Aside from being a multi-platinum artist and giving rap one of its most popular cuts to date, Warren G is West Coast rap royalty. Today the rapper/producer dropped Regulate…G Funk Era Part II, the sequel to his debut album.
The Long Beach, California native formed the trio 213 with childhood friends Nate Dogg and Snoop Dogg in 1990, a group that would later dissolve when Warren signed with Def Jam Records while Nate and Snoop signed with Death Row Records. Aided by the late Nate Dogg, Warren G created the Grammy nominated cut “Regulate,” which first appeared on the Above the Rim soundtrack in 1994. When Warren dropped his debut studio album Regulate… G-Funk Era a few months later, the song was in heavy rotation on radio, as was its video on MTV.
Today the rap icon, dad of six, and loyal husband of 12 years re-introduces his “G Funk” sound to both his loyal fans and the millennials. Regulate…G Funk Era Part II features appearances from Too $hort, E-40, Young Jeezy and Bun B as well as unreleased vocals from Nate Dogg.
We got to talk with Warren about his new EP, the current state of west coast rap, the fight against police brutality, and more.
GFM: You’re a multiplatinum artist and certified OG. What motivated you put out this new EP and make it a sequel to your debut album?
WG: The fans. The people that helped me become what I am. They’re asking for it still and then the new generation—a lot of the kids would be like “man my dad and my mom let me listen to all of your music, I love what you’re doing. I’m a fan.” So it’s for the new generation and the old generation that grew with what I did as far as the “Regulate” and the “G Funk Era.” I just wanted to do an EP—give ’em a touch of it. Let them get that feel and that sound again of what we’re missing in hip hop today.
A lot of people are excited to hear the unreleased tracks with Nate Dogg. Like you said his voice is something that has definitely been missing in hip hop since he passed. What does it mean for you to have him on the EP?
I mean, it means a lot you know because I miss my dog. And I just wish things didn’t go the way they went so we could still be in the studio right now working, creating some hit records…and it’s also keeping his spirit alive and his legacy alive at the same time. That’s why I have him a part of what I’m doing. And I still got a whole bunch of songs with me and him on it. If they’re ever going to come out, I don’t know.
How long have you been working on this?
It didn’t take long. I had a lot of stuff already done. All I did was just just tighten it up a little bit and make it sound a little better. It wasn’t a whole lot of, like I been planning this for five and six years. None of that. Just records that we had.
I listened to “My House” and it sounded like y’all were right in the studio kicking it, laying the track down.
Oh yeah! Thank you!
I’ve got to ask. How do you feel about the current state of West Coast rap?
I mean they really putting it down. I’ve got much respect for what they’re doing. For artists like Kendrick, Nipsey Hussle, ScHoolboy Q, Bad Lucc, and there’s a young cat coming up named Mike Slice that’s nice too. White cat out of Orange County. *laughs* But they’re putting it down. And they’re not trying to follow. They’re not fad artists. They’ve got stories. They can talk about something and not just do the same old same old.
Would you say Kendrick is up there for you?
I mean he’s dope, I love what he do! I can say that it do remind me a lot of the music I did, you know. Because I was a soloist like he is, and had to do it all myself. You know what I’m saying? And he talking about something. He ain’t just blabbing off some nonsense. He really talking about, you know, artistry. That’s what I like about him.
Straight Outta Compton hits theaters next week and you’re in it…Well someone playing you is in it. Are you excited for the film?
Yeah I’m excited, just to have been a part of history. You know, those guys really laid the foundation for artists like myself, to be able to do what I’m doing. Me learning from them is the reason why I’ve lasted so long and got so much longevity. So it’s great to just be a part of that whole era—the N.W.A. movement—when they were doing what they were doing. Because it also taught me how to be an artist, and I’ve seen the struggles they went through, and I went through some of the similar struggles too at the same time. It was good to be connected with some guys who went through it, got through it, became successful, and now it’s a legacy.
The film is definitely going to allow its audience to watch a lot of the themes of West Coast rap play out on the big screen, like the LA riots and police brutality. Stuff that’s still going on today.
That stuff ain’t new! That stuff been going on! Just now you’ve got social media and people catching it. But that’s been going on since the beginning of time.
How do you feel about the movement to combat [police brutality]?
It’s something that’s got to be done. It’s too much of it getting by. Something’s got to be done. We need a leader—a hell of a leader. We got Farrakhan, but we need another leader with him because they be trying to smash on Farrakhan like he ain’t a leader. And he is.
But we need somebody along with him…we need somebody to take the torch. Because it just don’t feel like we have that, that person like a Martin Luther King. Right now it’s just way out.
Let’s step out for a second. This whole Drake/Meek beef is taking over everything. That’s all everybody’s talking about.
You know what, it ain’t nothing wrong with artists getting help. You know? Because we all get mind-blocked. And if somebody can help me get through that mind-block and they write half of the verse, you know more for me, I ain’t got a problem with it. It’s all good. I’d love for somebody to help me. When guys get stuck I help them write. So that’s not a bad thing.
And artists like Rihanna, artists like that, all her shit is getting written. But that still doesn’t take away from who she is and the talent that she has. Because it’s her voice and her sound and her melodies that’s making her sell records. Also if she’s telling the producer or writer her idea and they’re doing her idea, that’s considered her idea. Because she’s telling you what to say. So it’s not a bad thing.
Both of those guys are talented artists. I like both of them and I’d work with both of them. But they just need to squash that shit. That ain’t even no big issue. Squash that shit. It’s cool. Both of y’all dope. Get that money.
That being said. Who and what are you currently listening to?
I listen to everything!
Top five people or songs in your playlist right now. Go!
Shit I can’t say top five. I got a thousand! Let me see, J. Cole is one, Kendrick is one. I like Drake. I like Young Dolph. I like Kevin Gates. I mean I like a lot of artists out there, I listen to everything.
Alright so what about R&B?
Yeah I like her. I like her. Oh and Jeremih. Cold. And what’s her name is dope from up out of the Bay too. Um, closer to my dreams. [Sings “Closer To My Dreams”].
Ha, that’s Goapele!
Aye Goapele! Goapele cold!
I know everybody asks you, but I have to anyway. Regulate. I don’t know anyone that’s a fan of hip hop that doesn’t know that song. What does it mean to you to have created, in my opinion, one of the biggest records to come not just out of the West Coast, but out of the game in general?
It feels great. It just let me know that what I did, I was doing good music. I didn’t know it was going to get that big, you know? I was just trying to be different from what was going on, and I guess that worked out better because I didn’t know it was going to get that big.
You didn’t know? You didn’t even think a little bit like “aw this is about to blow up?”
Nah I didn’t know! I was just happy to be doing music. That was it. But once I seen how big it got, it was just a high to see 60,000 people singing your song. It was all over the world.
So what’s next for you?
It don’t stop, this is just a touch. But believe me I’m fixin’ to turn up!