Twenty years ago, Warren G released his Def Jam debut Regulate…G Funk Era featuring Grammy nominated classics “Regulate” featuring Nate Dogg and “This D.J.” Considering the climate between West Coast and East Coast Hip Hop at the time, the Long Beach representer delivered an album that felt local regional yet, mature in regards to projects released by peers. Regulate… G Funk Era was an honest look into life of someone just navigating the streets with some of the most hilarious skits the era provided. Those looking further into the album will also see the album as a launching pad for underrated West Coast artists ranging from The Twinz to Dove Shack.
That’s besides the point as several albums later, Warren G still manages to make compelling music as an emcee and producer. The past could of years has meant production for Problem, Young Jeezy, E-40 and 213 member Snoop Dogg. Six years since dropping 2009’s highly underrated The G-Files, he’s delivering a teaser for the sequel EP to his breakout debut in Regulate…G Funk Era Part 2. Coming full circle, he’s utilized some unreleased Nate Dogg vocals for “My House.” While West Coast Hip Hop evolves into fascinating new directions, Warren G continues to bridge the gap between the past and future. Speaking with DX, the emcee/producer explains his plans for Regulate… G Funk Era Part 2 EP and how Nate Dogg propagated contemporary rap’s link with R&B.
Warren G Talks “My House” Featuring Nate Dogg
DX: Yo!! First, I’m just honored to speak with you man. I’m a huge fan of I Want It All. It’s one of my favorite album ever.
Warren G: Oh fasho, fasho.
DX: Especially, “My Momma (Ola Mae)” that’s like one of my favorite tracks from the album.
Warren G: Oh yes, I’m just giving a shout out to moms. I had lost her in 99’ so I’m just showing my love and respect for her.
DX: That was real man. That was real man. So, I heard “My House” featuring Nate Dogg man. Talk about the creation of that for a moment. How long had you been holding on to those vocals?
Warren G: Well, me and him had stuff from when he was alive; from all the way up to when the situation happened with him. We just had a lot of good music and I’ve just always had it. We were working on a project together doing songs together for his stuff and my stuff. So, it was just records we had. We was thinking about doing an album together, then we did the 213, and then after that everybody went their way. I put him on the records just to keep his spirit and legacy alive. Also letting people know that it don’t stop we still do this, we make good music. A lot of the fans; they always like Warren be bringing that G-Funk. I put the EP together and I put it together to give them a sample, give them a taste and test the waters with em. When it comes to people and music today, they didn’t listen to everything at the same time and I’m letting the new generation catch-up on to what they parents was turning them on to. It’s all good you know?
DX: You have Regulate… G Funk Era Part 2 EP coming out this week. What made you want to deliver a sequel via EP instead of full length album?
Warren G: It’s that feel, it’s the feel of that record; Regulate… G Funk Era. That’s what they want and that’s what’s missing in a lot of this music today. Like I said I’m give them a little sprinkle of it. Let em get a little taste and then I’ma turn up after that.
DX: I hear you. You mentioned the G-Funk sound of early 90s, mid-90s West Coast Hip Hop. That seems to be coming back looking at YG’s “Twist My Fingaz” and even Kendrick’s To Pimp A Butterfly has a few influences as well. How do you feel about that sound coming back within the area’s rap scene again?
Warren G: I mean, I think it’s a good thing because that was the music that made us superstars. They want to get that and see what it does for them. It’s that sound that carried us. So, they want to be carried and taken to that point; hoping to be in the game for 20 years, 30 years. That’s why they’re gravitating to it and that’s a good thing. It’s all good because music like that doesn’t have an age on it. This music can never be outdated; just melodies and sound that just touches the soul.
DX: I feel you. It’s been almost over twenty year since the Regulate. Looking back on that album, where does that album place itself in the catalog of where West Coast Hip Hop was at that time?
Warren G: It’s in the top five.
DX: Most Definitely.
Warren G: It’s in the top five, I don’t know where in the top five, but it’s in the top five. It’s all good. It’s just a great feeling to be one of the guys who grew up around NWA. Just watching the things they went through, the trial and tribulations and being apart of them when they was doing the music and stuff like that. That was just a great feel for me. Then being able to create my own style and my own movement. But, a lot of the knowledge I had, I got from Dr. Dre and Eazy E. So, it all made whatever records I was doing or whatever I do come out great and that’s what it’s all about.
Warren G Explains How Nate Dogg Is The Precursor To Singsong Raps
DX: It’s been a big year for the West Coast. Matter of fact for the past couple of years. More specifically now with the NWA biopic coming out. How do you feel about that and everything that’s come from NWA’s legacy since you were so close to it?
Warren G: It’s great! Like I said, it’s a good movie that’ll show the younger generation the blueprint what it took as an independent artist to get to the top and then putting them on a major platform. That shows the blueprint and the things that; the life, life’s trials and tribulations of becoming a musicians and a superstar.
