Rappers E-40 and DJ Quik performed for a sold-out audience at Downtown Brew Friday night. Though the rappers are known for their individual musical styles, both received similar reactions upon stepping onto the stage. E-40, known for his slang creation and contribution to “mob music,” another type of Northern California music not popular in the music industry, walked onstage amid chanting of his name and bright camera flashes. DJ Quik, more recognizable for the smooth beats typical of Southern California West Coast rap, received the same reaction, but also encouraged the smoky haze that rested above the audience for most of his performance.
San Luis Obispo resident Ray Zepeda, 31, has been listening to rap music since he was a teenager and has been a DJ Quik fan for more than half his life. Having already seen E-40 perform once before, Zepeda was most excited about seeing DJ Quik but was even more thrilled that San Luis Obispo is reaching out to different musical artists.
“I’m looking forward to DJ Quik, because I’ve been listening to him for 15-plus years and I have yet to see him in the area,” Zepeda said. “I’m happy to see San Luis bringing talent and shows like this to the area so we don’t have to travel out of the area to watch these artists.”
Born Earl Stevens in Vallejo, California, E-40 is most recognizable for taking the Bay Area hyphy movement out of the Bay and introducing it to audiences nationwide. In part, the hyphy movement only came about because of the music industry’s neglect of mob music, a mid-tempo type of music that took off for a small period of time in the mid-1990s. A slang term of the word “hyperactive,” hyphy was first introduced to listeners on an album by rapper Keak Da Sneak in 1994.
The slang term is in reference to the fast-paced and spontaneous lifestyle of the Bay and encourages people to “get dumb” and “go stupid,” often in the form of wild, fast and outrageous dancing. It’s most well-known association is with ghost riding, a term for when passengers get out of a moving car and dance either on top or along side while the car is in neutral.
E-40 got his first taste of success with his rap group, The Click. Made up of his brother D-Shot, his sister Suga-T and their cousin, B-Legit, the group gained a following in the early ’90s before releasing their debut album, “Down and Dirty.” With his 2006 album “My Ghetto Report Card,” E-40 debuted at no. 1 on the Billboard hip-hop and rap album charts and gained further recognition with popular tracks “Tell Me When to Go” and “U and Dat” featuring T-Pain. Proving himself to be more than just a rapper, E-40 is also a successful businessman as owner of his own independent record label, Sick Wid It Records. He is also the owner of a Fat Boy burger restaurant in Vallejo and is partnered with Gatorade in creating 40 Water, a vitamin water that advertises to “supply the body’s daily nutritional needs” on its official Web site.
E-40, also known as Forty Fonzarelli and Charlie Hustle, came on at 9 p.m. accompanied by D-Shot, wearing his trademark thin-rimmed eyeglasses and gold chain, common accessories on most of his album covers. Though he only performed for about 45 minutes, the crowd went wild for his popular hits “U and Dat” and “White Girl,” screaming “YAY Area!” everytime the rapper drank from his red party cup.
Taking up every possible inch of the dance floor and bar area, the crowd stepped on, grinded on and sweated all over each other throughout the rapper’s set. Tempers rose to an almost violent level at one point when a tall and skinny, overeager crowd member knocked into a bigger man and his girlfriend. Yet despite the pushing, shoving and outrageous dancing during the E-40 show, 27-year-old San Luis Obispo resident Annette Ramirez, heard from friends that more people were going to see DJ Quik than E-40.
“I’m expecting DJ Quik to be better than E-40,” Ramirez said. “(DJ Quik) is a better artist. If it was just E-40, I wouldn’t go.”
Cal Poly political science sophomore Mari Rodriguez said she expected people to walk out of the concert bigger fans of DJ Quik because of his skills as a disc jockey to blend different types of records together without it being distinguishable and his ability to cross musical genres.
“A lot of people are going for E-40 because he’s more well-known but I think people are going to walk away liking DJ Quik better (because) he blends well with other artists and is a chameleon with other artists and their sounds,” she said.
Born David Blake in Compton, California, DJ Quik is a known Blood gang member (or Piru) but spells his name without a ‘C’ because ‘CK’ together mean ‘Crip Killer’ among other gang members. He first became a successful artist in the early ’90s with his debut album, “Quik is the Name.” In addition to releasing eight albums, he has produced and worked with other, more main stream artists such as TuPac, Janet Jackson, Xzibit, Whitney Houston, Snoop Dogg, Talib Kweli, Jay-Z, Dr. Dre, Eazy-E and E-40, among others. In ode to his talent as a DJ, the rapper half sang and half freestyled almost every song he performed. While he may not be as widely known, his hour and ten minute set had more of the audience dancing, waving their hands and singing to his music than E-40.
Even though DJ Quik came onstage to a thinner crowd, he played a longer set and was more involved with the audience. Wearing a #23 Casey Blake Los Angeles Dodgers jersey, DJ Quik moved across the stage, handed his microphone over to a few fans to sing and manuevered his way into the crowd to shake hands and dance with the audience while being heavily followed by two large bodyguards. Ignoring the ‘No Smoking of Anything’ signs posted on the pillars, the rapper even shared a marijuana joint with an audience member in the middle of his set as fans went crazy and camera flashes lit up the room.
“I had no idea it was this poppin’ in SLO,” he said onstage. “I ain’t goin’ to lie to ya’ll, this shit feel like a house party.”
In the end, DJ Quik came out on top among concertgoers who were expecting an entertaining and interactive show, especially Cal Poly graduate Jake Leonard, 24, and kinesiology major Joey Valero, 23. Leonard said that DJ Quik was better than E-40 and Valero attributed Quik’s more amped up show to him being a crowd pleaser.
“(The concert is) everything I thought it would be,” Cal Poly graduate Steven Lopez said. “It’s like one big party.”
But Rodriguez insisted that it is his ability as a DJ that won over fans in the end.
“He picks out a beat through his ear and is able to blend it, and when you add lyrics, it just gets that much harder,” Rodriguez said, “and that’s what makes a good DJ.”