In an interview with Complex, DJ Quik spoke on the background and recording process of Rhythm-al-ism stating, “With the Rhythm-al-ism album, even though it didn't have a home because Profile Records was going through something and I was fighting them for back royalties and they had me on suspension because they didn't want to pay me. I understood, those were some big checks, I wouldn't want to pay DJ Quik either. "I think that's when I lost my rough edges, I lost the gangster and became like an R&B pretty boy. "The name Rhythm-al-ism alone tells you what I was doing. I was mixing up rhythms. I was meshing R&B with hip-hop and jazz. And a little bit of comedy. He stated he loves the intro on Rhythm-al-ism. The Rhythm-al-ism (Intro) is funny. I was trying to do rock and roll-Grunge-metal and end up dying at the end of the song, hyperventilating, passing out. DJ Quik also spoke on working with El DeBarge on the album stating, that album was really about him. I was going for Q4, I was going to do 'Safe & Sound 2,' after 'Safe + Sound.' But when I met him—I met him at the House of Blues. He was everything that I thought he was, just seeing him on TV and listening to him on the radio. "He showed me what I was doing wrong. He would stop me like, 'Naw, man you're messing up.' I needed that. He taught me how to be a better producer. How to be more multi-faceted and taught me arrangement "Even though our music is passe. Right now, if this was still the gangster rap era, I could produce a record that's so awesome it'll rival all the big hip-hop records. And it's just because of some of the techniques that El Debarge taught me. DJ Quik said that he had the time of my life working on Rhythmalism.
Rhythm-al-ism incorporates Hip hop, funk, soul, r&b, rock and reggae. "Hand in Hand", "I Useta Know Her", "Whateva U Do", and "Bombudd 2" sound like they come from different areas of music but all from one artist. After a 2 and a half year hiatus since the criminal minded "Safe + Sound", DJ Quik returns with a very dimensional record. It shows growth, Quik focuses on one thing here, and that's being a musician, shedding his gangbangin image in the song, "You'z a Gangxta". The album contains no interludes at all, just 16 tracks of music containing classic Quik songs like, "We Still Party", "So Many Wayz", "Down, Down, Down", and "You'z a Ganxta". Quik was accompanied by his long time collaborators 2nd II None, AMG, and Suga Free, he even collaborated with Snoop Dogg and Nate Dogg for the anthem, "The Pussy Medley". Quik even put out some nice raps like on "You'z a Ganxta" and the adrenaline filled song "Speed". G-One also lends his production talents on 4 tracks as well.
Rhythm-al-ism received mixed reviews from contemporary music critics. At Allmusic rated the album at 2 and a half stars and wrote that Considering its guest list -- packed with enough star power (El DeBarge, Snoop Dogg, Nate Dogg, Peter Gunz, Hi-C, AMG, and 2nd II None) to fill a "Wrestlemania" card -- Rhythm-al-ism promises more than it actually delivers. Its cleverest moments ("Medley for a 'V' (The Pussy Medley)") address colloquialisms for genitalia and all the wonderful things it's good for. "Down, Down, Down," "I Useta Know Her," and "No Doubt" (rhymes with: "I got something for your mouth") are plain nasty. Just what rap needs: one more guy boasting about his majestic penis and how good he is at treating women like gutter trash.Los Angeles Times gave the album 3 stars and wrote, On "Rhythm-alism," he delivers his richest music to date, meshing lush keyboard, flute, guitar, organ, piano and drum patterns. Paradoxically, these serene, polished sounds serve as the backdrop for the high-pitched rapper's signature subject matter: explicit sexual romps with friends AMG, Hi-C, Suga Free and others. Unlike the many rap outfits whose freaky tales sound menacing and evil, the bubbly beats backing these narratives make them sound friendly and fun, even wholesome. Because the music is so enjoyable, it's easy to overlook the collection's clever wordplay. RapReviews gave the album 9/10 stars and wrote "Rhythm-al-ism" may have been the closest Quik ever got to making a commercial splash. "You'z a Gangsta" and "Hand In Hand" were catchy singles that made it onto radio waves across the country and less radio friendly tracks such as "Medley For A V" were bumping out of car stereos. The album itself is nothing new for Quik, filled with funky beats that only Quik can make and his smooth flow, "Rhythm-al-ism" was the quintessential West Coast Party. With all the compliments thrown Quik's way so far you can deduce that the man is talented and makes good music. Throughout the years Quik has crafted a style of music that, while taking elements from Funk, Soul, and other genres, is all his own. "Rhythm-al-ism" exhibits all the characteristics that make Quik the underground star he is. It's a recommended addition to anybody's collection and a testament to the fact that though outshined by its East Coast counterparts at times, the West Coast keeps partying as strong as ever. The Smoking Section wrote that DJ Quik proved he could step outside the dilapidated cardboard box of G-funk, and put out an album showcasing that there could really be life after red rags, low-lows and gun-talk. With his life straightened out, along with those flowing locks he flaunts, a grown Quik laces Rhythm-al-ism with cuts consisting of sexual escapades (to an extent, this was still somewhat uncommon for G’d up Westcoast rappers), flossing (before it was the sole thing mainstream rappers spoke on), long lost loves and finally finding his way on a road where wrong turns are more than common in the place he was born and raised. Rhythm-al-ism can be viewed in so many ways. It’s growth. It’s beautiful. It’s positive. It’s fresh. It’s ground-breaking. Even today, it still sounds new. Despite what anyone could ever say about the DJ Quik, his appearance, or how he lost sight of where he came from, this album is the crown jewel of his catalogue. His magnum opus. On a whole other level, his Chronic. Most importantly, though, it was a necessary stepping stone for one the more talented men in the history of Hip-Hop, and an album that many of today’s one-dimensional artists could truly take note from.
The album debuted at number sixty three on the US Billboard 200 and spent 29 weeks on the chart. It also debuted at number thirteen on the US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts and spent 39 weeks on the chart as well. The album was certified Platinum on July 27, 1999 by the RIAA for selling over 1,500,000 copies.