There’s an urban legend in the hip-hop community that G-Funk pioneer DJ Quik’s 1991 debut, Quik Is the Name, went platinum stateside but sold fewer than 15 copies in all of rap-friendly England. Although the story has probably been exaggerated over the years, it’s not inconceivable. After all, the Compton native’s sound isn’t just regional; it’s site-specific. Anchored by synths, vocoder, and the most hydraulic of bass grooves, G-Funk has always had the driver in mind.
Although it still sounds best through car speakers, Quik’s sixth solo album makes a case for universalism as it sees the West Coast gangsta looking elsewhere for ideas. The deep-pocket bounce of "Ev’ryday" approximates the Dirty South; the excellent, sax-driven "Quik’s Groove 6" sounds like a cross between Gang Starr and the J.B.’s; guests Chuckey ("Gina Statuatorre") and KK ("Murda 1 Case") offer a decidedly ragga feel on their tracks. "Sex Cryme" benefits from unsung session man Erick "BLB" Coomes’s throbbing, disco-paced bass work, and even consummate New Yorkers Pharoahe Monch and Talib Kweli show up for choice guest spots. Quik’s own sex-and-cash lyricism remains far from remarkable, but Under finds his skills as a producer evolving nicely as he juggles live musicians, disparate guests, and a tried-and-true sound into an organic new whole. Now that’s gangsta.