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Image Entertainment presents
DJ Quik: Visualism (2002)

"Live life to the extreme. You're not gonna be here that long."
- DJ Quik

Review By: Dan Heaton   
Published: May 13, 2003

Stars: DJ Quik, Hi-C, El Debarge
Other Stars: Butch Cassidy, Nate Dogg, Suga Free, Chuckey
Director: Devin Dehaven

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (contains language, nudity, and minor drug use)
Run Time: 01h:19m:58s
Release Date: March 11, 2003
UPC: 014381005820
Genre: documentary

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B+ B-B+A- B

DVD Review

While performing an energetic show, DJ Quik takes a moment to honor his associate and friend Johnny "Mausberg" Burns. He takes a bottle of liquor and places it on the floor, obviously becoming very emotional when thinking about his friend. We view shots of Mausberg rapping and hanging out with DJ Quik, which shows his talent and their bond. This moment is one of several examples that showcase a more complex personality than originally expected from DJ Quik.

DJ Quik: Visualism offers an interesting behind-the-scenes look at the rapper who grew up on the rough streets of Compton. DJ Quik is generally not considered among the top levels of hip-hop history, yet he continues to draw numerous fans. While not at at the popularity level of his peak in the early 1990s, the accomplished producer has found a niche of devoted fans. They will undoubted truly enjoy this release, which provides a nicely rounded vision of his work and daily life. These types of documentaries can often waver into blatant self-promotion and ridiculous delusions of self-importance, but DJ Quik seems like a fairly down-to-earth person.

Making it big in 1991 with the album Quik is My Name and the hit singles "Born and Raised in Compton" and "Tonight", DJ Quik rode the gangster rap craze of Dr. Dre and others during that time period. When popular hip-hop moved closer to r&b and further away from rougher artists, his success began to wane. However, DJ Quik continues to do well as a producer and did release a new album—Under tha Influence—in 2001. While still a bit simplistic lyrically, the tracks presented do seem more innovative then his more generic work from earlier days.

This film follows DJ Quik from the studio to press engagements and jam-packed concerts. Everything is edited nicely into a seamless 80-minute production that should draw even non-fans (like myself). He addresses the camera often and seems eager to acknowledge his background and buddies. Brief appearances from J-Ro of the Alcoholiks, Nate Dogg, and Hi-C showcase the different elements of DJ Quik's daily life. The time spent in the studio is interesting because you can see his eyes light up while working with the 80-monitor soundboard. His lyrics might stereotype him into the "thug rap" category, but we see a lot more in this film. The girls, silly vulgarity, and pimp-wannabe pals are all there, but the focus remains on the DJ Quik and his music creation. Director Devin Dehaven deserves significant credit for organizing a smooth feature that works for both fans and viewers new to Quik's music.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.78:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Shot entirely on digital video, DJ Quik: Visualism offers a nice presentation and a clear picture. The 1.78:1 widescreen transfer does contain some grainy moments, but it ranks well above many of the music documentaries I've viewed in the past. Time was obviously spent on providing a decent look, which does not seem to be the case in many similar releases.

Image Transfer Grade: B+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: One of the best elements of this release is the excellent soundtrack, especially when using the 5.1-channel DTS version. That track offers much more power than its counterparts and conveys a nice level of complexity. The 5.1-channel Dolby Digital transfer also impressively presents the stomping beats, but it lacks the same force. Viewers with less technology at home also should have no major complaints about the 2.0-channel Dolby Surround track.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 32 cues and remote access
5 Deleted Scenes
1 Feature/Episode commentary by DJ Quik
Packaging: unmarked keepcase
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Still gallery
  2. Four music videos
Extras Review: DJ Quik: Visualism includes an impressive collection of extra features that provide even more insight into the artist. The most interesting item is a commentary from Quik, who gives quiet statements about himself and the figures depicted. While there are significant moments of silence during the track, it is worth a viewing for devoted fans. Quik appears to be an intelligent individual who has a clear direction of where he wants to go in the future.

This disc also contains five deleted scenes that cover about 13 additional minutes of screen time. We see Quik giving more information about his sound board, working at the new record label, and discussing their old method of backyard boxing to settle issues. While nothing groundbreaking exists here, each outtake does have some noteworthy elements.

Four music videos also appear and provide an intriguing counterpoint between Quik's early and recent work. Born and Raised in Compton is an atomspheric, black-and-white piece that helped to spawn his initial popularity. Quik is the Name and Tonite also appear from his debut album and showcase the predominant look of Compton being conveyed at the time. Finally, Trouble stems from his recent album and offers a cleaner sound. The first three videos appear in adequate full-frame transfers, and the last one utilizes a more-defined widescreen format. All four songs feature DTS soundtracks.

The remaining supplement is an extensive still gallery, which serves as a quick slideshow of the moments shown in the feature. It runs for 12 minutes and includes plenty of concert photographs.

Extras Grade: B


Final Comments

I must admit that I am not a big fan of DJ Quik's music. My hip-hop tastes generally veer away from the typical gangster stories unless they're especially innovative. DJ Quik: Visualism does not completely change my opinion of his work, but it does provide a greater understanding of the thought processes involved. The presentation and extra features are also top-notch, which makes it a worthwhile release.


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