Some 2-3 years after the release of Dr. Dre’s (monumental) post-NWA solo debut album The Chronic, we were introduced to the true definition of “chemistry”. Warren G (Dr.Dre’s step-brother), along with long beach crooner Nate Dogg, bum-rushed the rap world with their breakthrough single, Regulate. The gritty tale, flipped over Michael McDonald’s I Keep Forgetting, became an instant classic and cemented the two in hip-hop history. Now 21 years later, Warren G effortlessly rekindles the charm of his classic debut album, and career-shadowing mega-hit with his new EP, Regulate… The G Funk Era Part II.
At a short four songs long, the project clocks in at just 15 minutes. Nate Dogg appears on all of the songs – and it’s wonderful. I initially thought the album would come off as more as a “tribute”, but I was way wrong. With the exception of a reference to him being “in heaven” by Jeezy on the head nodding Keep On Hustlin, which also features Bun B, there are no RIPs here. There is also no forced attempt to sound as though this EP was recorded in 1995. It seems modern, clean and is dripping in g-funk. Saturday, featuring E-40 and Too $hort took me back to my high school days when Long Beach ran shit. The uptempo ear candy made me reminiscent of 90’s BBQ’s, just kicking in on the basketball court and everything I love about summer.
Dropping a part two of your debut on the 20th anniversary is becoming a played out attempt by some artists to capitalize on their legacy. This isn’t that. It’s also likely why Warren let that milestone pass. As 2/3 of 213, the original trio that included Snoop, Nate and Warren have a timeless “je ne sais quoi” that can only happen organically, and in some cases, once in a lifetime (if ever). They’re examples of a perfect sonic combination – not unlike Scarface, Bushwick and Willie D. Most of all, they’re legends who helped to pioneer the g-funk sound that seems to make a resurgence thanks to a new generation of artists like YG and Kendrick Lamar. The G Funk Era Part II is another extension of their legacy. It’s a must-have for OG fans, and a fitting metaphorical “pouring of liquor” for one of the hottest hook-makers in the history of hip-hop.
RIP Nate Dogg!