While Zev Love X was able to later mask himself as underground superstar MF Doom and the Genius scratched the surface of what would become GZA, both examples are well over a decade old. DJ Quik arguably needs no reintroduction. Few could contest that outside of N.W.A. and Snoop, hes been the biggest other star of the West Coast since the early 90s. Beyond just an artist, Quik has produced classic records for 2Pac, Truth Hurts and more recently, Jay-Zs Justify My Thug. One longtime collaborator has been AMG, an artist who since his 1992 club hit B***h Betta Have My Money, has been reduced to a cult following and feature work. While skeptics might have forecasted a collaborative resurgence of the two veterans on a certain imprint crudely called a graveyard, the duo, now known as The Fixxers, got their chance on Interscope Records a label not recognized for signing 36 and 37 year olds.
Approaching 40, The Fixxers have the glow of youth in their hit Can U Werk Wit Dat from The Midnite Life album. The track is high energy, low drama, and fun. After years of turmoil, including a brief stint of words for one another, so is DJ Quik and AMG. As one cracks the jokes, the other admits that gangster rap is passé. The attitude may have changed, but the perm hasnt, and neither has the fact that this music is way too fonky.
AllHipHop.com: AMG, youve been quiet over the last few years. Did you just wake up one day and decide to get back in the studio?
AMG: Nah, Ive always been in the studio working, its just been a matter of getting that s**t out there the right way.
AllHipHop.com: What do you feel has been your biggest obstacle?
AMG: Quiks perm.
AllHipHop.com: [Laughs] Youre too funny. Both of you guys are comedians; it must be fun to be back in the studio together.
AMG: Yeah, its a bunch of laughs.
AllHipHop.com: Why did you guys stop working together in the first place?
AMG: We really didnt, but sometimes a n***as gotta do what a n***as gotta do.
AllHipHop.com: And what might that be?
AMG: Ya know, just when you wanna feel like yourself and go off and do your own thing.
AllHipHop.com: And how did you feel when he went off to do his own thing?
AMG: Oh it wasnt no problem. Sometimes we used to get on each others nerves, man. You can hang out with people for a minute then motherf**kers start tripping.
AllHipHop.com: So what made yall come back together?
AMG: Well, when I got the boy out of prison, he was all stanking like a lil dog and I bought him some Hennessey and got him a couple of prostitutes.
AllHipHop.com: Were you a good friend and put money on his books?
AMG: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Im playin though. [We were] just like, Well, I guess we gotta start all over.
AllHipHop.com: But why now?
AMG: Cause we cant get real jobs.
AllHipHop.com: Where did the name Fixxers come from?
AMG: The name came from talking with [longtime manager] Greedy Greg about fixing music.
AllHipHop.com: Whats wrong with it?
AMG: Nothings really wrong with it, it is what it is we just wanna fix our pockets and music is gonna help with that. And you know were a production company also, so basically the record that were putting out right now is setting up the sound to sell and ya know get our people into a different groove. You got a lot of guys out here who wont change their sound and they dont become important in the marketplace.
AllHipHop.com: What do you think defines you as an artist?
AMG: I dont know, Rum and Coke.
AllHipHop.com: Do you have a drinking problem?
AMG: Uh I have a liquor store problem.
AllHipHop.com: You are hilarious. So you feel like you guys are making better music together now?
AMG: It all works. Thats why as far as the concept to do it together we just had to see it all the way out. The records we did together always worked and everybody was always like, When [are] yall gonna make a record together? So we just did it.
AllHipHop.com: Does it bother you when people compare your success, or lack thereof, to Quiks success as a solo artist?
AMG: It used to, but you know, I had to let it go because they dont understand the politics and how companies work. We were at different companies and my company was s**ty.
AllHipHop.com: Things like that definitely fuel the friendship fires, though doesnt it?
AMG: Well, we already know hes a diva so we dont have any problems.
[DJ Quik enters the room and the conversation.]
AllHipHop.com: AMG was keeping us entertained while you were finishing up what you were doing. We spoke about the label politics that have been a constant source of heartache for you, so how do you feel like your new situation with Interscope will be better for you?
DJ Quik: First of all, we cant keep placing blame on the other labels. The truth is that I signed a deal that didnt allow me to grow, back in the 90s. Back then I signed with Profile Records and it was a real limiting deal and I couldnt get out of it cause it was a strong structured New York style deal. It wasnt anything we could do to get any elbow room it was what it was but it was etched in stone and the amount of money it wouldve cost me to fight them, they wouldnt have paid my royalties so it was a catch 22.
AllHipHop.com: Yeah, I think a lot of people are surprised to find out all the politics involved in these deals going in as new artists.
