Warren G remains best known for "Regulate," his 1994 collaboration with Nate Dogg, which familiarized kids around the world with the rugged streets of Long Beach's East side, and just celebrated its 20th anniversary.
But he's been everywhere and done just about everything when it comes to L.A. hip-hop. Shuttling between Compton and Long Beach as a child, he learned how to make tracks from his stepbrother Dr. Dre, and was given his first real producing job from Tupac.
Meanwhile, he came of age in a group called 213 with the brothers Dogg, Snoop and Nate, gaining early performance opportunities at a local club called The Toe Jam. (The delightfully-named spot was promoted by Rodger Clayton, of West Coast rap pioneer crew Uncle Jamm's Army.)
Now living in Mission Viejo with five kids ("the school systems out there is overcrowded," he notes) he's still producing and rapping, in addition to Dadding. We met up with him recently at Red Bull's fancy Santa Monica studios, to where he had just lugged three cases of old home-recordings, to transfer onto Pro Tools. Just before our interview, as a stunt, a professional BMX rider jumped over his head. No joke.
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Wearing hipster-style glasses with a red frame, he played a long-lost track he made for Michael Jackson in 1995 at the latter's request. Apparently, Jackson recorded vocals over the mellow R&B track with twinkly synths, but Warren never got to hear it, and it was put into a vault, never seen since. Warren did get to meet the Gloved One, however, and describes him as "just a regular dude," which is hilarious.
He also played for us a new song on which he makes a feature, "To: Nate Dogg," an ode to his late comrade. It's just released by Wanz, the hook-specialist who also produced it, was made famous in Macklemore's "Thrift Shop," and is obviously indebted to Nate, stylistically. The track also features Grynch and Crytical, and does a good job keeping things G-funky three years after Nate's death. You can hear it below.
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