DJ Quik vs MC Eiht: the battle of Compton

DJ Quik vs MC Eiht: the battle of Compton

The feud between DJ Quik and MC Eiht is probably one of the most violent in the history of rap, and one of the longest. Even if it was not the most mediatized, Nas and Jay-Z or 2pac and Biggie hold the palm at this level, it was very followed in the circles of Hip Hop. Both being gang members and real gangsters, the stakes could seem high. Back on a beef that lasted more than 6 years.

Was this beef born from a real hatred between the two artists, members of rival gangs? Or simply a misunderstanding? Or a commercial will? All these reasons are probably at the origin of the feud. To understand what could have started this feud that has become emblematic in underground circles, let’s go back a little bit, to the moment when things started to fester.

At the end of the 80’s, DJ Quik was a young artist who was trying to make a place for himself in the Californian Hip Hop scene while artists like NWA, Ice T or Too Short were having success with gangsta rap. He is in search of recognition, having been kicked out of his mother’s house and wandering in the streets of Compton, he sells his mixtapes made with the means of the edge in the street beside his parties as a DJ in the local clubs. As we all know, one of the ways to get attention and buzz is to take on its competitors. On one of his mixtapes, The Red Tape, released in the late 90s, DJ Quik made a direct reference to his Compton rivals, Compton’s Most Wanted, and an indirect reference to N.W.A.. His mixtape going more or less unnoticed, nobody really remarked this attack. At this moment, things remain there.

However his mixtape does not pass so unnoticed because it allows him to sign a contract with Profile Records and to release his first album Quik Is The Name at the beginning of 1991. Eazy-E, founder of Ruthless, also tried to sign him on his label, but too late, the contract was already signed with Profile, which Quik will regret at the time. Anyway, Quik gets his recognition with an album certified gold in four months. No more need for him to diss his opponents, no bellicose allusion will be made on Quik Is The Name.

On his side, MC Eiht would have, according to the fans, got wind of this direct attack to his group, and will answer with Def Wish released on Straight Checkn ‘Em in 1991, the first of a long series of diss-tracks. However, Eiht would later state that it wasn’t an attack on Quik and that he didn’t even know who he was at the time. Fans interpreted the song as an attack when in fact Eiht’s intent was not belligerent. But fans saw a budding war between two Compton gangsta rap artists, and a neighborhood feud between two rival gangs, the Tree Top Piru Bloods for Quik and the 159th St. Tragniew Park Compton Crips for Eiht. The most street, bloody and long beef in the history of Hip Hop was born from a misunderstanding. At least, that’s what Eiht said afterwards, yet the lyrics of Eiht leave little room for interpretation…

MC Eiht, Def Wish

Phase 2, Its the brother who be taxing.
Running over punks like my brother Bo Jackson.
As your card’s on freeze frame your chicken.
It’s the Eiht double M and I’ll keep sticking.
All that pay back shit is in effect.
Cause I’m the type a brother who’ll blast your ass, check.
So if your biting my lyrics, then fool you’ll pay.
As you commence to say em you’ll get tooth decay.
So give up to the Compton psycho, 
Biting me Quik will mean you get the duck sick quick.
Not a funny man, but still I gives surprises.
Lyrics are deadly plagues, the death toll rises.
So now your shit outta luck with your rhyme scheme.
And now I hunt your punk ass in your bad dreams.
Another victory on my list.
One more punk ass fool with a def wish.

The rival MCs will then engage in a merciless battle of diss-tracks for the next few years. Is the hatred between the two real? It may have become so through the various attacks, even though there was no real animosity between the two originally, other than the fact that they belonged to rival gangs. But in the local underground, the war will turn into a real verbal war between gangs, although there has never been a physical confrontation between the two rappers or between the gangs as a result of this feud, at least not officially or publicly reported.

DJ Quik, Way 2 Fonky

And to you motherfuckers thinking you want to fade me?
I’m running the underground, so fool, you’re crazy
And you better step, ‘fore I beat you with a switch
And tie you up, and make you watch, while I’m fucking yo’ bitch
Cause I’m a low-pro nigga that you should not fol-low
Putting suckers in the wind cause my voice is hollow
Put the pistol to your grill and your punk ass rolls
You grab my shit and I pull the trigger now you’re missing a nose
And umm, I don’t fear your crew because my back is got
Chasing nothing but the suckers when we hit yo’ spot
Yeah, straight Bronx killer, mark ass niggas can’t check me
But gotta respect me, cause I’m Way 2 Fonky

However, after Eiht’s response on Def Wish, Quik had no choice but to respond, as a gangster he had to defend his status. He will answer with Way II Fonky in 1992 released on the album of the same name. At this time, the attacks become much more direct and much more violent. The allusions do not leave any more place to the interpretation with tracks completely dedicated to the adversary. On his side, the death threats made by MC Eiht, accompanied by Compton Most Wanted, will be real, voluntary and directly targeted, especially on his song Def Wish II released in 1992 on the classic Music to Driveby. This song will be accompanied by a clip where Quik is staged in a nightmare in which he is chased and ambushed by the CMW, leading him to death. Quik’s response will be on Let You Havit.

The feud reached its peak with MC Eiht’s response on his solo album We Come Strapped in 1994 continuing his series with a third Def Wish. Quik would respond again on his album Safe + Sound with the bloody track Dollaz + Sense originally released on the Death Row soundtrack Murder Was The Case. He will perform this song during the Source Awards in New York in 1995, which will have the consequence to aggravate the fire even more. However, the quarrel will remain silent until a last answer of Eiht in 1996 on his album Death Threatz. Then, the death of 2pac and Notorious BIG will come to calm the game and the diss-tracks will stop, although the beef will officially end in 2002 when they will reconcile through Snoop Dogg and Daz Dillinger who will insist that they settle their difference. 

Even if the real diss-tracks lasted for about six years, from 1990 to 1996, the feud itself lasted almost 15 years from the first Quik attack in 1987 until the reconciliation in 2002. It is therefore by far the longest feud in the history of Hip Hop and also one of the bloodiest with violent and merciless diss-tracks. This beef was not the most publicized, but it remains today one of the most emblematic of Hip Hop, with a feud that involves two of the biggest gangsta rappers of Compton and the West Coast.

By Grégoire Zasa

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