They are legends in their own right, representing West Coast Hip Hop proudly with a collective joining of over 40 years in the game in experience, trials and triumphs. They have collaborated together and done numerous solo projects, but what they haven’t done is tour together, in a true Hip Hop experience that will blow the roof off of Melbourne and Sydney respectively. DJ Quik and Kurupt are the real deal when it comes to authentic West Coast hip hop and are legends in the game that has provided them both with the soundtrack to their lives.
The Westcoast Icons tour, brainchild of DeltaBravo Touring, has brought Quik and Kurupt together for the first time on tour in Australia and holds a special place in the hearts of these returning Hip Hop icons. Both are incredibly humble, belying their double decade longevity in the game. DJ Quik, hailing from Compton LA holds court as the uber successful rapper, producer and actor, coined his stage name to reflect the time it takes him to produce a beat. More than a producer, Quik has an enviable discography spanning from his debut ‘Quik is the Name’ released in 1991 through to his recent works on 2011’s ‘The Book of David’ to his 2012 collaborative effort “The Demons Carol” single with friend and tour mate Kurupt.
Kurupt holds rank as a true legend in the game, rapping and emceeing longer than most of us could dare to dream. Born and bred in Philadelphia and moving out West to pursue his rap dreams Kurupt went on to not only pursue his dreams, he owned them by taking on the role of former Executive Vice President of Death Row Records for a period of time before returning back to lab to do what he does best. His debut album ‘ Tha Streetz Iz a Mutha’ dropped in 1999 and ensued a discography containing truly legendary material, whilst his collaborative album with Quik , “Blaqkout” in 2009 breathed new life into Hip Hop.
This interview was more than a straightforward question and answer conversation , it was a pure experience interviewing the true icons of West Coast hip hop. Candid, honest, funny and inspiring, it is my desire that this interview becomes a piece that will shine a light on their journey’s in Hip Hop thus far, how far they have come, where they are going and the legacy they will they pass on to the next hip hop generation. I was not expecting to interview this legenadary pair, who had only arrived in Melbourne the same morning, but will forever be honoured and grateful for their time to talk so openly about the topics that praise, create, make and break Hip Hop. Quik and Kurupt are living legends, who to this day maintain a steadfast level of humility, down to earth humour, hardworking creativity and in your face honesty that packs a mighty a punch. So here’s to the Westcoast Icons, thank you for your music, your passion and the history lesson on how the West was won!
Welcome back to Australia guys. Now this is not your first time individually in this country ( both have toured on separate occasions over the years ) but it is your first time touring together. Tell me how did this come about?
Quik – Thank you very much, it’s great to be back. Shout out to DeltaBravo for bringing us together for this tour man, it’s about time me and my brother did something out here together so I’m glad we here.
Kurupt – Well thank you very much, it’s so good to be back. I’m feeling great you know, just trying to get it can you dig it ( laughs).
What can Melbourne and Sydney expect from your show? How do you feel Australian audiences react to your hip hop?
Quik: Classic music, loud obnoxious clear music ( laughs). You know the West Coast is known for its sonic clarity, like you know beautiful sound. We will sound just like the records do, you know what you see is what you get with us. That’s what our music is you know, we got that real West Coast green music so everyone will be in for a good time.
As for the audiences out here man they go retarded with our stuff ( laughs), they are awesome! It’s really humbling to know that my music has reached people all the way down here and that they love it like they do. When I first came out here I didn’t know what to expect, what my musical impact was going to be like you know what I mean. I’ve been in the game 21 years and I only come out to Australia in the 19th year in my career, at a time when most people don’t really care anymore what you doing at that point so as an artist you are like what do you expect you know. Then we get in the club and people are going nuts with my music,rhyming with me, it’s like amazing, makes me feel younger!
Kurupt: I’ve always loved the Australian audience you feel me. I’m going on 20 years in this game and visiting Australia, the country and its people have always been so cool to me. Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi ( laughs)
Quik, you have been in the game for 21 years, inspiring DJ’S, producers and rappers to get in and follow in your footsteps. Looking back on your career, what do you think has been the main ingredient of your longevity and consistency in Hip Hop?
Just transparency with my music whether good or bad whether people liked it or not, just expressing myself really as that’s what music is all about really. I’ve always just kept it plain and clear you know and put what I’m feeling on a record. As I’ve matured and gotten older I’ve begun filtering a little better with what I put on my albums but back then it used to be raw and funky and I felt that it resonated with people and them with me so lucky for me it’s worked and continues to today. I’ve lost some fans along the way and I’ve gained some fans along the way but I’ve always stayed true to my music.
Kurupt, your history runs deep, close to two decades as well as one of Hip Hop’s most celebrated emcees in the game. What do you attribute to your relationship with Hip Hop lasting as long as it has?
I am hip hop, period, point blank. I breath it, I live it, it’s in my lungs. I come from a generation where we call ourselves MC’s and it doesn’t get any realer than that……thank you very much ( laughs)
East Coast & West Coast Hip Hop…… a conversation topic that always sparks debate, comparison and maybe even competitive banter between fans. You both represent West Coast hip hop in all of its glorious history, can I ask you what you think the differences & similarities are between the two coasts?
