Category: DJ Quik

DJ Quik, the Gaslamp Killer, and more hit the Do-Over

The first rule of the Do-Over is that you don't talk about the Do-Over. At least, if you know who the secret guests are ahead of time. After seven summers, the party has become an almost ecclesiastical ritual -- each Sunday so crowded that the swarms leave you at risk of being permanently stained by Sangria. Hell, this week, even Spike Lee showed up.

That's the price you pay for a free weekly that has hosted the likes of Madlib, Flying Lotus, DJ AM, A-Trak and practically every DJ worth a damn. Founded by Jamie Strong, Chris Haycock and Aloe Blacc, the event is now at Hollywood's Cabana Club -- its third venue -- following stints regularly exceeding capacity at Crane's Hollywood Tavern and briefly, at Silverlake's El Cid.

Indeed, the afternoon's performers included the Gaslamp Killer, a premiere turntablist and producers who had commanded top dollar the previous night at Hard Summer. And rightfully so. Gaslamp Killer has spent the last year detonating dance floors and terrorizing men, women and children. If you haven't seen Will Bensussen spin at the Low End Theory or at random spot dates around town, you're missing out on the most demented and dynamic DJ barely taking time to breathe, a B-boy dancing like an electrocution, pantoming and controlling the crowd like a dusted Gustavo Dudamel. All charisma and a fro like a Jewish Oscar Gamble.

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DJ Quik and Suga Free announce first show together in a decade at Club Nokia on Aug. 27

Quiksugafree "That boy rap like Tyson scrap," says DJ Quik about his longtime collaborator Suga Free in this excerpt from his "Visualism" DVD (disclaimer: features a double dosage of expletives and technicolor pimping). 

To which Suga Free, the immaculately-permed Pomona resident responded: "I'm just a pimp trying to be a rapper." 

If that's the case, only Too Short can match the man born Dejaun Rice as flesh peddlers turned ferocious MC's. Prone to profane, stream-of-consciousness torrents that strike somewhere between Quik, E-40 and Iceberg Slim, Free's 1997 "Street Gospel" ranks as one of the most unsung and stylistically innovative West Coast rap albums ever recorded.

Raised in Oakland and Compton before strutting to Pomona, Free's style hybridized the Bay Area hustle of Too Short, Rappin' 4-Tay and Dru Down, with the Compton swing of Quik, Hi-C, 2nd II None and the Penthouse Players Clique. Add a little Richard Pryor and the life experiences of a man whose memoir would rival Casanova's, and that's just the start.

Several years ago, he and Quik had a falling out over undisclosed matters -- thus depriving listeners of the seedy underworld version of Dre and Snoop. Earlier this year the legendary Compton artist announced that he and Free had begun work on a new record, slated to be released this fall on Quik's Mad Science label.

The album coincides with Quik's own renaissance with this year's unanimously praised "The Book of David."  Displaying a rare creative ingenuity for two men 20 years deep in the rap game, Free and Quik's return is highly anticipated by the minority of people who aren't excited to hear "Watch the Throne."

In the interim, the flamboyant legends return to the stage for the first time in a decade on Saturday, Aug. 27 at downtown's Club Nokia. The show is the only scheduled appearance for the pair. Tickets go on sale Friday and run $35 in advance, $45 at the door. Schedule your hair appointment now.

The pair have also made a new video, "Nobody" (caution: explicit language).


DJ Quik & Kurupt talk Tupac and BlaQKout

DJ Quik talks sampling John Travolta, "The Book of David" and Powerhouse appearance

West Coast legend Kurupt on his favorite rappers, collaborating with DJ Quik and Terrace Martin

--Jeff Weiss

Photo: DJ Quik & Suga Free; Credit: DJ Quik Myspace

DJ Quik talks sampling John Travolta, 'The Book of David' and Powerhouse appearance

A discography full of gun-toting gangsta rap, gritty street tales and sunburnt Compton swagger aren’t necessarily the most dangerous things swirling around in the mind of DJ Quik, who's been crafting archetypical West Coast hip-hop for 20 years. The things he can do with a song from one of America’s most beloved teen musicals will shake you to your core.

It took a year to clear a smooth-talking sample of John Travolta from “Grease” for the glistening, Superfly funk of his song “Hydromatic,” from his most recent album, "The Book of David," but getting the expensive permissions was worth it, he says. The veteran MC, who co-headlines Powerhouse on Saturday in Anaheim sandwiched between Ice Cube and Wiz Khalifa, remembers running across the sample after buying the movie soundtrack on vinyl at Amoeba Music on Sunset on a whim.

On record, Travolta’s opening lines on “Grease Lightning” sounded delectably more rhythmic than in the film: “This car is automatic! It’s systematic! It’s hyyydromatic!”

“I just kept running [the record] back on that part,” Quik said, then mimicked the sample with a smirk and the exaggerated baritone of a sportscaster: “‘It’s hyyyyydromatic.’” Sitting at a Japanese restaurant booth in Hollywood in black jeans, fresh white T-shirt and cornrows, the 41-year-old rapper born David Blake uses his left hand over a sampler bowl of sashimi to suggest a DJ scratching a record.

Within hours of plucking the sample, Quik assembled collaborators Jon B., Dave Foreman and longtime co-producer George “G-1” Archie and put the entire track together in-studio, an example of the seemingly effortless mix of wizardry, industry know-how and outside-the-box thinking that allows Quik to center himself in the multifaceted position of rapper/producer/DJ.

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