Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Warren G's "Regulate... G Funk Era"

When I think of, or hear, "213", the talented trio of Snoop Doggy Dogg, Warren G and the late Nate Dogg immediately come to mind. Speaking of Warren G, that's who I'll be covering in this post, specifically his 1994 debut album. Prior to his debut, he had made contributions to some classic albums, most notably Dr. Dre's "The Chronic" (also his stepbrother) and Snoop's "Doggystyle". In addition to rapping, he also had equal time behind the boards and on the turntables, so he already had established a nice bit of credibility going into his debut. "Regulate... G Funk Era" would not only highlight Warren's skills as a producer, DJ and rapper, but it would also introduce us to some upcoming artists as well.

(Note: I know the 20th anniversary of this album is coming up on June 7, 2014, however, the album was in my ride recently, for about a week or so, which necessitated this post.)


Release date- June 7, 1994



1. Regulate
Featuring Nate Dogg



And for the album's opener, we get a CLASSIC. This song is so synonymous with the movie "Above The Rim", appearing on that soundtrack which was released the same year. The chemistry between Warren and Nate was so strong here, with their back and forth verses. I also can't forget how WELL Warren utilized Michael McDonald's "I Keep Forgettin (Every Time You're Near)" to create one of his finest beats ever. One thing I didn't know until now is that this song was nominated for a Grammy in 1995 for "Best Rap Performance By A Duo or Group". Had it won, it would've deserved it. I also wonder how Snoop would've sounded on this one. Either way, it's a classic in every sense of the word, possibly the best song of Warren's career, certainly the biggest.
*5 out of 5*

"If you know like I know, you don't wanna step to this/It's the G Funk era funked out wit a gangsta twist/If you smoke like I smoke then you high like every day/And if yo ass is a busta, 213 will regulate" -Nate Dogg


2. Do You See
 

 "Regulate" itself was a very tough act/song to follow, so it was cool that this song was placed second. It's a very good song, featuring a nice beat. Warren was essentially asking if you recognized the all around talent here.
*4 out of 5*


3. Gangsta Sermon
 This was a funny skit with Warren, B-Tip and Ricky Harris. Remember Mr. Harris playing "Ta-Dow" on Snoop's "Doggy Dogg World", lol?
4. Recognize
Featuring The Twinz

The smooth, laid back G Funk sound was the right match for the debuting Twinz. We would see more of them on and after this album. Another good factor here is that while "Doggy Dogg World" was still relatively new, the scratched hook with that sample was not out of place, and considering Warren and Snoop's relationship at the time, I'm pretty sure it couldn't have been difficult getting that sample cleared.
*4 out of 5*


5. Super Soul Sis
Featuring Jah Skills

We got another debut, this time in the form of femcee Jah Skills. She flows nicely over the soulfully bangin track provided by Warren. I used to bump this a lot back in the day, and of course it still bangs today.
*4 out of 5*


6. 94' Ho Draft
Another funny skit, which were beginning to find their way on many albums at this point.


7. So Many Ways
Featuring Wayniac and Lady Levi

More dopeness from Warren and Wayniac, one half of The Twinz. Could they bring it in so many ways? You bet.
*4 out of 5*


8. This D.J.

 

The second, and successful, single from the album. As far as follow up singles go, this was a great choice after "Regulate". I also didn't know until now that this single was also nominated for a Grammy in 1995, for "Best Rap Solo Performance". Outstanding.
*5 out of 5*


9. This Is The Shack
Featuring The Dove Shack

The third debut, coming from C-Knight, 2Scoops and Bo-Roc, making up The Dove Shack. This was a showcase for them.
*3.5 out of 5*


10. What's Next
Featuring Mr. Malik

 This joint simply knocks in the ride. Mr. Malik (Snoop's cousin and one half of the short lived duo Illegal) complements Warren nicely on this one. Everything was going so smoothly until.....


"I say what's next, what's next, what's N-X-E-T"


LOL, oh man Warren, I'm pretty sure he has been called out on this since it happened. I'm not sure why he couldn't have done a retake with the correct spelling, but I don't want to analyze it too much. When you factor out that small mishap, the song is still dope.
*4.5 out of 5*


11. And Ya Don't Stop

It was all fun and business on this fast paced song.
*3 out of 5*


12. Runnin Wit No Breaks
Featuring Jah Skills, The Twinz, Bo-Roc and G Child

I really like this one and it was the best way to close the album. The Twinz and Jah Skills bring nice verses, but I swear Warren's verse sounded like a very spontaneous freestyle. That's no knock on him, but go back and revisit this one to hear what I'm referring to.
*4 out of 5*



Overall, this 4.5 star album has aged well. It's Warren G's best and most successful album to date. That success was earned and deserved, which saw two Grammy nominations, 3 million copies sold in the U.S., "Regulate" hitting #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and "This D.J." becoming certified Gold on September 13, 1994. Even with all the success, the NICE production, the continuing of the "G Funk era" after Dre's "The Chronic" laid the foundation and bringing in The Twinz, Jah Skills and The Dove Shack, I feel this is one of the more underrated albums to come out in 1994, a memorable year FILLED with quality albums and singles. Warren is also underrated as a producer, and outside of the classic "Regulate", I don't think he gets enough credit behind the boards. I'm not sure if this is a rumor or not, but I saw that Warren may be planning a sequel, likely to celebrate the album's 20 year anniversary. I feel Warren can pull it off, as long as he brings a true vintage West Coast/G Funk style that we haven't heard in years. Mad props and respect to Warren G and each guest who made this album possible.

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