By Steve Weinstein
By Bryan Bierman
By Lindsey Rhoades
By Chaz Kangas
By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Jena Ardell
By Jesse Sendejas Jr.
By Katherine Turman
Anti-pork cuts are one thang. Beef, however, is a different story, an overarching, dozens-to-the-nth-degree narrative few rhymers manage to escape. Da Finale, dozen-year vet Quik's brand-new, near-perfect best-of, in many ways hinges on 1995's "Dollaz + Sense" and its retrospective '98 sequel, "You'z a Ganxta." The former, an also characteristically vibrant, male-genital-obsessed answer to a beef with MC Eiht he had mistakenly thought squashed, climaxes with these gay-porn-threat lines: "I never had my dick sucked by a man before/but you gonna be the first, you li'l trick-ass 'ho/then you can tell me how it taste/but before I nut, I'll shoot some piss in your face." Concerning Eiht's "misspelled name," Quik notes, "you left the G out/'cause there ain't none in you."
That this self-professed former dealer ("Safe + Sound") and serial misspeller throws crack rocks in a glass house shouldn't be a surprise. Quik can hang as long and hoary as any West Coast G, but his career turning out platinum "money and pussy" party anthems and producing everyone from Dr. Dre to Whitney Houston points to a fundamental discomfort with thug life. Whether he's literally just "throwing bass in [the] face" of whoever stole his equipment on '91's "Born and Raised in Compton," lamenting that every city is becoming "Jus Lyke Compton" one year later, passing over "snaps" for "craps," or insisting "no I'm not" when the chorus to "You'z a Ganxta" hits, Quik prefigures or maintains the post-gangsta, occasionally talkin' shit but trying not to step in it.
But, as always, the "Streets Iz Callin'." On Da Finale's one new non-instrumental track, Quik's "on a plane/Calcutta-bound," beefing over sample clearance for what turned out to be one of 2002's best singles, owing to his productionthe Bollywood-musical-nicking "Addictive," by Truth Hurts, featuring Rakim. The loop in question, a piercing female wail that moves like smoke rising off a grill, actually sounds something like those guitar curlicues Quik has often usedalong with his nasal intonation and jumpy, real live bass-drums-etc.to enhance the flavor and burn the predictable phat from his G-funk. This disc is divided mostly between the classic first two of his five albums, Quik Is the Name and Safe + Sound, and '98's Rhythm-al-ism. Quik's later flow at times recalls Snoopwhose long-haired pimp look Quik cultivated firstor Busta Rhymes's whispery exhortations, and his sound of course acquired a digital sheen. "You'z a Ganxta" was his most hectic, complex moment, but "Trouble" (off this year's Under tha Influence, featuring old friend AMG) nonetheless twists like his earliest joints, thanks to its simple sonic riddle of an inner-looping guitar. He's still hungry.