It’s 2007 and a lot of things have changed in the industry. From crunk to snap to whatever the hell else garbage they throw out us, music is not the same as it once was. There is always one constant and that is people still make great records, you just have to hunt for them. Enter, Quik and AMG now known as The Fixxers. Contrary to what you might believe the name has nothing to with the pathetic state of hip-hop, it’s just a name that works for these two pioneers. They have a new single that’s got radio buzzing, an album in the works, and are back in the limelight with the heavy weight of all heavy weights, Interscope. I got a chance to chat with the legends about the state of the industry, what’s changed since “Bitch Betta Have My Money” and the new deal. These guys drop some knowledge for the younger generation. Just because they are pioneers doesn’t mean that they have lost a step.
HipHopSite: What up fellas?
AMG: It’s all work, us old cats are used to the work, we like deadlines and we like to make sure everything is flowing smooth. Dirty West was my brainchild and we kicked it off with a few record a couple years ago and now we have one of the cats back in the camp and we didn’t really know how it was going to turn out. We knew that “Can U Werk Wit Dat” was a cool record but we really didn’t know how it was going to turn out. We let a couple people hear it and here we go. This is really just the beginning, radio is loving the record and we just dropped the video.
No need for introductions, we know you have been collaborating for years but why form an actual group this late in your careers?
AMG: Wow, that’s a hell of a question. Who says it’s late in the career? (Laughs). This might be the just the beginning, my career might last 50 years, you never know.
AMG: When “Bitch Betta Have My Money” came out I was only 19 and that was 1991. The thing is what we were trying to do last year is put the whole crew 2nd II None back together and do an album and try to get some attention. The go ahead and break off and do our own records again to introduce us to this next generation. Everybody loves to remember you but when you have new shit out that doesn’t mean the public will go buy it. We wanted to come with something strong but that reunion fell apart, so Quik wanted to come over to the studio and bang out some beats and get a new feel for what I’m doing. That is how the “Can U Werk Wit Dat” record came about. I did that track and it took me like 3 weeks to get Quik to rap on it because he was hesitate to something outside of the west coast market.
When I heard the track I didn’t think you did the production, I thought it was a down south producer.
AMG: Exactly, we have to what is going on right now. It’s not to diss the west coast by any means but I have to do what is happened. Back in the day, those songs were what were happening and when we made our records we birthed the Midwest and we basically helped the South. My sound combined the New Jack Swing sound and the West Coast sound. People were dancing and partying, I like to dance and party.
Quik: We were partying, I was break dancing and shit and you liked it.
AMG: I’m not talking about break dancing; I’m talking about party party.
Quik: True, n*ggas in the hood weren’t dancing like Scoob and Scrap Lover
AMG: He said like Scoob and Scrap Lover, n*ggas weren’t dancing like that like that. Break you ankle n*gga. (Laughs)
Quik: Real talk, thanks for putting that out there, that’s dope.
Why the name “The Fixxers”, does that have something to do with the state of hip-hop?
Quik: It’s not political at all. Me, I’m an engineer; my job is to fix things naturally. I was mad when my boy Greedy Greg asked us if we liked the name. It was a conversation between him and AMG and I was all for it. I think I was game before anybody else because it just makes sense.
It’s a great way to reintroduce yourselves to the kids of 2007.
Quik: Yeah, man.
AMG: The name is a real name and it means something. We can’t just call each other Quik and AMG. My thing is to make motherfuckers think of something new and open the door. There is always resistance to something to new, like why did Quik take the DJ off his name and why you old motherfuckers are making records as a group.
AMG: It’s like damn, is it really that heavy that n*ggas can’t go here and get this shit pumping up.
Quik: We’ll do some crunk shit and have a good time doing it.
AMG: I’m talking about having a motherfucking ball, we have 17 years of practice doing this shit and we know how to get the dough in a real way. I’m just a regular n*gga at home sitting here watching TV like “look at these motherfuckers”.
AMG: Really. These n*ggas are getting rich; you are out of your fucking mind.
It’s a whole new ballgame out there; an album’s success is based on how many ringtones it sold…c’mon.
AMG: There are a lot of confused motherfuckers out there with what the real shit is. The base is a hit record, whatever you do after that is a plus to it. It’s not about being famous or a popularity contest, it’s about “can you motherfuckers make a hit”
Quik: That is the million dollar question.
Both of you have been with majors and done it independently, which do you prefer and why?
Quik: It depends on what you are trying to accomplish. Of course you get more done with a major and it’s a more secure deal. These days it’s better to be with a major in my opinion because the indie’s are getting stamped out due to the industry changing. It’s not as beneficial to you to try to be independent in today’s market, it’s a little rough. Majors have always been stable and it’s always been a sure bet. That’s just how it is.
AMG: I think the future of Dirty West is going to be like a high class boutique label. We are going to have the dough like a So So Def or an Aftermath. You’ll break your neck and lose your mind trying to put a record out independently; it will break your pockets. We are going to do with it other peoples money and we are going to show them we know how to make money then they can write a big ass check and keep this shit cracking.
