1/2 DJ Quik, "Rhythm-alism," Profile/Arista. (***)

After Compton rap artists such as King T and N.W.A put their city on the map, DJ Quik surfaced as one of the city's most talented hip-hop musicians. On his first three albums--1991's "Quik Is the Name," 1992's "Way 2 Fonky" and 1995's "Safe + Sound"--Quik rapped, produced and played most of the instruments, demonstrating his far-ranging talents. A long layoff has not had a negative effect on him. On "Rhythm-alism," he delivers his richest music to date, meshing lush keyboard, flute, guitar, organ, piano and drum patterns.

Paradoxically, these serene, polished sounds serve as the backdrop for the high-pitched rapper's signature subject matter: explicit sexual romps with friends AMG, Hi-C, Suga Free and others. Unlike the many rap outfits whose freaky tales sound menacing and evil, the bubbly beats backing these narratives make them sound friendly and fun, even wholesome. Because the music is so enjoyable, it's easy to overlook the collection's clever wordplay.


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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