Quik: To me the similarities are the hustle, we all want to win you know. The differences lies in the dialect you know, we speak two different types of languages, New York is really sped up, LA is slowed down and all about the backbeat and that’s what it is you know , we play our beats back and they speed ahead. You know New York are lyrical miracles and LA, we tend to put more emphasis on the beat and music and that’s all it is!.
Do you both feel that the tensions that occured all those years ago with the so called East Coast / West Coast Hip Hop rivalry is still prevailant in todays Hip Hop or have the media and industry taken heed?
Kurupt: There was an East Coast / West Coast rivalry? Mmmmmm how do I put this….. New York will always be the Mecca of Hip Hop, the original birthplace and it always gets respect for that. That’s what New York is about and that’s what we love about New York. But there has never been a problem you know between the coasts. The difference between East Coast and West Coast is irrelevant as its all hip hop at the end of the day. It’s all bred from New York and then you have these branches that spread from LA, to down South to Miami all over , just branched out. So you know in regards to the historical reference of the so called East Coast / West Coast rivalry, no disrespect to you mama but the media were the ones that were responsible for the East Coast / West Coast war. I’m just being honest and keeping it real when I say that there was no war, never would have been the issues that arouse at the time if the flames weren’t sparked and ignited by the media at the time provoking the whole situation back then. I speak on it like this as the media as a whole has to take responsibility for putting the two coasts up against each other at the time, looking for shit that wasn’t and still isn’t there really. It was a feud that involved a few people at the time and got labeled a war and turned into something bigger than what it was, so for me I am always going to say it like this to media outlets to take a look back at this event in our hip hop history as something that should never have been labeled a war against coasts, It was a feud amongst a few people, got blown the fuck outta proportion and encouraged to be something it wasn’t by the media outlets. You gotta stand up for what you do, take accountability and be responsible for that what you decide to report. Period
Quik: For me I tended to have play it down a little as back in the day whenever I would do interviews trying to promote my albums, all the journalists would try to get me to play up their spin on what the East Coast / West Coast Beef and I would always say “ What Beef” you know, like we are all hustlers and we are all competitors in this game trying to win you know . That’s not beef, that’s survival in the music game. We are trying win. But the media man they were always trying to cause something and get me say something bad about the East Coast you now , and it was just not how I played the game you know. You know the East Coast started to dislike me for a while not because I said anything bad because I didn’t, it was just the way they spun the articles man, it was crazy! I don’t really like to do many interviews so you are lucky i’m talking to you today Ms Hennessey ( laughs) On a closing note the West Coast is etched in stone in Hip Hop history as we all just pulled together and created our own sound and worked together as a whole.
This tour is called The West Coast Icons Tour ….. how does the word Icons sit with you both?
Quik: I remember djing Janet Jackson’s Icons concert for MTV a few years ago and seeing the audience she had I knew I wasn’t an Icon yet you know ….. I was just djing the concert, I was nervous and sweating and shit ( laughs) but just looking at the people in the audience waiting to see her I was like wow, this is on a whole other level I wasn’t even ready for. I couldn’t believe I was djing at a real icons concert you know, so I never would have thought I am an icon, as I’m a real humble guy and look at myself not from outside in but inside out ,so you know it takes a lot for me to take the Icon word on myself. Shoot sometimes I forget I’m DJ Quik till I walk past a mirror and look at the man looking at me going hey Quik ( laughs) and I’m like oh fuck that’s me!
Kurupt: Well you know Icons is a very strong word and I truly appreciate the recognition and I just embrace and bask in it you know that I am even considered as such so …….thank you very much! Sexual chocolate, sexual chocolate ( laughs)
To end this amazing interview on a personal tip, how would you best describe each other to each other?
( Quik on Kurupt) Kurupt is a person that can help overcome writers block , if you are writer, and those a pivotal people to have when you are a songwriter. To me he is like the Scotty Pippin to Dr Dre’s Michael Jordan in the studio you know, Kurupt is there for anybody. He does something to your record that just brings this incomparable street sense , almost like his signature stamp of street credibility you know what I’m saying. He is official you know , it’s like once he is in the studio it’s a wrap. It’s the way he rhymes and how quickly he puts together words and rhymes and metaphors at the drop of a hat, do word play , like he is the Willy Wonka of Hip Hop man, nuff said!
(Kurupt on Quik) : Quik is Midas, everything he touches turns to gold. Inspirational, musical and as a man growing up in South Central. Classic, Quik had the opportunity to work with Eazy E and at the same time had the opportunity to work with Dr Dre, they let me in the studio with my crazy ass ( laughs) , at the same time worked with Tony Toni Tone. Epic, first mixtape I ever heard came from the West Coast and it was Quik. Teacher – he can’t even have you in the studio without teaching you something new. He taught me how to use the new protools. Legendary, career changing, door opener but most importantly a great friend
Westcoast Icons Tour Dates:
Melbourne – Friday 18th October
Sydney – Saturday 19th October
Tix still available at www.oztix.com.au
Always Hip Hop