In Quik’s own words, Rosecrans is: “a long ass avenue that goes from the beach to the streets / And it probably ain’t got no potholes in it.” The funny thing is, that sentence perfectly describes his new album Rosecrans too.
The recently-released collaboration between Compton products DJ Quik and Problem constitutes one long ass groove that will certainly get you all the way from West Rancho Dominguez to Manhattan Beach and back. If you’re on one of LA’s notorious freeways and the right song from this chunky, loose, laid-back, end-to-end jam session comes on at the wrong moment, you might just drive right on by your exit and keep going ‘til you run out gas — unless you’re riding with your day ones and they have taps on the Petro (that’s old school LA lingo, if you don’t know).
On paper, it makes sense; two of the most popular and versatile artists from two generations of the same city’s storied rap legacy coming together to make some old-school G-funk that slaps just as hard on 2017 as it would in 1997. In your ears, it’s a mind-expanding, whirling, swirling fantastic voyage that takes you from the deepest, fattest basslines to the clearest, clapping snares with that signature sound that could have only come from the Hub City’s sharpest production mind.
While many know Quik from way, way back, with slappers like “You’z a Gangsta,” “Way Too Fonky,” and Tony Toni Tone’s masterpiece dancefloor melter “Let’s Get Down,” never, ever, ever, ever, ever let it be said (*extremely Smokey from Friday voice*) that Quik’s pen has slacked up in the nearly three decades he’s held court as the premier rapper-producer and hometown legend that he is. From debut Quik Is The Name to 2014’s The Midnight Life, he’s accumulated one of the longest, strongest discographies in the game — albeit one that’s been largely overlooked by rap’s mostly NY-based, mainstream establishment.
Meanwhile, Problem has never had a major label full length release, yet for the last seven years has kept rap radio firmly under his sticky, green thumb with hit after hit. He’s become known as something of a singles artist, for the most part eschewing the arbitrary industry dictate requiring an artist to release EPs and LPs in order to stay relevant or garner anything resembling success. Joints like “My Squad,” “Like Whaaat,” “Walk Thru” with Rich Homie Quan, and “Bout Me” bang out of whips all summer in LA, keeping the neighbors up all hours of the night, and setting off each and every “Function” — another song that kept the clubs in a stranglehold, courtesy of E-40, YG, and IamSu!.
When the two combined like the ratchet Wonder Twins activating their twin turnuUp powers on the original six-song Rosecrans EP, they left a thirst behind that could only be quenched by more music. Fortunately, rather than teasing future releases that would never materialize like many of their contemporaries, they blessed the streets with a full-length blowout of their previous work, like throwing a fresh set of rose gold hundred spokes on the Brougham.
The provisions are classic Quik: Elaborate, on “European Vacation” featuring longtime collaborator AMG, glossy on “A New Nite/Rosecrans Groove,” whiplash-inducing on “Bad Azz.” “Move Something” is Problem’s high point, as the beat invites twerkage of the highest velocities and he snaps off witty, randy raps to match. He and Quik trade raps throughout the about — what else — women, weed, and that lovely California weather alongside a roster of guests that features hometown all-stars Game, Boogie, Buddy, MC Eiht, family friend Wiz Khalifa, and an absolutely hilarious appearance from super pimp Suga Free dropping his traditional gems that will make you feel bad for laughing.
Quik even manages to breathe life back into Dom Kennedy’s flow, which by default makes “Bad Azz” an instant picnic classic. However, the highlight of the album is its eponymous centerpiece track. For four glorious minutes, Quik inhabits a level of groove normally reserved for angels and Bootsy himself, with a lead/sample/bass line three piece combo that will take any listener higher than the finest Cali kush, no smoke necessary.
Of course, as a longtime OG of the game, Quik has plenty of wisdom to add to the book of David, flinging knowledge darts like, “And I still own the equipment that brought my deal / But smart enough to buy multiples cause y’all n***as steal” and “Why people scared of Illuminati when you can’t even see it? / You should more afraid of that water before you go pee in it.” But don’t sleep on Problem, as he spazzes for the nearly the full length of “You Are Everything,” delivering two minutes of straight bars to remind newcomers how he made his name before being labeled as a party rapper.
Both as MCs and as producers, Quik and Problem set the bar for summer cruising music, strip club anthems, and picks to get the picnics popping. Rosecrans is the perfect album for the upcoming warmer months; even if you live nowhere near a beach, haven’t seen a palm tree in months, and never get the chance to cruise the avenue in a drop top, you can throw this one on and feel like you’re right there hitting switches and swerving lanes in the sunshine state alongside some real homies, no destination in mind, and not one pothole in sight.
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Rosecrans is out now. Stream it above and get it here.