"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).
Photo: DJ Quik & Suga Free; Credit: DJ Quik Myspace