Regulating Warren G7/13/2016
Warren G considers himself a torch bearer of sorts. As one of the pioneers of the G-Funk style, G is a legendary name from one of the most iconic periods in rap history. He and his longtime collaborator, Nate Dogg, first hit the mainstream consciousness with 1994’s “Regulate…The G Funk Era,” which went on to be certified triple platinum and spawned one of the biggest hits of the 1990s with lead single “Regulate.”
Nate Dogg died in 2011, while G continued to release music, produce other up-and-coming rappers and develop the west coast sound in hip-hop. He has released five albums since “Regulate,” the last being 2009’s “The G Files.” But last August, G produced an EP follow-up to his now-two-decade-old masterwork entitled “Regulate… G Funk Era, Pt. II.” Not only does the album directly call back to his debut album with its title, but thanks to previously unreleased material, the EP also features Nate Dogg’s voice on four of its five tracks.
“I didn’t want to get on the record and say ‘R.I.P. this’ and ‘R.I.P. that’,” G said. “ I wanted to feel like he’s right here with us. That’s the feeling of it. I didn’t want no sad stuff. You know, I’ve done that. I just wanted to keep his legacy up and his spirits up and give everybody the G-Funk that they’ve been wanting and missing.”
The EP is supposed to serve as a teaser for a full-length album coming out later this year, but G wanted the work to be able to stand on its own and serve as a reminder of a style of hip-hop that many consider to be the creative height of the genre.
“I still have a bunch more tracks, but so many people were like, ‘Warren, can you put some G-Funk out?’ OK, I’m going to give you guys a taste of it and drop the EP — just let everybody know we still do it.
“The combination — me and Nate — makes it hard for me sometimes in the studio because I’m doing music that he’d murder,” he continued. “Can’t nobody do it like us. So I’ve been feeling kind of fucked up because he’s my homeboy. I’m like, ‘Fuck it. I’m going to keep going hard for him and keep doing this music.’ It does feel different not having him there. But when I’m driving and riding in the car or whatever, it’s cool. I love to hear his music because it gets me from one place to the next.”
But all of this is serving as a backdrop for the project that G really wants to get to work on — a re-release of “Regulate…The G Funk Era,” with re-recorded tracks and bonus material. As one of the most lasting artifacts of the G-Funk heyday, giving the album a fresh coat of paint and new release is a project that G feels would be the best way to honor Nate Dogg’s memory and pay tribute to the effect the pair had on west coast rap. But it is a project that may have to wait a while.
“Right now, Def Jam owns my masters,” G explained. “They don’t want to give them back, and I need to get them back because they been living off me for over 20 years. I just want to be able to get my music back in my possession. I could live off my own music. If they don’t give them back to me, I’ll re-record the whole album, and then I would own the masters of those master recordings. That would all be for me.” CV