Everybody has a story but not everyone has the credentials and experience to make theirs a compelling story. DJ Quik is equipped with both after living out moments most rappers only theorize about for artistry and promotional gain. His early beginnings, illustrated through albums Quik Is the Name and Way 2 Fonky, shed light on a South Central youth, hardened by his environment but much too talented to go the way of the predictable gangster rapper. Eventually, his musical genius would go on to expand its wings to a much greater scope on future releases in Rhythm-al-ism and Under Tha Influence, not to mention assisting music greats like 2Pac, Snoop Dogg and Jay-Z with the broadening of their horizons.
Nearly six years have gone by without so much as an inkblot on the solo quill of the David Blake, an artist who has been certified platinum, gold and everything in between, but the hiatus has merely served the greater good for the accumulating of his life’s scriptures. The Book Of David validates Quik’s record at eight albums deep and speaks loud and clear for his ability of constructing complete projects where the entertainment value maintains its consistency.
Quik’s audiobook isn’t exactly a narrative in the general sense, as it employs a great deal of vibrant party records to carve out the milieu. The few times he writes in between the chapter’s lines however, are well worth the price of admission. Giving a slick refinement to the the term “sibling rivalry” is how a “Ghetto Rendezvous” plays out in The Book Of David. Festered with anger after years of dealing with his sister’s disgraceful behavior, the ever slick-tongued Quik lets loose some frustration with lines of revelation: “you stole a car and a bike from me/looking back, I was the caretaker of a dummy/and the husband of yours, you dumb witch/was still a husband of hers, you stupid bitch...” A lone moment of crassness isn’t rattling enough to derail the festivities and Quik keeps his wheels in forward motion with cocksure rhymes and rhythms that competition should envy. “Killer Dope” is royal coronation, replete with a herald trumpet and sparse snare drumming up a purist’s celebration. Equally as stimulating, but completely different in its musical form, is “Fire and Brimstone,” the prima facie evidence that hints Quik still ranks as a conductor amongst “beatmakers” and “soundmen.”
Another triumph in the indexes of David’s book is the recruitment of characters not in the public eye at the moment, but employed for their ability to elevate their respective tracks. 90s superstars/00s vagabonds, Jon B. and Bizzy Bone, share multiple appearances to give the album sporadic boosts of adrenaline as heard on “Babylon” and the ridiculously addictive “Hydromatic” (which also features newcomer Gift Reynolds, who scores on the feel-good single “Luv Of My Life”). The party runs too long for its own good, however, as much as the later cuts pale in comparison to the inspired subject matter from the top half. Ice Cube continues his tepid verse streak over sluggish drums on “Boogie Till You Conk Out” and the Kurupt-featured “Flow For Sale” is just as disposable.
The Book Of David won’t go on to be immortalized at the top of Mr. Blake’s résumé of milestones yet it’s still assuring to see a vet who knows his way around the studio. To an extent, Hip-Hop still is a relatively young culture as its elders are still as active as many of the younger participants. With Quik back in fray, don’t expect age to set in as a deterrence for the genre anytime soon.