Conceptually planned since January 2003, The G Files is Warren G’s [click to read] sixth and most personal album to date. Listeners are asked to envision pulling open Warren’s musical filing cabinet, removing Case #213, and perusing through each of its 14 self-contained files, providing insight into the life of Warren, Griffin III.
While I Want It All and In The Mid-Nite Hour went overboard with guest features, The G Files takes a more conservative approach, with the fewest appearances since his 1994 acclaimed debut. Aside from the expected clientele, the project features notable appearances by Travis Barker, Raekwon, as well as Australia’s Cassie Davis, providing a female touch to an otherwise, and rather unfortunately, male-dominated album.
Unlike 213’s The Hard Way [click to read], Warren G is back on his MPC 5000, handling the majority of The G Files’ production; with the exceptions being handled by “Mr. DJ” producer THX (“True Star”) and co-production by Seattle’s Joonie (“Crush”). Having founded his career with his classic sampling of Michael McDonald, Warren continues to utilize the production technique, though not as much, on tracks like the “Funky Worm”-sampled “Suicide.” With each album having its own specific vibe, he has infused his trademark G-Funk style with electro as well as live instrumentation, including guitar, bass, Rhodes piano, and drums.
Similar to previous projects, Warren G utilizes an ode to marijuana as a transitional piece for the album. Although outshined by “Indo Smoke” and “Smokin’ Me Out,” “Let’s Get High (420)” [click to listen] serves as a substantive platform showcasing up-and-coming artist Blac Nic, with musical enrichment provided by Travis Barker’s percussion.
Disconnecting from his role as a door opener, Warren G has set aside two veterans only tracks on The G Files. Attempting to recreate the vintage west coast sound pioneered by artists like N.W.A. [click to read], Warren enlisted I Want It All and The Chronic [click to read] contributor RBX [click to read] for the rebellious “Suicide” as well as Raekwon [click to read] and 213 counterpart and discography staple Nate Dogg for a recreation of “100 Miles And Runnin” [click to listen].
Further striving to provide something for everyone, Warren G has composed a series of tracks geared toward the younger portion of Hip Hop’s generational divide. As I Want It All flirted with the concept of materialism, The G Files appeals to today’s club culture with “Drinks Ain’t Free” and “Swagger Rich.” In addition, Warren offers up the roller-skating anthem “Skate Skate” as well as the album’s two love songs, “Ringtone” and “Crush.”
Ultimately, The G Files tries to encompass too many dimensions, demonstrating a quite different and perhaps unconventional portrayal of G-Funk. While Warren G makes a strong case for being able to harness eclectic diversity, it unfortunately fails to provide fulfilling satisfaction to any one audience.