One of the premier West Coast gangsta rap artists of the early '90s, DJ Quik was a rapper as well as a producer whose career carried on well into the next decade, as he put his career aside and began working primarily as a beat-maker. Born David Martin Blake on January 18, 1970, in Compton, California, DJ Quik made a name for himself on the mixtape circuit during the late '80s, compiling tapes also featuring fellow rappers AMG, 2nd II None, and Hi-C. On the basis of these mixtapes, he was signed to Priority Records and made his album debut with Quik Is the Name (1990), on which he produced all the tracks (as he would on each of his solo albums) in addition to rapping. Quik Is the Name proved quite successful, spawning two hits ("Tonite," "Born and Raised in Compton") and going platinum.
Throughout the remainder of the '90s, DJ Quik released three further albums -- Way 2 Fonky (1992), Safe & Sound (1995), Rhythm-al-ism (1998) -- that were fairly successful, each going gold, yet none proved as popular as his debut. When his fifth album, Balance & Options (2000), failed to show a substantial improvement in sales, he was dropped by Arista (which had taken over Profile). His next album, Under tha Influence (2002), distributed by Universal, failed to resurrect his commercial standing. Again without a major-label deal, DJ Quik proceeded to form his own label, Mad Science Recordings, via which he released Trauma (2005) and Greatest Hits Live at the House of Blues (2006), and also, in 2005, re-released Under tha Influence. A collaborative album with Kurupt, BlaQKout, appeared in 2009 with the solo album The Book of David following in 2011. The Midnight Life, another strong showing for his Mad Science label, came three years later, then Rosecrans, an EP with rapper Problem, arrived in 2016.
In addition to his solo career, DJ Quik kept busy as a producer, beginning in 1991 on the debut albums by 2nd II None and Hi-C. In subsequent years he contributed productions to albums by AMG, 2Pac, Jermaine Dupri, Shaquille O'Neal, Xzibit, 8Ball & MJG, Talib Kweli, Jay-Z, Jadakiss, Ludacris, Snoop Dogg, Murs, and Dwele, among many others. ~ Jason Birchmeier