The G Funk era of hip-hop was ushered in by three hip-hop giants, Snoop Dogg, Nate Dogg and Warren G. The genre represented everything west coast hip hop was and is, but focused more on having fun than gangbanging.
The powers that be at YouTube decided to gift the world with an original documentary, G Funk that reveals everything you ever wanted to know about the west coast style of hip hop. It centers around one of hip hop’s biggest unsung heroes, Warren G and how much he added to hip hop’s rich history.
“I just wanted to show people how much I contributed,” Warren G told The Root, in his slow west coast drawl.
“When people think of west coast hip hop, they think Snoop and Dre and it’s more to it than that,” Warren started. “They’ve earned that. They put out great music, but I was a part of that too. I’m not trying to be a cocky dude trying to say all I did, but I want people to understand what I’ve contributed to hip hop culture.”
In G Funk, legendary rapper Chuck D talked about how Warren G took music and changed the beats per minute, thus creating a groove, a vibe if you will and that vibe became the sound called, G Funk. But Warren doesn’t credit himself with the creation of G Funk. That’s an honor he gives to Above the Law.
“These guys made me a part of G Funk. They took me in when I didn’t have nothing. They made me. They made me G Funk. When they faded out, I kept the name alive and took it into a new era. I took it worldwide,” Warren G shared.
Warren G may well be one of the most underrated acts in hip hop history. He contributed to the crate digging that most hip hop producers benefit from now, his discovery of Nate Dogg helped hip hop lean into the smooth stylings of R&B (Drake should thank him) and there would be no G Funk without Warren G.
“As far as feeling underrated, I like that. That’s what gives me the drive to work harder. I’m not tripping. I just continue to work and I will continue to work because I’m not done,” he said.
Warren G is 28 years in the game and is still looking to help develop new artists to continue shifting the needle in hip hop. “I need the right people on my team. Building a team around yourself is how you make it happen,” he said.
Once you watch G Funk, you’ll see that Warren G didn’t have the best luck when it came to being on a team. When things weren’t poppin’ off the way they wanted them to, Snoop was ready to give up and even through out his notebooks filled with his rhymes. Warren G dug in the garbage to get those golden lyrics and to urge Snoop to keep pushing forward.
“That’s how Snoop was, he would give up on things fast, but I couldn’t let that happen. We came too far! I went out, dug them out the trash can and I went back and put them in his room. There were two bunk bed sets in the room. I put the notes on the bed,” Warren G said, reminiscing on how he saved Snoop’s rap career. “I couldn’t let him lose.”
So things actually did start to pop for them and they eventually landed at Death Row Records, Warren was shocked and hurt when he was literally left behind when the entire crew went off on tour. Between Snoop and Warren’s stepbrother, Dr. Dre’s silence, Warren felt betrayed, but he never gave up.
“I was hungry!” Warren G said when asked how he kept moving forward. “I wanted to be something.With the first Chronic, I contributed to that. I knew I had the talent. So, if I can’t create something with my best friend, I might as well create on my own. Dre was telling me, “Go and be your own man,’ that hurt, but I didn’t know anyone else to turn to, but myself.”
Warren didn’t let the success of Snoop and Dre stop him from rooting for them. He also never let the scariness that is Suge Knight, discourage him from doing his thing in music. “I ain’t had nothing to be scared of. Suge has known me since I was 14/15-years-old. I’m not going to let nothing stop me from doing what I’m doing, especially if it’s positive.”
You may recall Warren G and Nate Dogg’s classic hit, “Regulate,” when we got to hear Nate Dogg’s voice croon over a hip hop track. “I was trying to be different. I didn’t want to make dark, hardcore hip hop.” Warren G dug through the crates and found Michael McDonald’s “I Keep Forgetting” and the rest was hip hop history. It’s a record that won’t quit.
At the time, Nate was signed to Death Row and Warren was signed to Def Jam. He didn’t ask for any permission to include Nate on the track, nor did he ask if Nate could perform with him at the 1994 Billboard Music Awards. So they performed, security in tow and in the footage, you can see a very salty Suge Knight. “I told Nate, ‘I don’t care what he’s saying, saying you can’t do something. Come on!’ And I had him. I’m a man and I’m not going to be a scared man,” Warren G said.
He refused to back down against Suge’s bullying techniques and basically said, he had goons just like Suge. “I never had a problem with this dude. The only thing that was said, was in a book and it said he would slap me. That right there, that’s not gonna happen to me. I don’t want to hurt nobody and I don’t want nobody to hurt me.”
One of the best and most frustrating things about Warren G is that he doesn’t need the credit that he should be showered with. The purpose of this documentary was to share his contributions. “This documentary is for the new generation to understand what it takes and all the trials and tribulations you endure on the journey of becoming a superstar. I want them to see what we went through.”
“I just want everyone to know when they mention my name, that I was a cool mother fucker. The coolest ever,” Warren G laughs into the phone.
Make sure you watch #GFunkDoc on YouTube!