenty-plus-year discography, the self-styled mad scientist not only sonically alchemizes disparate genres—from ’80s synth-boogie to Bollywood melodies—but also surreptitiously infuses his beats with concepts of synesthesia (“you can hear colors in my music”) and audio field equation theory. Pretty heady stuff for G-funk, but think Carl Sagan rocking two Technics and an MPC60.
Wax Poetics caught up with Quik at L.A.’s Amoeba Music on June 7, 2011 (Prince’s fifty-third birthday), where the West Coast auteur methodically dug through vinyl bins in search of both obscure and nostalgic records recalled from his Compton childhood. Quik was also conducting aural research for three upcoming projects: the debut LP from protégé Gift Reynolds, a reunion with Richard Pryor–incarnate Suga Free, and his ninth solo album, which according to Quik, will likely be his final hip-hop offering.
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