The rhythmic ballad “Regulate” features Long Beach-bred rappers and lifelong friends Warren G and Nate Dogg exchanging four-bar samples about a near-fatal night in their hometown.
Now 25 years old, the ballad is still one of the biggest breakout rap songs of all time and largely responsible for putting both artists — and the genre they’d up defining in G-Funk — officially on the map.
The Grammy-nominated hit single was officially released in 1994 as part of Warren G’s debut album Regulate…G Funk Era and the film soundtrack for Above the Rim starring Tupac Shakur. The “Regulate” music video was also a mainstay on the MTV and VH1 circuit during a time of which rap wasn’t getting too much play on TV.
Warren G sat down with HipHopDX during a recent performance in Inglewood, California to talk about his famous song, his upcoming album and his star cornerback son who plays at USC.
HipHopDX: You’re now 48 years old. How has “Regulate” defined you as an artist 25 years later?
Warren G: Younger kids from a new generation that got turned on to “Regulate” still come up to me and want it, till this day. I swear to God. I’m like wow. On the international level, “Regulate” is the one where they say ‘now you changed some shit.’ When they think about west coast rap, they think about the song “This D.J.” During sets, “Regulate” is a build up to the grand finale, and it’s the biggest one. I set it up with a tribute to Nate Dogg and G-Funk because he’s not with us. I give him that love on my show. He was my dog. He was my best friend.
HipHopDX: Where would you rank “Regulate” among rap’s all-time best hits?
Warren G: I give it the top five because it was one of the biggest Hip Hop singles ever. That’s a fact. I can’t say what number, but it’s in the top five. For it to be playing 25 years strong and still going, that means something and lets the world know that G-Funk is here to stay, and Warren G is here to stay. We’re going to keep doing that shit. We’re not gonna stop.
HipHopDX: How do you reintroduce yourself in 2019?
Warren G: I’m The Regulator. I’m G-Funk. I’m Warren. I wouldn’t want to change anything. I’m still relevant to the new era. I’m just not rapping like the new era, but I’m right there with them musically.
HipHopDX: Aside from touring with Snoop Dogg, what else are you currently working on?
Warren G: I have a record I can drop right now with Ty Dolla $ign. It’s called “And You Know That.” It’s vicious.
HipHopDX: What do you like listening to these days?
Warren G: I fuck with everybody. I listen to all of it.
HipHopDX: What are your thoughts on this era of rap music?
Warren G: There are some solid artists Lil Baby, J. Cole, Drake and Joey Bada$$, but then you have others who are just saying some bullshit. You have to look at the current way these kids are living and what they’re going through. We can’t just sit back and say, ‘what they’re going through is bullshit.` It’s what’s going on. Just like what we talked about back in the day was what was going on with the gangbangin’ and barbeques. They’re still doing it, but they’re doing it in their own way. What needs to happen is that a lot of shit needs to change.
HipHopDX: How do you keep in touch with your contemporaries in Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg?
Warren G: Our relationships are solid. We’re still active and making business moves. Whenever we do get time to chill, we do. Everyone is doing their thing. It’s never too old or too late to still do the records that are just as big now as it was back then.
HipHopDX: You are a West Coast legend, but where do you prefer to perform?
Warren G: I’m international. I like to perform everywhere. We’ve been in the midwest lately as well as Canada. Everywhere we go is incredible and sold out. The love is really real. We were in Detroit recently by the water and there were thunderstorms with lighting. The backstage was even flooded. But people were on jet skis and everything. I told them, ‘this is the most fun I’ve ever had at a show.’ It was love, and you can just feel the vibe so much. I was the second act, so I was like ‘fuck this shit.’ They’re going to make me go second? Alright. I’m going to tear this motherfucker up. Whoever else came after me, they had to really do their thing because I tore a whole through their ass.
HipHopDX: What has it been like to see your son Olaijah Griffin develop into a five-star recruit and current cornerback for USC?
Warren G: That’s my guy. As a dad, I can’t even begin to explain how cool it is. At first, my other son Warren was better. Olaijah was a water boy in Pop Warner and couldn’t really play. And then he started practicing and was running faster than everybody. He finally got his chance, and when they gave him the ball as a running back that first time, he ran the ball 65 yards for a touchdown and did a frontflip. When I saw that, I thought to myself, ‘he is different.’ Just to support my boys from Pop Warner till now was one of the best things in the world for a dad. It kept them out of the streets and other bullshit. Oh my god, the whole journey has been incredible.