DX: It was a big deal when you had signed to Def Jam because you had been the first West Coast artist to even make it to the label. Especially, around that time. How you feel about YG and why it took Def Jam so long to even get another West Coast artist that was even as popular as you were in your day, at that time?
Warren G: I ain’t going to say as popular as me, as I was in my time. I sold 10 million records, but for this day and time he doing his mutha fuckin thang. Yeah, boy been busted over 10 millions records at least 50 million records; that ain’t even no comparison. But he is for this day and age the man. He’s the shit for the youngins who like him and he holding his own. He ain’t riding nobody coattail trying to ride off anybody that’s building shit, he holding his own so I can respect that.
DX: Ha! Excuse me sir! Going back to the “My House” triangle with Nate Dogg. It’s like the blur between Hip Hop and R&B, which was something that Nate Dogg had essentially been doing years back. How do you feel about how melodic Hip Hop has gotten nowadays with the sing-song deal? So how do you feel about where Hip Hop is now? Especially, when you got guys like Ty Dolla $ out here, or even the popularity of Fetty Wap’s “Trap Queen.”
Warren G: I mean it’s dope, I like what Ty Dolla $ is doing. I like Fetty Wap, but all these people and the things that they’re doing is what we created so they’re just putting their twist on it. That’s still G-Funk, that’s why I am doing this EP because they miss that and they want that. A lot of these artists is asking me for it. They hitting me all the time like OG, I want come get some beats from you. I’m like well okay, then you gotta come see me in the studio with me. But a lot of them don’t want to do that. That’s how you going to get a hit record. I’m not going to sit up there, go to your studio, sit there and just play music. We gotta sit there, vibe and let it come. Once it comes, then boom it’s on. You’re going to have a record that’s going to last for a long time. Young Jeezy will tell you that “Leave You Alone” was something I did for him. Look at the hit he made when he put it in rotation. That just goes to show what good music do.
DX: I’m glad you mentioned the “Leave You Alone” track with Jeezy. You also have a history as a producer. Looking back, how do you look at that part of your legacy?
Warren G: What makes me go so hard is I don’t ever want somebody to say that the shit I did was wack. So, I try my hardest when I’m doing an album or whatever I am doing. I just try to make it where every record can be a single and that’s how you create a great record. Just keep doing records that sound like they can be singles and that’s pretty much a lightweight format to being successful. I can’t tell them all the secrets. They gotta come, sit in the lab with me and they’ll learn.
Warren Explains Maneuvering Without Radio Play
DX: How has that evolved your sound from your perspective? How do you work because you’ve seen the evolution of how our production is in Hip Hop now starting with analog and going into digital.
Warren G: It made it more electric than live instrumentation. That’s a trip you said that because I just talk to Solid State Logic (SSL), the company. I just talk to them today and I’m getting ready to get some equipment from them. But the way I am going to have it going, it’s going to be coming back into my piece of equipment and coming out as giving you that raw sound that’s coming from those EQs, presses and stuff like that. That was from records in the 80s when it started from 81’ and on up. So I’m getting back into that man. That’s what I love to do. To sit in the studio, make some good music. People hear it and love it. That is incredible. Ahh, that’s great when somebody comes in and love what you doing. That is a great feeling. I love that feeling. It’s just cool to see people love yo shit. Even though we make money, that’s like one of the great things about it. Just people knowing and loving what you doing. The money comes because it’s a job at the same time. It’s a job that we love and there’s a passion to it too. That’s why it’s so great.
DX: At this moment what inspires you, at this moment as an artist. Do you find inspiration?
Warren G: It’s a lot of stuff that goes on. Like even with this EP. As far as some of the things that I’ve been going through, just getting the message out for people to know that I got this EP coming out has been absolutely ridiculous. Talking to people that I thought had love for me, but when it’s time to do this and do that, It’s all like damn. Just weird music industry stuff. When you thinking somebody got yo back, it’s like wow and this is the home front. This is where I’m from and ya’ll acting like this? It tripped me out and it made me say, you know what? Fuck trying to take my shit straight to a radio station that don’t want to play my shit or just acting funny however it is. So I said, I’m a be different. I’m a just go straight viral with this. It hit all the media outlets, all the social media. Everything is social media so the world can know because a lot of the stuff is driven through all of this. It’s satellite radio which is a big part of making it. That’s a huge part of it. Shit, Sirus XM. I’m DJing out there in about a week up at Sirus XM. That’s about 48 million viewers.
DX: You can play your own stuff too huh?
Warren G: I rather my music go out to 48 million different viewers, than three or four hundred thousand in one city. Shit. That’s what made me do a hop, skip, and a jump and say forget it I’ll do the trickle down theory. It’ll come here, then it’ll come back yo way and when it come back yo way; now it’s going to cost you.