“Can U Werk Wit Dat” was originally out independently but then Interscope picked it up, how did that come about?
AMG: We weren’t really banking on Interscope, we were really going after a few other situations but Interscope really stepped up to the plate. From a business standpoint we really needed them to work this shit and make motherfuckers jump on it and go forward.
So did Interscope pop for the video or was that out of your pocket?
AMG: (Laughs) That’s definitely their money. Does it make a difference? They should have gave us $100,000 for the video but we made wonders with what they gave us. We kind of missed the time when majors were throwing money at motherfuckers; we are back on the grind. We are grinding with 1992 money on a major, and still getting results.
Quik, you mention in the record that you dropped the “DJ” from you name, why did you decide to do that?
Quik: It just made my name too long. “My name is DJ Quik, instead it’s just Quik”. Since the public has ADHD nowadays, you have to make short and simple. If you look at it I cut 1/3 off my name.
AMG: Next year the n*ggas name is going to be “Q”
The video is out now and the song has a crazy buzz, is there a plan for an album?
AMG: We are working on the album as we speak.
Quik: The album is a fun record. It stays away from social shit, nobody wants to hear that now, people want to groove. We are doing shake your ass music, it’s still musical but it’s minimal. I think the days of the heavy string laid, sample heavy records are over and I don’t seem them coming back. It’s an electronic age and it’s about making best with what technology gives you. That is what “Can U Werk Wit Dat” really stands for. It’s about us not using the regular 24 Bit 96 K engines that everybody else is using. It’s about using 32 bit 92 K processors and getting a bigger sound that is much closer to analog and warm. So with a little bit of music, you still get a big sound.
A lot of people thought that you (Quik) produced the “Can U Werk Wit Dat” joint, but it was actually AMG.
Quik: Yeah, that’s all AMG production. He wrote most of the song, it was his song. I’m just glad he gave me the opportunity to come to my senses and I stopped trying to be a traditionalist.
He did mention it was hard to get you to lay that verse.
Quik: Hell yeah, it was like pulling teeth.
It is your sound but it isn’t.
AMG: If you look at ’96 to now we haven’t had any hit artist from out here. If you aren’t Dr Dre or Snoop Dogg affiliated, we don’t have any new artists. When you listen to the same shit for 10 years of course it’s going to be hard for a motherfucker to get into some new shit. While all the other regions are out there getting all this money, we don’t have anything out this way. We don’t have a magazine out this way, we don’t have a major clothing deal, we aren’t taking part of the whole new hip-hop experience as business men. Why? Because people are out here listening to the same fucking records hoping that n*ggas are still alive, but n*ggas have passed on. People sit around and hope that artists will make records from that one era that they remember the most. Which is fucked up as a market, we can’t be a part of the market and not be a part of what is happening all over the country. We have to get out there and get it and that’s what we are doing.
Is your deal a multiple album deal or just a one off deal?
Quik: This is going to be a label. It has to be. It hasn’t come into fruition yet, that’s really putting the cart before the horse in a sense. We are starting off with the single and we will parlay into some other things, which is the natural progression. Ultimately we are looking to have a dope run like Dre, that’s what we all want. We just missed the boat because we signed too young. We had the talent, we had the look, and we had the style, we just signed too young. I didn’t bank in my own value.
Hip-Hop heads going into their 30′s put your right up there with Dr Dre, to say the least. With that said will we see a “Bitch Betta Have My Money” 07 rendition?
Quik: (Laughs) I think that’s wrong
AMG: Wow, why you want to say that? That would just put me in the same boat we were just talking about where I would have to make the same shit. I understand the fans might want to see that, but I gave you that motherfucker and you have to love that shit forever. I can do so much more than that. My thing is this, I have roughly a half a million fans but that is just the tip of the iceberg. There are millions and millions of people out here to impress. Hopefully the old school fans will come along but we are looking for the new heads too.
Why do you think in recent years West Coast hip-hop hasn’t gotten the respect it once had?
AMG: The respect only came with the sales and what influence we had on the market. We no longer have that influence, the time has passed and that shit is over. We had two situations end in death and that turned a lot of people off to a lot of things that we were doing out here.
AMG: People thought everybody was like that, and it’s like no no it’s not like that. You are only as good as your last record. What are we supposed to wait around? We are supposed jump on another n*ggas little ride and shit? I’m not doing that shit, that’s not how it’s going to go.
Now you are back with a major, and you guys are back in the limelight who are you planning on working with in the future?
Quik: Let’s see Justin Timberlake, Norah Jones, Joss Stone.
AMG: This n*gga said Norah Jones
AMG: The Fixxers are a production company also, that is actually how it all started.
Quik: We have to find Magoo….Timbo kind of dumped on him.
He is on the new Timbaland album though. Well, I’m done fellas, anything more you want to say.
Quik: Look out for the album coming this summer, The Fixxers “The Midnight Life”
AMG: Dirty West baby.
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