DJ Quik - The Book of David

Posted April 19, 2011
Tags: DJ Quik,

It’s not particularly difficult to drop a hit single. The right beat, the right hook, the...

The Book of David Album Review

It’s not particularly difficult to drop a hit single. The right beat, the right hook, the right timing and suddenly cell phones nationwide are ringing with the sound of your hit. The list of rappers who had the spotlight shine on them while more deserving artists continued to wait in the wings is enough to make a serious music lover want to throw in the towel. But whenever I’m feeling particularly pessimistic about the state of the game, I just zoom out Google Maps style and look at the bigger picture. You see, time has a way of separating the truth from the lies. Anyone can have their moment, but to still have audiences eagerly awaiting your next album two decades after your debut you have to be truly talented. I guess that makes DJ Quik truly talented.

If you were alive, on the west coast and listened to rap in 1991 you knew Quik. A staple of L.A.’s early rap scene, in the years since David Martin Blake first broke through with his smash debut, Quik is the Name, the DJ/producer/emcee has gone through more highs and lows than a Magic Mountain roller coaster, but along the way he earned something more than platinum plaques, he earned the undying love of SoCal. In fact the L.A. city council recently passed a resolution making including Quik on your barbecue playlist legally mandatory. (Ok, so not really, but think it over Mayor Villaraigosa.) Thankfully we finally have some more new Quik in our lives in the form of his eighth solo album, The Book of David, an album that finds the legendary DJ going back to his roots, and creating some nice music in the process.

In recent interviews Quik admitted that on previous albums he had “got away from the music that made me want to get into the industry from people like Prince, The Time, The Force M.D.s, you know some of these 80's hip hop kind of records,” and sure enough the album is unapologetically soaked in old school flavor, starting with single Real Women. As long as men have been making music they’ve been making ladies jams and thanks in no small part to some crooning from Jon B, who’s been around for a minute himself, Real Women has the kind of easily accessible appeal the ladies will eat up, although Quik manages to work in a few scratches while he’s at it. And of course if we’re talking about the old school I have to talk about his reunion with one time protégé Suga Free on the clapping and fast flowing Nobody, and of course the hypnotic Boogie Till You Conk Out, which in addition to an Ice Cube feature is a perfect example of Quik’s street but often hilarious rhyme style. Still, no track on the album can match the early '90s vibe of Do Today, a quickly bouncing record that you could have convinced me was originally a Morris Day & the Time instrumental. You don’t have to be an ‘80s baby (or earlier) to dig The Book of David, but I won’t lie, it will help.

Of course Quik’s willingness to say anything he wants and make the music he wants to make, the larger world be damned, is exactly what we love about him, but that my way or the highway mentality can also sometimes backfire when it comes to his music. While beef lovers will undoubtedly love figuring out who Ghetto Rendezvous’ myriad shots are aimed at, ultimately it feels insular and almost petty, and its hard to imagine anyone but the most loyal fans enjoying the darkly unraveling Poppin, which just never really connects. Still, the album has no shortage of more universal offerings, most notably the aptly-titled Across the Map, featuring Bun B and Bizzy Bone, and Time Stand Still, which is one of the best r&b records he’s ever made. But hey, that’s Quik, love him or leave him.

I’m sure in the time it’s taken me to write this review another overnight Internet sensation will have burst onto the scene, but even if he never regains the widespread fame he once did – and let’s be honest, he probably never will – DJ Quik will still be standing long after the world has forgotten who did that Party Like a Rockstar song. As long as he keeps making music like The Book of David we’ll be hearing his music in every rap loving city in America. After all, when it comes to appreciating dopeness and longevity, everywhere is really just like Compton.

DJBooth Rating - 3.5 Spins

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Posted April 19, 2011
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