Finding The GOAT Producer: DJ Quik vs. Warren G. Who Is Better?
“Finding the GOAT Producer” begins. The third installment of Ambrosia For Heads’s annual battle series features Hip-Hop’s greatest producers vying for the #1 spot. Thirty producers were pre-selected by a panel of experts, and two slots will be reserved for wild-card entries, including the possibility for write-in candidates, to ensure no deserving beat maker is neglected. The contest will consist of six rounds, NCAA basketball-tournament style, commencing with the Top 32, then the Sweet 16 and so on, until one winner is determined. For each battle, two producers (or collective of producers, e.g. The Neptunes) will be pitted against one another to determine which one advances to the next round.
Similar to the presentations in “Finding the GOAT MC” and “Finding the GOAT Album,” for each battle there will be an editorial about each producer that contextualizes the match-up, as well as sample songs, to help voters in their consideration. There also will be a poll in which votes will be cast, and readers will be able to see the % differential in votes, real-time. Though there also will be an enormous amount of debate in comments, on social media, in barbershops and back rooms, which we encourage, only votes cast in the official ballot will count. In prior “Finding the GOAT” battles, just a handful of votes often decided the results, in early and late rounds. So while we want everybody to talk about it, be about it too, with that vote that counts.
West Coast legends DJ Quik and Warren G’s paths have crossed many times throughout their careers, many times as collaborators on the same song. But as producers, each of these veterans stands on his own, formulating unique sounds that would come to define Los Angeles G-Funk for generations. In addition to his solo material dating back to 1991, DJ Quik has produced for everyone from Shaquille O’Neal to 2Pac, and Jermaine Dupri to Snoop Dogg. However, West Coast Heads celebrate him as much (if not more) for his work with lesser known but important acts like 2nd II None, Shade Sheist, Suga Free, and others. Production on records from Jay Z (“Justify My Thug”), Erick Sermon (“Focus”), and X-Clan (“Brother, Brother”) have extended his reach beyond his native Southern California. Warren G got his start with MC Breed in 1993, but by the end of the decade, he’d laced cuts for huge soundtracks like Bad Boys and The Nutty Professor. Throughout his career as a producer, he’s worked with Kurupt, Mac Dre, Styles P, Wale, and Young Jeezy – and, of course, his own solo work. Both of these artists managed to bring West Coast flavor to artists from across the country while never compromising authenticity, but only one moves forward in the competition. Your vote decides who.
For more than 25 years, as DJ Quik blazed a path for a deeply respected solo career, he supplied the music for so many others. From the onslaught, the Compton, California native born David Blake helped burgeoning artists. Acts like 2nd II None, Hi-C, and Penthouse Players Clique all debuted with Q-U-I-K sounds, typically blends of conjured Funk with enhanced percussion and keys. Like his perm, the MC favored relaxed records, grooves from the late 1970s and early ’80s that did not have some of the same bite of East Coast crates. Meanwhile, those sounds had plenty of mood, and kept bodies and cars in motion. By the late ’90s, Quik was no longer an in-house sound provider. He briefly helped fill Dr. Dre’s vacancy at Death Row. The artist’s work with Tupac, deliverance of Tony! Toni! Toné! to Rap, and supplying a la carte heat to groups like Tha Luniz made him a versatile producer to artists at full stride. In the last 15 years, Jay Z, Erick Sermon, The Game, and Talib Kweli all sought out the DJ-turned-producer. In that time, Quik transformed from a pioneer of a specific sound to a benchmark. Even at times when his name is not on the track, Quik’s influence and is clear as a new generation o artists like YG and Problem follow in his footsteps.
Warren G co-founded 213 with Snoop Dogg and Nate Dogg years before the group would ever make a dollar, or become three individual household names. The half-brother of Dr. Dre was forced to step out of the family shadow by maintaining the groove, but accenting it differently. Many have cited Warren’s uncredited input on The Chronic as part of what made it so pungent. Regardless of that feat, once he mined a career, Warren Griffin “regulated” his sound by keeping subdued grooves that let the MCs shine, while the heads nodded. The Long Beach native supplied Thug Life, MC Breed, and his own acts like The Twinz with style, musicality, and subdued, mellow music that the G’s could still ride to. 25 years into the game, The G Child has seemingly always given his 213 crew the best of his catalog, even if they rarely could shine as a trio. Warren’s own work is widely respected, with two gold and one multi-platinum LP. Thanks to Jeezy and E-40, Warren’s unique blend of Smooth Jazz and Funk appears to be back in vogue (as he has ramped up his output), well beyond the Greater Los Angeles Rap community.
So who is the better producer? Make sure you vote above.