Monday, January 24, 2011

Sample Set #163

Kicking off my '91 Retrospective series, I'll be highlighting some of DJ Quik's earlier production, starting with this sample set for 2nd II None's eponymous debut record. Though DJ Quik had been putting in work throughout the mid-to-late '80s - including the release of his vintage "Red Tape" - it wasn't until 1991 when the Quikster set the tone for Compton, post-N.W.A./Ice Cube split. Sure, '91 was the year Quik dropped his solo debut Quik is the Name, which featured classics like "Tonite" and "Born and Raised in Compton" - but he also produced three overlooked gems, all debut albums from L.A.-based emcees: AMG's Bitch Betta Have My Money, Hi-C's Skanless, and of course 2nd II None.

Quik's production on the record alone deserves heaps of praise. A lot of this has to do with the easily-identifiable - partially in hindsight - samples sprinkled throughout the record, including Isaac Hayes' "Hung Up on My Baby" (Geto Boys' "Mind Playing Tricks on Me"), Tom Tom Club's "Genius of Love" (Mariah Carey's "Fantasy"; Above the Law's "V.S.O.P.), Curtis Mayfield's "Kung Fu" (Gang Starr's "Nice Girl, Wrong Place"), KC and the Sunshine Band's "Ain't Nothin' Wrong" (Digable Planets' "Where I'm From"), and more. Quik's crate banditry, toying with "Love and Happiness" on 2nd II None's "More Than a Player", might just be the best usage of an Al Green sample this side of Ghostface's "Iron Maiden".

Backed by cousins K.K. and Tha D, Compton duo 2nd II None had some stiff competition from neighborhood bullies N.W.A. and Compton's Most Wanted, not to mention like-minded artists across the map like Geto Boys. Going toe to toe with the ranks of emcees like Ice Cube and Scarface - at their primes, arguably - was certainly something of a tall order. Thankfully, with the assistance of none other than Quik behind the boards, their album packs a bevy of organic, enjoyable cuts and a couple of minor west coast party starters. Enjoy... and turn it up!!