DJ Quik Discusses Aging Gracefully In Hip-Hop
DJ Quik released his platinum debut Quik Is The Name more than 25 years ago. An early Compton, California Rap star, the artist born as David Blake has been integral to the careers of Tupac Shakur, AMG, 2nd II None, Suga Free, and Hi-C. Although Q-U-I-K has never had an album chart above #10, or a Top 40 single in his own catalog, his is one of music’s most consistent winners.
Since Arista Records folded in the early 2000s, Quik’s output has maintained, if not increased. As an independent artist, he praised the monetary gains of the DIY machine. Meanwhile, in 2007, via his AMG reboot, The Fixxers, the MC/producer/DJ was signed on a single deal to Interscope Records. Speaking with Rolling Stone magazine’s David Drake following the release of his Problem collaborative EP, Rosecrans, the Mad Science Records founder discussed how he’s hitting a great stride at the age of 46.
“It’s creepy that now, all of a sudden, at 46, I’m having a resurgence and all my concerts are selling out.” He sees it as a shift. “Why didn’t they do this 15 years ago when I lost my deal with Arista [Records], when I really needed some fan support and love? My shows wasn’t selling. It was almost like I was old news. And I felt that, and I felt bad. I struggled with it and I tried to fight to hold on, but sometimes if you’re falling you do more damage to yourself trying to break the fall instead of just hitting the fucking ground and bouncing back up.” Quik said that at that time, he gave up recording in pursuit of a label position and production work.
In 2014, Quik self-released his ninth solo album, The Midnight Life. With a revamped sound, the LP debuted at #63 on the Top 200. In speaking about his just released Rosecrans joint project, he says “And you lengthened my career too, Problem. To be honest. They was looking at me like, ‘Yeah, he’s a legend. That’s old school hip-hop. He’s in his 40s now.’ Where do you go from there? I didn’t get a second job. There’s no plan B for me. It’s all about this fuckin’ music.”
“When you look at Hip-Hop today, you’re shunned if you have gray hair in your beard,” said the former Profile/Arista Records star. “No matter how you sound. Like Ice Cube said it best: ‘you can rap as long as you’ve got teeth in your mouth and a tongue that operates, you can rap.’ There shouldn’t be no age on it. If you’ve got something to say, and you’ve got an expression, then you should express yourself. That’s what our music was about.”
Read: DJ Quik and Problem on Making Timeless Rap, Remembering Prince by David Drake.