DJ Quik and Suga Free
On Saturday night, loc-wearing hoodsters, K-Day fanatics and plenty of ladies found their way to Pomona's vintage venue, Fox Pomona, for what should have been the recapturing of sentiments that lie 15 years back via the sounds of DJ Quik and SugaFree. Just down the street from the swap-meet that hosted, the hometown hero, SugaFree's earliest performances was a house full of concert-goers who'd go home without getting the chance to watch Pomona's most popular pimp display how far he'd come since those days. But before a drawn out interlude that soon revealed itself as time-filler to sort of technical issues, DJ Quik and SugaFree were putting one hell of a show. And for a while, the time-filling antics that closed the show were quite entertaining.
At 5'11″ (6'0″ with shoes), the legendary producer/rapper DJ Quik stood behind a turntable to start a set full of his classics. It was statement that'd be rendered superfluous if it was still the late 80s when Quik first got started and it was normal for DJs to rock the crowd while jockeying the music. Standing in front of the DJ, with more energy than a 4 year-old in a McDonald's ball pit, was SugaFree–an artist who might've had a more of a shot at mainstream success had it not been for his pimp lifestyle and lyrics (the kind of thing most emcee's have only rapped about).
Quik, real name David Blake, broke into tracks like “Way 2 Fonky” and “Let Me Rip Tonite” as a delighted SugaFree's busted out his best James Brown type shimmy at his side. Soon thereafter, Quik–his hair permed out to silky perfection– engaged in some pimp-like behavior of his own including champagne sipping and merengue style two-stepping that made him look Dominican than uh, Comptonian. The show's dope-a-meter was rising at an awesome rate. At one point, SugaFree served a female fan a shot of Hennessey with the bottle tucked between his legs.
SugaFree then went into a few verses of his own, most notably the one on “Down, Down, Down” that captured his style of cramming lyrics into measures composed by Quik, accompanied by a seemingly-menacing stomping around the stage that was really comedic. And just when the coveted West Coast turn-up was becoming oh so real, issues with DJ Quik's music set-up changed the course of the night's festivities.
A small conference between the two veterans on the stage hinted at the possibility that things were not running as planned. Minutes later, DJ Quik's teenage son, a rapper who went by “Lil Dave,” hit the stage for a few songs of his own. Seeing that the two had just went through more than 30 minutes of straight performing, it seemed that this was just a small break in the headliners' scheduled two-hour set, but in reality, the twilight of the night's performance had begun.
This stalling could have gone much worse though. Had it not been for SugaFree's skills as an improvisational jokester (His highlight might have been the comment he yelled to someone on the balcony; “I'll pull out my d*** and slap your ass from here”). At one point, the crowd probably should have probably left after the house DJ put on a Richard Pryor vinyl record that played for… too damn long.
In an attempt to make the show go on, Quik and SugaFree began wrestling for while, after SugaFree gets down on a short pop-locking session where had to assert that “Niggas is still pop-locking in Pomona. Don't get it fucked up!”
At one point, the lack of activity got a little nerve-racking since gangsters tend to start mad-dogging folks and throwing blows when they get restless. On the other hand, it would have been more the most entertaining thing happening.
Close to an hour of inactivity approached and the one song that was performed in that time -“Do I Love Her”- was only a symbol of false hope that only amounted to a show that never reached its dope-a-metric peak. DJ Quik hopped on the mic around 11:40 to admit that “you win some, you lose some.” Sadly, the combo said their goodbyes to the once rowdy crowd before performing their latest collaboration from “The Book of David”, “Nobody” as well the majority of SugaFree's hits “Don't Fight the Pimpin'” and the celebrated “Why U Bullshittin?” in a show that literally lacked the ability to be deemed presentable.
For the sake of fans (cholos) who spend their earnings to be entertained by the guys responsible for plenty of good memories, we hope the two artists and their management make sure this doesn't happen again.
Overheard: The answer to the nagging question, “Can U Werk Wit Dat?” was answered by a group of caramel-skinned cuties who sang “I can work with that” in an a capella unison behind me in the pit early in the show's troubled stages.
Critical bias: I feel I was more gassed to be in the building than 98%of the people there, hinted by my yelling of lyrics that hold a special place in aspiring pimp heart.
Random Notebook Dump: Outside the venue stood Officer Freeman, mentioned in several of SugaFree's verses, infamous for his allegedly corrupt ways, who probably showed up to see if could cash in on some warrants and parole violations.
The Crowd: A drunken late-20s Latino crowd who walked out the venue observably silenced by the disappointment of lost money on a bad show.
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