AMG Breaks Down How DJ Quik, 2nd II None & Hi-C All Cliqued Up (Video)
In late 1980s and early 1990s, there were a number of Greater Los Angeles Hip-Hop collectives. From N.W.A. and Compton’s Most Wanted to Low Profile/WC & Maad Circle and Rhyme Syndicate, many crews had famous names and songs attached to their movements. At the turn of the ’90s, DJ Quik was a popular DJ, rapper, and producer from the city of Compton.
While Quik would not join a group until much later in his career, the MC became the focal point of a Cali collective that remains intertwined today. AMG is likely best known for his 1991 single “Bitch Betta Have My Money.” Whereas Quik’s Quik Is The Name released at the top of ’91, he had been in the studio with A’, 2nd II None, and Hi-C, all of whom made their debuts later that year.
AMG, who partnered with Quik in the mid-2000s to form The Fixxers, the Interscope-backed duo responsible for hit “Can U Werk Wit Dat?,” spoke about how all these artists got down. “We were all the same age, making the same type of songs. I’d been working with [manager] Greedy Greg since like 1987, [having met] through my man [DJ] Cold Cash [aka] June,” the Inglewood representative told Unique Access‘ Soren Baker just after 6:00. “I think around early ’89…’cause Greg had a lot of artists he was dealing with; he was managing Tone-Loc too, [as] his cousin, I heard the [DJ] Quik stuff, from Total Track Productions. They were producing a girl name Claudia. We heard the tape first, like, ‘We gotta get this dude! It’s amazing.’ So I was basically working on my stuff. We was basically four-tracking it and making demos and stuff like that. So we brought him over there, and [DJ Quik] brought [2nd II None].”
2nd II None, a Compton duo of K.K. and Gangsta D released their self-titled debut in Fall of ’91. “From there, we got Hi-C over there, working with us and doing stuff. Hi-C was doing his own thing with Stevie and Tony…rest in peace Steve,” AMG says of the producer Tony A., and the late Steve Yano. Hi-C was also from Hub City, and released Skanless in December 1991 (one week after Bitch Betta Have My Money). “We just all gelled: me, Quik, 2nd, [and Hi-C]. We just all gelled. We’d sit up and make songs together, do hooks on each others songs, and get on each others’ records. It just kinda came together, like a brotherhood. We were all just struggling and trying to make it. But we knew we had something great enough to penetrate the market, and that it was gonna be good. It happened to be Quik’s record [Quik Is The Name].”
Quik and 2nd II None landed at Profile Records. AMG would sign to another New York imprint, Select, joining Chubb Rock and Kid n’ Play. Hi-C went to Hollywood. “Select and Profile [Records] were bidding on Quik. Profile wanted me; Select wanted Quik. Profile [founder/CEO] Cory Robbins outbid Fred [Munao] for DJ Quik’s album. I didn’t have a full album; he had a full album. We only had to go in there and make about two or three fillers. But most of the song you hear on Quik Is The Name, they were done before the deal happened. That’s when it all happened, and I knew I needed a record to go out [on tour with].”
Pomona’s Suga Free, and Penthouse Players Clique’s Playa Hamm and Tweed Cadillac would also join Quik’s circle, where they remain today. K.K. worked on 2011’s The Book of David. AMG appeared on 2005’s Trauma. Hi-C worked on 2002’s Under Tha Influence, along with KK and AMG.
#BonusBeat: Early 1991’s “Skanless,” the first-released song by this collective:
DJ Quik hosted and produced this song.