By Elizabeth Rule
The regulator is back to remind the hip hop world what G Funk really means. Warren G dropped his new EP, Regulate…G Funk Era Part II on August 4th, a sequel to his 1994 debut album. In an interview with Billboard, Warren G promised to bring back a “sound that has been missing in hip hop,” with this EP. G Funk Era Part II pays homage to the west coast rapper and producer’s roots as a pioneer of the G Funk genre. While the funky beats are definitely block party worthy, the lyrics themselves might be a bit too old school for kids of this generation to relate to.
The record starts with the bouncing party anthem “My House” that flips Madness’ 80s hit “Our House” into a funk inspired hip hop track. This is the same trick Warren G used with his 1994 hit “Regulate” that allowed him to bring G Funk rap to the forefront of the west coast hip hop game. Though the beat is solid, one can’t help but wonder at the value of the lyrics when Warren G just lists off things he owns. Nate Dogg’s repeated verse, “my house, my house, my house, my house,” is catchy, but too repetitive throughout.
The fourth song on the EP, “Keep on Hustlin” is a recall to Warren G and Nate Dogg in the early 90s, with some help from southern rappers Young Jeezy and Bun B. The song is the highlight of the EP with it’s distinctive bass line and hypnotic melody. Every rap verse is melodic and well worded, especially Jeezy’s wherein he gives a subtle tribute to the late Nate Dogg, “Rest in peace Nate Dogg, I’ll meet you at the gate.” Jeezy’s line is the first of only a few that tell of Nate Dogg’s 2011 death, making the EP a very subtle but touch tribute to him. Since Nate Dogg is featured in every song on the EP using unreleased material, its easy to overlook the lines dropped in honor of him. Nate Dogg was just as important as Warren G in the emergence of G Funk in the 1990s. He introduced a hybrid style of singing and rapping that is highlighted on the EP’s third song, “Saturday”. The track also shows Nate’s ability to rap above his staple baritone sound. Warren G and Nate Dogg were truly innovators of the hip hop genre and the EP’s funky beats prove Warren G still has the G Funk touch. Yet some Warren G and Nate Dogg’s lyrics feel reminiscent of old men telling stories of their younger, wilder days.
This lack of distinct lyrical finesse is what separates G Funk Era II from Warren G’s step-brother, Dr Dre’s, new album Compton: The Soundtrack. While Dre throws it down with strict realism of today’s society, Warren G keeps it in the past with stories from 1990s Long Beach. Though the production is clean and keeps the EP at a steady hype level, the voices of Jeezy, E-40, Too Short, and Bun B are what keep this EP relevant. Overall, Regulate…G Funk Era Part II does what Warren G promised by bringing back the funk that has been missing from hip hop in the last decade. Though with the success of young artists like Kendrick Lamar who put a huge emphasis on producing quality, uniquely inspired beats, Warren G may need to step up his lyrical game to stay relevant.