Finding The GOAT: DJ Quik vs. Too Short…Who You Got?
As we continue the ultimate battle for the title of the GOAT (Greatest of All-Time), we are asking you to help us rank who is the greatest MC to pick up a mic. We will take over 35 years of Hip-Hop into consideration, pairing special match-ups in a sequence not unlike March Madness. For the next several months, we will roll out battles, starting with artists from similar eras paired against one another, until one undisputed King or Queen of the microphone reigns supreme.
The next two MCs to square-off have stayed the course for more than 25 years, with a wide scope of influence: DJ Quik and Too Short. Along the way, these two men put on for their city, and still maintain strong, highly-dedicated fan-bases today. From different cities along the West Coast, listen to these similar icon’s music, message and read upon their impact before casting your vote.
For 25 years, DJ Quik has helped forge a landmark reputation for the city of Compton. Although he too is a G-Funk pioneer, Quik’s grooves were different than those of Dr. Dre. A student of the’80s Funk school– the Switch, Shalamar, and Zapp–compared to Dre’s P-Funk influence, Quik combined smooth raps to complement his easygoing grooves. An alum of the “Bangin’ On Wax” cassette tapes of the late ’80s and early ’90s, Quik had a cantankerous relationship with rivals such as MC Eiht, and later friends-turned-foes 2nd II None and AMG, but David Blake was typically as relaxed as his perm on the mic, which made him easy to collaborate with, from R&B artists to pimpish Hip-Hop icons like Suga Free.
Although carefree on the mic, Quik has always taken pride in his craft. The MC’s first three albums, released between 1990 and 1995, showed sharp, image-driven lyricism that openly chronicled a gang-infested lifestyle that was more specific at times than that of neighboring N.W.A., King T, or Ice-T. Quik was among the first mainstream-accepted MCs to tout his own gang affiliation, and “Dollaz & Sense” would go on to become a benchmark moment in moving battles to beef, in his decade-long feud with CPT’s MC Eiht. However, by the time Gangsta Rap declined after the deaths of Quik’s onetime collaborator 2Pac and The Notorious B.I.G. (and later his own protege Mausberg), the former Death Row/Ruthless Records affiliate morphed into a funkateer, thumping his Rhythm-Al-Ism and Trauma.
DJ Quik’s Rap impact is far-reaching. Years before Snoop Dogg and Ma$e, David Blake was the soft-spoken MC who could still command male and female audiences. Never a Top 10-selling artist, Quik made platinum and gold plaques the hard, grassroots way, by dedication and consistency. In his workshop, both as a multi-platinum producer and a band-leader, Quik developed acts like Suga Free, AMG, Hi-C, 2nd II None, and Penthouse Players Clique. Injecting musicality into the street sensibilities of Hip-Hop, DJ Quik has connected the crates, and carried an enduring message that has never gone out of style.
Other Notable Tracks:
Since the 75 Girls label days in Oakland, California, Too Short has kicked his raunchy, relentless street raps. Slow-talking, Short Dog arguably upholds the Last Poets’ sort of idea with Rap. Too Short has messages by the streets for the streets. Over the years, coming from the “City Of Dope,” the venerable MC has focused on telling sexual stories about femme fatales, staying true to who you are, and “gettin’ it.” Too Short hails from the Electro-Rap era, where saying something in verse that sounded good on a beat went a long, long way. Just look at his championing superstars, from Snoop Dogg and Jay Z, to Big Boi and UGK, to Sir Michael Rocks and YG. Too Short drafted a blueprint that is still very much in tact, and the big brother from “The Turf” has never played like a 35-year veteran, refusing to accept the Senior Circuit.
With an extensive catalog in the early and mid 1980s, Too Short would sign with Jive Records. His localized Bay Area sound would appeal to worldwide masses on Life Is…Too Short and Born To Mack. Incorporating the pimp personas of the streets into Hip-Hop, Too Short is a Gangsta Rap pioneer, despite not receiving scholastic credit as such. From the earliest days, he told “freaky tales” and adamantly refused to rely on looping James Brown and Soul breaks to sound relevant in the late ’80s movement.
Although he is forever associated with Oaktown, Short relocated to Atlanta in the mid-1990s. There, Todd Shaw brought his strip club-savvy accounts and influenced a culture that would produce buds in the form of onetime protege Lil Jon & The Eastside Boys, T.I., Outkast, and 2 Chainz. The smooth-talking rapper who regularly used the same flow he’s rocked for more than 30 years proved that authenticity and simplicity can lead to durability. While so many artists have closed up shop, or pandered to trends, Too Short mastered the ceremony in low-profile, low-brimmed, low-end grace. Country has Willie Nelson. Blues has B.B. King. Hip-Hop has Too Short.
Other Notable Tracks:
“Short But Funky” (1990)
“In The Trunk” (1992)
So…who you got?
Voting For Round 1 is now closed. Stay up to date with the latest Finding The GOAT brackets