DJ Quik: Being an Artist Was Always Secondary

DJ Quik: Being an Artist Was Always Secondary

Producer speaks on the concept behind his new album, The Midnight Life.

Published October 21, 2014

In the last nearly quarter century so much has changed in hip hop, but one of the few things that has held true through all the bottle poppin,’ battles and beats: DJ Quik is still in the Muthaf***in’ house.

In a recent interview the Compton producer/rapper revealed to BET.com that his tenure behind the mic has always come second in his mind to his work behind the boards.

“My legacy is really production and engineering. That’s really my forte. That’s what I like to do,” said Quik, whose eighth studio album, The Midnight Life, was released this month. “Being an artist was always secondary to me but it ended up having to be the thing because everybody liked what I did as an artist too."

On one of the more notable track titles on The Midnight Life is a song called “Pet Cemetery,” named after the 1983 Sci-Fi movie about a place where pets were buried, but as it turned out were never truly deceased. According to the “Safe + Sound” MC, the song was actually a response to the recent chantings that gangsta rap and R&B are dead.

“That title came up right in the studio as I was about to do the lyrics,” noted Quik. “I was just talking to one of the little homies, another little artist that’s about to come up, Bankroll J from Watts. He did the voice over with me and I brought it up, and I just said, ‘Well if R&B and hip hop is really dead like people say, cause I’ve been hearing that, people be like, ‘How do you feel that R&B and [gangsta rap] is dead, Quik?’ How can they be dead when we got records that will live in infamy forever? These records will always sell and always be played somewhere on the Earth. How could it really be dead? So I referenced it to the movie. If it is dead let’s go bury it in the Pet Cemetery cause if you’ve seen the movie, you know what happens when you bury something in the Pet Cemetery. So I did a true R&B beat with some true gangsta rap lyrics,” he added.

As a seasoned veteran of both major labels as well as independents, Quik spoke on how things change once you go independent.

“It’s always a change in sales when you independent from major. There’s just something about either the fans not reaching your records or thinking that if a major ain’t interested then why should they? So you always take a cut when you go indie but I think with this new album I’ve managed to kind of keep a linearity between my first album and my last album [The Book of David], 'cause I could listen to them two together and hear the growth over two decades and I still like what I hear. It still feels the same there’s still a musical quality that I didn’t stray from. I think that’s kept me in the business for two decades."

See Quik talk Kendrick Lamar and more in the full interview below.

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(Photo: Leon Bennett/WireImage)

Written by Jake Rohn, Interview by Dan Reagans

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