“Ain’t that the kettle callin’ the pot round and hot? / ain’t that the reason you bout to be found bound and shot?”

Check out those champ sweat-pant pockets.

If you talk about ‘underrated’ Quik is always mentioned, but everyone seems to be satisfied with it that way because after every beat he makes he stays there. Trauma shows him strong as ever, a year after some of his best beats laced that amazing Suga Free album, got in some drama and emerged with an album on par with his best. And it’s not gonna be on many year-end lists, or if it does it’ll be safely near the bottom. Meanwhile Quik languishes as if he was still in Dre’s gigantic shadow, even though Quik is more California than Dre has been in ages, even if Dre’s rep is un-toppleable.

“I transferred out of Compton high school with a gun in my pants ready for whatever comes and I’m prayin’ I ain’t gotta be the one shot up in the hospital simply because Compton never had one.
Fuck it.”

Lyrically he still brings heat too, not as charismatic as Suga Free but similarly jokey and clever over beats that groove with rattling funk, not precise like Dre but slightly off, toddling around but always in the pocket. As usual Wyclef is the lone misstep but the rest of this is high-class. B-Real rocks the single “Fandango,” which kicks off with a SWEET RIP (a SWEET RIP is also the name of a solid hit in Ken Griffey Jr. Baseball for N64) and shifts into horn-blasted Cali funk. High profile guest stars Game (still shoring up his Cali cred, surely aware that he’s facing an uphill battle for a sophomore release sans Dre’s focus and 50’s hooks) and T.I. (pulling off “Indescretions in the Back of a Limo” with more skill than he usually supplies in the sex rap dept.) and Luda perfectly capturing cool California rolling lo-rider “just jumped out the shower” clean hot sunny Californ-i-day.

But Quik still has my favorite verses.

“Let me take a moment to tell you just what it is
C-A-L-I-F-O-R-N-I-A is the biz,
celebrity down to charity and back to the kids
every level of living status except for the mid,
a paradise situation (if thats what you make it)
red and blue equal yellow tape (if that’s where you take it)
forest fires and earthquakes and man-made lakes
a prescription for chronic tonic to ease your aches
and if you dress right you can have the best night
two or three at a time and let the rest fight
the diamonds and red gold might give you a head cold
you freeze like a jello mold when you hit the light
On rosecrans you can’t make a U-turn.
Cross the T flats and try to make new birds or shoot back
It’s war and peace with no help from police
Either you restin’ in peace or tryin’ to conquer the streets
in California….”

So in the end Dre’s shadow doesn’t matter because Quik knows where his skills are and rides them hard – groove, pristine production, Cali atmosphere, quirky funk, funny gangsta high-pitched rapping with clever lyrics, love of his hometown and that unparalleled west coast vibe. Let’s get Quik off the ‘underrated’ list for good please?!

DJ Quik feat. B Real – Fandango

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