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".
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.
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.