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*** DJ QUIK, "Balance & Options," Arista

May 14, 2000|SOREN BAKER

Throughout his underappreciated nine-year career, Compton rapper-producer DJ Quik has been one of the few hip-hop artists capable of continually refining and enhancing his sound. With his fifth stellar album (in stores Tuesday), Quik positions himself as an elder statesmen who has witnessed too much death and negativity.

He implores hip-hop artists to be more responsible and creative with their music on the smooth "Change Da Game," attacks male-bashers (are you listening, TLC?) on the pulsating "Sexuality" and calls for gang unity on the somber "I Don't Wanna Party Wit U." Although Quik has been more respected as a producer than as a rapper, his lyrics show tremendous insight and depth.

As in his other collections, the music on "Balance & Options" is among the most innovative and textured hip-hop has to offer. While Quik's funk-inspired musicianship shines on his two thoroughly seductive instrumental selections, "Roger's Groove" and "Quik's Groove V," he demonstrates his range with the hypnotic "U Ain't Fresh!" and the feel-good "Pitch In on a Party." Save for a few lengthy interludes, Quik delivers another strong album from start to finish.

*

Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent). The albums are already released unless otherwise noted.

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