Youtube Premium recently released a slick documentary called “G-Funk: The Sound That Changed Hip-Hop Forever”.
It speaks with authority and authenticity on a subject that many modern music fans of a certain age would fail to see, that being the significance and emergence of G-Funk as a major driver of Hip-Hop music in the late ’90s.
The two-time Grammy-nominated artist Warren G was both the catalyst and the intertwining sinew that connected several Hall of Fame-level rap artists from the Los Angeles metropolitan area and helped propel them to stardom.
Few realize that he singlehandedly saved Def Jam Records at a time when the label was struggling to keep up with the emergence of West Coast Hip-Hop.
Warren G was the founder of the group 213, which was named after the Long Beach, California area code and featured Snoop Dogg and Nate Dogg.
Recently, The Shadow League spoke with Warren G about his legacy.
As some know, he is Dr. Dre’s stepbrother and a longtime friend of Snoop’s. Some recall that Warren G was affiliated with Death Row Records early on. However, as he told me, things seemed to come crashing down around him when Dre told him that the best thing for him may be to leave Death Row.
Music video by Warren G performing Regulate. (C) 1994 The Island Def Jam Music Group
In hindsight, it was a good idea for him to leave the record label that Suge Knight would eventually run into the ground. But I asked him how he felt at that very moment in time when it seemed like a loved one was turning his back on him when he needed him the most.
“Everything that I went through, from the start to being successful, all the things that it took to become Warren G, it was a lot, man. A lot of trials and tribulations. I continued to work throughout,” he said.
The Shadow League: In retrospect what did it feel like to be told by Dre that Death Row wasn’t the right place for you?
Warren G: That was pretty much a blessing in disguise for me to branch off and do my own thing. If I was still hanging around I probably wouldn’t be who I am now. I’d probably be in jail now for taking off on somebody, or something like that. It was a good thing. He told me ‘I want you to go out and do your own thing and be your own man’, and I did that.
“When you’re making magic, sometimes the ingredients don’t come with instructions” – Snoop Dogg Let’s go back to the early days of G Funk – a new YouTube Originals Documentary that explores hip-hop’s most iconic and influential sound through the story of 213 (Warren G, Snoop Dogg, and Nate Dogg).
As legend has it Suge, alleged to be a Piru Blood at the time, was heavy-handed and authoritarian in the manner he ran things. Additionally, he appeared to have a disdain for artists that affiliated themselves with any of the numerous Crip sets in Los Angeles. Snoop, Warren G, Kurupt and Daz Dillinger were all affiliated with a Crip set at the time.
In hindsight, it appears as if Dre did indeed know what was best. However, it had to have stung really bad at the moment. Warren concurred. But his destiny was revealed not long afterwards.
Artist: MC Breed f/ 2Pac Album: The New Breed Song: Gotta Get Mine [Chorus] I gotta get mine, you gotta get yours I gotta get mine, you gotta get yours I gotta get mine, you gotta get yours Get yours [MC Breed] Smooth as a wanna be, for quickly you
“It hurt, but I did that,” he said. “I was ride or die up to that point. Up to that point, it was all Death Row, straight up. But after that, once I got a chance to branch off and do my own thing I put out “Indo Smoke”, which was a record I played for a cat named Paul Stewart. He and John Singleton liked it so it became the first single on the “Deep Cover” soundtrack. That’s what set it off after that. I had a little money in my pocket. Then I produced “You Gotta Get Yours, I Gotta Get Mine” by Tupac and MC Breed.”
“When I did “Indo Smoke”, then Tupac hit me and I did “Definition of a Thug”, then all the labels were on me. All those things hit me once I was on my own and doing my own thing. It just opened a whole new ballgame for me. Russell Simmons and Lyor Cohen saw the talent. They reached out and found out who I was. They didn’t even know I was affiliated with Snoop and Dre at that time.”,
Warren’s solo efforts “Take a Look Over Your Shoulder” and “Regulate…G Funk Era”, were certified gold and triple platinum respectively by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
“G Funk: The Sound That Change Hip-Hop Forever” is now streaming on Youtube Premium and is definitely a high-quality offering.