interview DJ QUIK - Trauma | Review By: Rud

Release Date : September 13th 2005
Label : Mad Science

The uttering of a Doctor Basconavich; "So, tell me what seems to be on your mind?" greets listeners on the intro to “Trauma.” An apt question as DJ Quik quickly reveals his most personal record to date. Trauma, as the title suggests, is DJ Quik's first opportunity in four years to get some issues of his chest. After his last studio album "Under The Influence" he took the decision which was to crush fans worldwide, to retire and release a "Greatest Hits" collection, a release he previously said would only come out if he left the industry completely. Time as the saying goes is a great healer and to all fans delight the turn of 2005 brought the news that DJ Quik was back.

The lead-in intro blazes straight into “Intro For Roger” which is an upbeat, hard hitting base to which DJ Quik accommodates an incredible flow to portray his current mindset, the beat which switches around the minute mark to incorporate a Heart Monitor beep, sees Quik lowering tone to drop the hook before bursting into a flurry of lyrics, while never missing the beat,

"I live in Los Scandalous, California
It's the most beautiful sunset 'til cowards run up on ya
And then it's curtains you hurtin for what yo' mouth done been blurtin
When you don't love who you squirtin cause she just might be workin”
You can hear the angst in Quik’s voice as he drops the lyrics,
My best friend's dead, my heart is a stone
My soul ain't even mine to own, they say it's a loan"

As the intro ends you already perceive the angle that this album is set to take; up-beat, personal and as ever, fresh. Listen to the end of the intro to hear another of DJ Quik’s hidden “reversed” messages.

One thing that DJ Quik is never truly admired for is his lyrics. His beat-making, no question is legendary and I have heard of few that doubt his ability behind the boards, however lyrically he has often been seen as the Rapper/Producer that fails to make the grade when it comes to lacing the vocals on his own beats. Well doubters should be shaken with this LP, this is perhaps Quik’s best blend of stellar beats AND rhymes. No doubt he has dropped lyrical heat before however this record sees the best blend and consistency he has yet produced.

The albums single is next up to bless listener’s stereos, the mix of deep horns and light drums create the track “Fandango.” The stereo’s EQ is tested as are your eardrums with a mix of sounds to which DJ Quik and his guest on the track, Cypress Hill’s B-Real, offer a dedication to the dance “Fandango.” The album continues with exceptional tracks including “Til Jesus Comes” and “Black Mercedes” which sees DJ Quik and Nate Dogg reuniting to drop a gem. You wouldn’t be the first to question whether that is indeed Nate Dogg on the track due to the higher pitch he adopted on this cut however it is and it is good to hear Nate trying something a little bit different.

Compton’s In The House? Indeed it is on Track 6 as DJ Quik is joined by The Game asking you to “Get Up.” Having been on tour as the DJ with The Game this year, DJ Quik commandeered The Game to drop both a verse and the tracks hook. The light feel of the track is best served by the verses from DJ Quik & AMG at either side of the song as Game’s tone is a mis-match for the beat, however as a package it works and Im sure fans hope Quik and Game can work together again, perhaps on The Game’s sophomore LP to create the vibe they clearly share.

Now “Get Down,” yes you’ve just been told to “Get Up” but that’s the way life goes, track 7 says so and Quik and this songs collaborator Chingy are in no mood to be ignored. The beat is Quik all the way and I don’t know what Quik did to Chingy in the booth but Chingy flows his ass off;

“Okay - incense cologne, women be attracted
Got the best sex c'mon, it's somethin 'bout the action
When they flex wet and bone, a model or a actress
I attach this note, before the script get wrote
(Shoot back) She see the list, text you're gone
I tap it make it happen stress there's eggs at home
A captain be reactin to the sweat as you moan
Hold up give me a second
I think Quik got somethin else to say before we end this record”

And Chingy wasn’t lying as Quik’s flow is exemplary over this beat which literally makes your head dip left and right with each peak and trough in the sound,

"This beat is for your uncle and aunt
It's old enough to be dope, but young enough to be hot
Dedicated to everybody been beat by the cops
Just tryin to get to the party and pop tequila in shot
The legendary incindiary resentment for authority figures
From the most vocal of the local niggaz
California to death, bringin Compton to life
Makin beats that'll snap yo' neck and have you writin a check
You need to…”

By track 8 you have already heard new fresh sounds, DJ Quik’s signature beats and well selected guests. By the time “Ladies & Thugs” hits you will be completely “in the zone” and loving every minute of the record, so it wont hurt to much that what follows is the weakest song on the album, and by that I in no way mean the beat I just cant dig the lyrics, flow and guest choice, it just doesn’t work in my opinion. There is usually a dip at some point in 99% of albums and unfortunately, for me, this is it. The beat knocks hard and as an instrumental would be perfect, and that’s how it could have stayed for me.

Rest assured that any dip in quality is swiftly eradicated by Track 9 when “Catch 22” grabs your attention. The chorus isn’t to all tastes however it works in context of the track and the musical accompaniment. “Indiscretions In The Back of The Limo” is next up and is absolute classic Quik, smooth tones, light keys and again an array of sounds. T.I is the guest which aids Quik on this cut, and he fits this type of track perfectly.

As you read the tracklist and see the title “Spur of the moment” (Feat. Ludacris) you would be excused thinking “Damn, Quik used that track again off Luda’s album” – well yes he does however this is the “Pacific Coast Remix” and includes 3 re-vamped Quik verses. They trade verses as on the original however the remix has a sound that Quik clearly saved for his own album.

Now what comes next is what every DJ Quik fan waits for on his albums, a Quik’s Groove. This time it’s number 7, to fans glancing at the tracklist the track in question is number 12 “Quikstrumental” featuring Jodeci and is reminiscent of the Quik’s Groove on “Rhythm-al-ism” which I always perceive as being the last few minutes of “Whateva U Do,” as this too is incorporated with singing, this time by Jodeci, and to be honest they really do set it off, if this is indicative of the work Jodeci and Quik are said to be doing at the moment then roll on a new Jodeci album.

The album is concluded by the tracks “Jet Set” and “California” both of which are vintage Quik and round off what has been “Trauma.” With “Trauma” it is clear from the outset, that DJ Quik, although experimenting with new sounds and techniques manages to maintain the style and skill that has set him apart from the others for 15 years. The album, bar the odd sub-standard moment, is the highest quality throughout. No one can fault the production on this record and as stated earlier DJ Quik has certainly stepped up his lyrics. The fact that he opted to make a personal record is testament to his mind set and the fact that if he didn’t the likely hood of imploding was extreme, he has been through plenty in recent years and i'm sure fans are grateful he opted to spill his emotions on record rather than stay in silence. The record is, I hope, the first of many more to come from this gifted musician, one whose talents should be recognised, applauded and studied for years to come.

4.5/5 Dubs!


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