Warren G
Warren G Takes G-Funk To A Whole New Era

0 Culture / Film / Let Me Tell You About... / Music

As the intoxicating daze of summer peaks through the spring clouds, it’s time to rejig your favourite playlist and give it a honey-hued flow. In light of mumble rap being a devastatingly bad thing (sorry about it), may I suggest you take it back to a music era with promise and inject yourself with some smooth ‘90s G-Funk.

No rapper evokes the essence of a warm day quite like the laid-back presence of Warren G, who once ruled the international airwaves alongside Nate Dogg with the 1994 classic hit, Regulate. Speaking on a panel ahead of a showing of his new documentary, G-Funk at SXSW 2017, Warren G alongside the director of the documentary (who started on the project when he was only 20 years-old), Karam Gill spoke about the state of hip-hop today and touched upon the 2011 death of Nate Dogg – his childhood friend. “It’s rough, ’cause that was one of my dogs. He was a brother,” Warren said. “I don’t get sad about it. I keep him alive, that’s part of my show. He wouldn’t want me sittin’ up here on some sentimental shit…I know Nate, he’d be like, ‘Nigga, blaze that shit up and get it cracking’.’ We’ve always been like that, and we’re gonna do it ’til the casket drops, period.”

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The gritty with a light-hearted twist G-Funk documentary tells the story of how Warren, Snoop and Nate Dogg collaborated to form the 213 back in the early ‘90s, which lead to Snoop’s ‘Doggystyle’ album and (in a roundabout way) Dr Dre’s groundbreaking body of work, The Chronic. While Nate Dog and Snoop signed to Death Row Records, Warren G was left out in the cold by Suge Knight and Dre so went on to join the iconic East Coast label, Def Jam. It was from there, and after the global success of Regulate that G-Funk became a point of reference, which helped take hip-hop to the $10 billion industry it is today.

With interviews from Ice Cube, The D.O.C, Simmons, Ice-T and Wiz Khalifa, the documentary is offered as an almost follow-up to Dr Dre’s, Straight Out of Compton film, which was based on a true story. “This documentary is probably so important because G-Funk is three dudes: singer, rapper and producer,” The D.O.C. says, referring to Nate Dogg, Snoop Dogg and Warren G And from that friendship spawned the careers of a whole bunch of people, and made a whole bunch of money for a bunch of people. And there’ll never be three dudes like these guys ever again in music. As it should be.”

Compared to the harsh words and unarguably aggressive approach to rap that N.W.A offered, G-Funk (short for gangster rap) sounds like a sunny day spent on Long Beach, California. It has a melody that echoes the good life; a life where you smoke weed every day and bust out a skateboard every now and then. But it’s not without its edges – it’s still gangster and it’s still rap – it’s just rap with a funky synthesizer. The lazy synth sound is the perfect anecdote to a shit day and an onslaught of crap Trap.

So to kick-start those summer feels, here are 5 classic G-Funk tunes that have stood the test of time:

Warren G featuring Nate Dogg – Regulate

That track that took hip-hop into an era, Regulate, many argue this was track that gave hip-hop a real pop edge. No one was singing on tracks before Nate Dogg came along.

Dr Dre – Let Me Ride

With a video full of cameos and a 1976 Parliament sample included, Let Me Ride was the third single taken from The Chronic album, it went on to win a Grammy Award – big news for hip-hop back in the day!

Snoop Dogg – Who am I (What’s My Name)

The song that gave a dirty Dogg a whole new level of fame and offered hip-hop fans old and new a hazy, effortless sonic place to park their boombox. Enough said really!

The Dogg Pound – What would you do?

Released in 1995, this was the first single that The Dogg Pound released via Death Row Records. It’s part produced by Dre and was considered a diss track towards Easy E amongst others.

Above the Law – Black Superman

A song about supporting a single mother, Black Superman offered a different kind of hero to an alternative music loving audience. Above the Law are commonly thought to be one of the most underrated acts from the initial G-Funk movement.

At the moment there’s no U.K. release date for the G-Funk documentary but hopefully it’ll be coming to a Netflix screen near you soon.

Words by Sophie

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