DJ Quik: Those contracts came with the smell of a penis on them, and if you didnt pick up the scent, that motherf**ker came back to bite you on the ass.
AllHipHop.com: Thats a visual analogy. [Laughs] Before you got here, I asked AMG what was holding his career back and he said your perm
DJ Quik: [Laughs] Hes a fool, alright. Im gonna tie it up in some cornrows and put the do rag on it and put a hat on.
AllHipHop.com: It seems as though the chemistry is still there for you guys, why did you choose now to come back together?
DJ Quik: Because theres music that we want to do now together as a team. Hes got great ideas and Ive got great ideas and no ones being Napoleon anymore. I got over the taking out my frustrations on the people around me. I became an easier person to work with. I came to them and asked, not on my hands and knees, but I came in a super vulnerable position because we are not making any noise and were all way below the radar. Were in the Hip-Hop history books and before we get old and grey and tired, can we do something monumental and Im willing to lend myself 100% so that we get the respect that we deserve. Its not like were on some ole Rodney Dangerfield stuff, but I think that more props are due to us. Im not bitter about not winning any Grammys even though I have well more than 15 million records worth of plaques on my wall. I just want my respect than I can move on to other things.
AllHipHop.com: Do you feel like youre gonna have to cross-over to ever achieve that?
DJ Quik: I wonder.
AllHipHop.com: At the end of the day, does it matter really?
DJ Quik: No, not really because Im a stylist. I still have my style and now were selling something different.
AllHipHop.com: It always kills me to hear people talk about selling out and crossing-over, but isnt it the artists objective to sell music to the masses and chart and all that?
DJ Quik: Thats the catch 22. We are in an industry thats based on double standards. I hate to be all political or smart ass about it, but this industry is a double standard business. You cant be rich and famous, you have to be either or. My thing is yes we do plan on involving more people in our music now because our music is more accessible now. Its not just underground misogynistic s**t anymore. Its not just shabby street talk thats targeted at the n***a around the next block, its really about us having a good time and sharing that vibe with these records.
AllHipHop.com: What about the diehard Quik fans who might have a problem with you branching out and maybe sounding more Southern on some songs, compared to your original sound, does that matter?
DJ Quik: Yeah, it does, it matters a lot, actually. But in all honesty, they should expect us to grow and to change because anything that stops growing dies.
AllHipHop.com: Are you worried that youll lose your identity being a part of a duo?
DJ Quik: I dont think I ever really had an identity. Anyways, all my s**t was sample based, I pulled from Parliament, I pulled from James Brown, I pulled from R&B groups like everyone else. My s**t is all sample based.
AllHipHop.com: You still recognize a Quik track when you hear it
DJ Quik: Thats probably because of the way we do EQ levels, but for the most part I think the some of them might be a little disgruntled initially to hear there are no Jazz interludes or no real heavy, heavy instrumentations and guitar solos and no choppy acoustic piano; all thats out the window. Were trying to go more simplistic with it more streamline. The best analogy I can give is Im trading in my big clunky tub boat of a sound for a stream lined little speed boat. Its still a boat and Im still the driver, I just want to go a little faster.
AllHipHop.com: How do you remain focused and stay true to who you are?
DJ Quik: I look at all the simple cool meaningful things in life. Like I raise Bonsai trees now.
DJ Quik: Because they are a direct reflection of whats going on in my life. If my tree is happy, healthy, strong and growing, then I am. If it starts getting dry and brittle and wilted, then that means its being neglected, so its like the guage for me for how Im doing in my life.
AllHipHop.com: So when did this Quik develop?
DJ Quik: Right when I got out of jail!
AllHipHop.com: I was so upset with you when I heard you went to jail.
DJ Quik: Dont be upset with me, be upset with my sisters, man. Theyre crack-heads now, and they wont stop at anything to get some money, and thats unfortunate, and I hate that those are my sisters and I love em to death and I want to see them well; I gave them everything I had. I tried to explain, I cant just give you $5,000 for clothes or I cant get you this Infinity or whatever; I just cant do it.
AllHipHop.com: So whats next?
DJ Quik: Were selling ourselves [and] our sound; its a dope, clean, linear sound and its fun till the days end, and its bonafide. We want to be able to produce some of our favorite people. I want to work with Justin, Missy, Dre, Pharrell, Gwen, I want to work with some of these people and the only way to do that is to give them something new and funky, and thats what we plan to do.
AllHipHop.com: Well Im happy to see friends reunite and I wish you guys all the best
DJ Quik: Yeah, Im happy too. But it ain’t easy; I gotta wear a lot of make up from all the black eyes I be getting from these n***as when they think I start getting on that Hollywood s**t again. [Laughs]