DJ Quik & Suga Free

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, CA, 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) as well as rapper. 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.

In addition to his solo career, DJ Quik kept busy as a producer, beginning in 1991 on the debut albums by 2nd II None (2nd II None) and Hi-C (Skanless). In subsequent years he contributed productions to albums by AMG (Bitch Betta Have My Money, 1992), Penthouse Players Clique (Paid the Cost, 1992), Tony! Toni! Tone! (House of Music, 1996), 2Pac (All Eyez on Me, 1996), the Luniz (Lunitik Muzik, 1997), Suga Free (Street Gospel, 1997), Jermaine Dupri (Life in 1472, 1998), Deborah Cox (One Wish, 1998), Shaquille O'Neal (Respect, 1998), King T (Thy Kingdom Come, 1998), Snoop Dogg (No Limit Top Dogg, 1999), Mausberg (Non Fiction, 2000), 8Ball & MJG (Space Age 4 Eva, 2000), Xzibit (Restless, 2000), Kurupt (Space Boogie: Smoke Oddessey, 2001), Talib Kweli (Quality, 2002), Truth Hurts (Truthfully Speaking, 2002), Jay-Z (The Black Album, 2003), Jadakiss (The Kiss of Death, 2004), and Ludacris (Red Light District, 2004), among many others. Jason Birchmeier, Rovi

This gem of an artist moved to Oakland California at the age of four. The daughter of a saxophone player, and granddaughter of a jazz manager; Ms. Be was introduced to several genres of music. "There wasn't a time that my father wasn't playing music. There was music playing from the time I woke up, to the time I went to sleep." At an early age Ms. Be was listening to artists such as John Coletrane, Thelonius Monk, Gil Scott Heron, Bobby Blue Bland, Howling Wolf, Muddy Waters, Doug Carn, and James Brown. "When I was about 7 my dad flipped the script. He began to bring home albums of my generation! I'd be walking home from school and I could hear the music blasting from my house from a block away. But the music wasn't always jazz or blues, sometimes it was Public Enemy, Whodini, Run DMC, and other artists of the 80s".

Ms. Be was also influenced by the story of Frankie Beverly & MAZE. Ms. Be's parents had a close relationship with the group before they became an R&B sensation. One of their popular hits "Golden Time of Day" was written by Frankie on the piano that still sits in Ms. Be's childhood home. "I remember visiting Frankie's house after the group had entered stardom. It was the 1st time I had ever been in a mansion. My mom used to drive the group to their local shows back in the day and I watched them transition to fame. Witnessing their success after such hard work of was inspiring!"

Rapping was natural for Ms. Be. "My grandfather would always tell me how important words are. He urged me to strengthen my vocab- always mailing me books and articles from the newspaper." Ms. Be developed a passion for words which soon grew into a passion for creating stories. It was only a matter of time before she learned to put a beat behind some of the vocabulary that was floating around in her brain. "Hell, I even remixed the Sesame Street song when I was a little girl!" says Ms. Be.

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