First things first, DJ Quik is not having a "meltdown." The super producer made that clear when he went on Twitter to express how he's feeling these days about his place in music, and the level of acknowledgment and appreciation he receives for his contributions.
Quik, who released his highly influential debut, Quik Is The Name, back in 1991, has long been compared to another super producer from his hometown of Compton, Dr. Dre. And while Dr. Dre (who Quik points out is his friend and "big brother") has catapulted to superstardom, Quik hasn't achieved that level of fame, in spite of his undeniable musical influence.
In a series of tweets, Quik articulated his thoughts and frustrations about it all. "I know it’s early. But I deserve to be where Dre is. I don’t think it’s fair, but I understand why. I’ve never had a machine behind me, that always hurt my friends more than it did me."
He goes on to say his friends have encouraged him to keep being authentic musically. "My friends have come to me in confidentiality to say “do your music like you want to. Just be DJ Quik! People love that shit!”
He says it's hurtful when people pit him against Dr. Dre because he loves him like a brother, and points out podcasters' desire to stir up drama for ratings. "This doesn’t need to be on a podcast. Because you have fire starters, who want to spin everything to get more ratings," he wrote. "But the truth is: I love Dr. Dre, like a big brother, one I never had. It pains me when people pit us against each other."
He also said even though he knows he'll "never be as popular" as he needs to be, he's content knowing he's helped build careers.
"I know I’ll never be as popular as I need to be, but I have 10s of artists superstars!" he said. "And when they shine, I just smile. The janitor doesn’t get all the glory, but he keeps the backstage, clean as a triage."
He ends by saying he's not having a meltdown, he's just expressing himself.
Beyond his own genre-expanding albums, Quik's contributions are many— from his drums on 50 Cent’s epic 2003 hit “In Da Club" to Nelly’s 2002 smash, “Hot In Herre” which samples his production from his now-deceased artist, Mausberg’s, “Get Nekkid." Tyler The Creator says he studied Quik’s albums Balance & Options and Under Tha Influence in crafting his own expansive sound, and Kendrick Lamar’s landmark sophomore album, To Pimp A Butterfly, prominently samples Quik's production “Get Nekkid” on the Sounwav/Terrace Martin-produced single “King Kunta.”
Quik's influence has been felt all over popular music for decades — here's hoping for a lot more of his signature jazz-laced, funk sound.