The years leading up to Trauma saw DJ Quik shouldering a mountain of stress. He was grieving the murders of two lifelong friends (personal assistant Darryl Reed and musical protégé Mausberg), and juggling two lawsuits. In the meantime, the rapidly-aging Quik struggled to stay relevant in a game that regularly discards its veterans. All this turmoil culminated in Trauma, a tightly-wound statement of purpose that provides Quik a vehicle through which to vent his frustrations and re-establish his reputation as a master producer. Party songs like “Get Up” and “Indiscretions In the Back of A Limo” give way to currents of anger and anxiety. As Quik raps in “Get Up”: “I'm dope, I'm bomb, I'm wounded and I'm so feeble / Can't believe the bulls*** I'm gettin’ from these people.” Despite his woes, an all-star guest list (The Game, Ludacris, B-Real, T.I., Wyclef Jean, Chingy, and Nate Dogg) proves that Quik’s name still carries weight among rap’s elite. Apart from the heavyweight support and emotional verses, Quik’s latest batch of beats speaks for itself. Precisely orchestrated and insidiously funky, “Fandango,” “Get Down,” and “Black Mercedes” are beats designed to cut glass.