Warren G is an often overlooked figure in hip-hop who played a very significant role in the development of West Coast rap music during the 1990s G-funk era. Born and raised in Long Beach, the rapper and producer (real name Warren Griffin) is Dr Dre’s step-brother, and growing up, the pair bonded over their shared love for music.
Warren G grew up in the same Long Beach neighbourhood as Snoop Dogg and was good friends with Nate Dogg. During the late 1980s, the three emcees were recording demos, and one ended up in the hands of Griffin’s step-brother.
Speaking to LA radio host Big Boy about how he discovered Snoop Dogg, Dr Dre revealed, “My little bro Warren G brought me a cassette tape, and we were at a bachelor party, and I popped it in and listened to it and was like ‘Woah I need to meet him!’ What it was is the way he put his words together and his voice.”
Snoop Dogg would eventually sign to Death Row, and while he was releasing solo material, simultaneously recorded collaborative material as part of the Long Beach trio 213, comprised of himself, Griffin and Nate Dogg. As well as being a rapper, Griffin was also a producer. Although he was never signed to Death Row, he was an affiliate and associate of the label who operated out of their Tarzana studio.
Throughout the early ’90s, Warren G worked with West Coasts artists such as the Long Beach native Daz Dillinger, Tha Dogg Pound, Nate Dogg and Snoop Dogg. Warren G’s production features on a multitude of G-funk projects. However, despite his proximity to Death Row, the entrepreneur and lyricist never worked with Tupac Shakur. In fact, he actually rejected a 2pac collaboration. Even though Dr Dre (real name Andre Young) was his brother Warren G has since clarified why he never signed to Death Row.
In an interview with the LA radio show ‘The Neighbourhood’ hosted by Big Boy, the “I don’t know, I think it’s ’cause me and Suge used to bump heads a little bit. I knew I wasn’t a part of it when we were supposed to go out for the first tour and everybody had everything in order, and I didn’t have nothing. I didn’t have no ticket, no information, no nothing. So, I packed like I’m going. I’m like, ‘Shit I guess they gonna get my shit when I get to the airport.’ Got to the airport, wasn’t nothing happening. They had went and did they thing!”
Irrespective of the fact he wasn’t officially part of Death Row, Griffin made some great music and one of his most well-known tracks is his 1994 ‘Regulate’ featuring Nate Dogg. You can hear the acapella vocals of the song below.