Thru These Tainted Eyes (The World as I See It)…
DJ Quad (of the legendary 5th Battalion Entertainment hip-hop collective, on the west side of Los Angeles) has dropped a bomb on the music scene! It’s comprised of a highly explosive album containing 18 tracks, locked-and-loaded into a play list that embodies his fresh solo project: Thru These Tainted Eyes… The World as I See It. I urge you to listen to it. Get a glimpse into the life of an independent music-producer; one whom develops culture in communities plagued by violence and self-destruction. Over the years, Jesse “DJ Quad” Morin has been mentoring artists from different neighborhoods and has fostered talent bred by these streets.
Anyone blessed to know DJ Quad personally, knows he has a witty sense of humor that makes him easy to get along with. People familiar with his music can tell you that he specializes in making those west coast party jams pop. He’s particularly skilled in bringing that goodtime vibe to the festivities. On this album, he doesn’t let us down. “Come Party With Me” features the sweet vocals of Tracy D singing on the chorus. DJ Quad has been producing hip-hop anthems for years, so he definitely knows the formula: Her beautiful female voice is a perfect balance to Quad’s raspy gangsta style. Another singer named Erin B. also complements him another track, as does Lorraine Morin on “Get Down To The Issue”. Yes, Lorraine is Quad’s younger sister and the siblings touch on an interesting topic. The concept centers around attaining objectives by eliminating distractions. Getting to the very point of a matter and this hit is on point, in so many ways…
For those of you that don’t know DJ Quad, here is some backround: This Venice Beach native resides in Inglewood, California and operates a studio headquarters in his backyard (called the Bunker). From there, he has cultivated seeds of hip-hop through musical compositions, and harvested friendships with other artists throughout the area. From places like Culver City, Santa Monica, Mid-Town, all the way to Silver Lake and Echo Park. DJ Quad formed a small army of emcees, DJs, producers, and promoters of the culture… a Battalion. “The Fightin’ Fifth.”… Known for specializing in studio production and manifesting live show performances. From the booth to the stage, Quadster booked local clubs (in Hollywood, Beverly Hills and even in the ritzy side of town). For a while, he had the Los Angeles underground hip-hop scene flourishing. And by forging alliances with other headliners, 5th Battalion stirred a movement that spread to Northern California, first. Then it moved on to Arizona, and beyond.
Personally, my favorite song on this album is “My Time to Shine”. The way he rocks the beat reminds me of the days he would blaze the microphone at the Joint (off Roberton Blvd). From front lining with the 5th back in the day to consolidating the Lyrical Onslaught Music group, DJ Quad has been leading hardcore hip-hop artists to gather for ceremonies. Whether they were sessions for recording, rehearsal or performance there was always a golden rule. One engrained in the very fabric of the organization: that no street beefs, nor gang rivalries penetrate the circle when it’s in session. That alone gets mad respect… because what results is a group of individuals representing different sections of the city, that otherwise would not come together. Talk about the Power of Music! People started realizing they face similar societal problems and it came out in the lyrics. Songs like “Keep It Hush Hush” do a good job of describing that street mentality. But the harsh realities attached to that lifestyle are clearly detailed in “What You Gonna Do When Life Turns On You”. It sounds like a warning to anyone with a misconception of what happens in real life. Those misconceptions are reinforced by the movie industry and major media’s portrayal of the lifestyle. So, the L.O.M is definitely determined to keep it real. “F*ck The Industry” is their dedication to this uncensored spirit of independence.
But gangsters and drug dealers aren’t the only people experiencing hurt and loss. Every individual on this Earth suffers their share of pain. What makes DJ Quad such an excellent lyricist is his ability to transform these emotions into dope rhymes and beats. See, Jesse Morin was in a body boarding accident when he was 17 years old. The impact was so severe that it was almost fatal. He really fought for his Life, and embarked on a long journey to recovery. But, to this day, he has been in a wheelchair. He has a song on the album called “Tell Me Why” (featuring a magnificent K. King) in which he recalls that fateful day and contemplates the reasons for his destiny. Jesse confided in me that during the time he was bed-ridden, he lay down on his side, tapping the keypads of an MPC Drum Machine. Every day he composed a new beat, and this creativity kept him going. Every day he created a new work of music, and this gave him something to look forward to. Life had a purpose. The doctors said he would be a quadriplegic, and he became DJ Quad. I share this with you because there is nothing more inspiring, than someone who faces life’s greatest hardships with fortitude… and never stops. At the time, he focused on his talent and this was therapeutic to his mind, body and spirit. This is his remedy works for him to this day. By not avoiding the pain (nor trying to find an escape), DJ Quad embraces his pain- and from this spawns beautiful songs (even though they are sad). A tribute called “Why’d You Have To Go” is a track he did in loving memory of his cousin that passed away named Gisela Rodriguez. DJ Quad pours his heart out on tracks and that’s why people relate to his realness. Plus, he’s ’bout his music. Back in the day, He has recorded the whole mariachi band at The Bunker; in order to have flexibility with the levels of each instrument..
The background on “Leave It In GOD’s Hands” was an idea developed around a message of hope. This gem also features K. King and an original 5th member named Henry. Henry is better known as Phantom Knight- A spiritual vessel that stands out in a crowd of emcees. First of all, because he rhymes in a pure language, that is, without profanities. Can you dig that? No cussing, obscenities, foul-humor nor degrading rhetoric. If you took that away from most rappers, they wouldn’t have any more material. But Phantom Knight’s word scheme is squeeky clean. He could be spitting from behind a pulpit in Church. The other thing is, he’s got that jumpy hip-hop style reminiscent of the old “Wake Up Show” in Los Angeles, CA. It’s these very qualities, that DJ Quad saw in Phantom Knight many years ago when he began the 5th Battalion Entertainment. It’s good to hear them still at it, touching on topics as humbling as this…
Another song on this album features Victor E of the hip-hop activist group El Vuh. This track is another facet of DJ Quad’s persona… and an important one. See, music can be healing and therapeutic. It can be used to honor, inspire, motivate and offer praise. Music can also be a tool to use against an oppressive empire; a weapon to battle principalities, when cruel leaders exact absolute control, their “doctrine” is unquestionably accepted. Dissent is muted and resistance is eliminated. But there will always be artists that will lift their voice, and break the “silence” of the status quo. “Warriors of Every Nation” are armed among us.
It can never be said that DJ Quad hogs up all the lime light, nor that he doesn’t allow other people to shine on his project. An artist named Free Will has a few awesome features on the album: “Nightmares”, “I Still Got Memories” and “It Can Happen To You” are prime examples of how Quad can vibe with another performer and bring the best out of each other. The collaborations show an awesome chemistry. In “Land of the Ghettos” he does a super collaboration with Flycat (from Milan), Hector Guerra, Coelhos Negros and Faace.
Well, DJ Quad certainly covered all his bases on this very diversified, well-balanced album- complete with a tribute to the very important woman in his life. The person that has been there since the beginning and could always depend on for encouraging him during the hardest times and rejoicing with him in accomplishments, he dedicates “Thank You Momma”. The lyrics are all from the heart, which goes for the entire album. The beats are all bangers, with the authentic 5th Battalion sound incorporating classic orchestrations (like violins and cellos). If you haven’t heard DJ Quad’s work, I highly recommend you take a listen. He has years of experience cultivating his talent and continues to bring fresh perspectives to the art form. I can honestly say he’s a good friend and a great person, but I’ll also be the first to tell you to be careful bringing your girl around him. He’s a smooth talkin’ player and a shameless flirt.
I haven’t forgot,
Skribe One Digital Aztlan Studios
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