The G-Funk Documentary Pulls Warren G From The Background & Makes Him The Pioneer (Video)
For nearly 25 years, Warren G has been a powerful force within Hip-Hop. A multi-platinum MC, a hit producer, and an accomplished DJ, Warren Griffin joined his 213 band-mates (Snoop Dogg and Nate Dogg) and Daz Dillinger in putting Long Beach, California on the Hip-Hop map.
While Warren’s first three albums all carry gold plaques (with his 1994 debut Regulate…G-Funk Era certified triple-platinum), many of his most known contributions went uncredited. Notably, Warren worked on half-brother Dr. Dre’s solo debut The Chronic and band-mate Snoop Dogg’s debut one year later, Doggystyle. Part of the studio ensemble, though never signing to Death Row Records, nepotism and politics appear to have plagued the early part of G’s career. In Snoop’s own 1996 single (and Biz Markie cover) “The Vapors,” the MC rapped about Warren getting passed over to work at record stores during his DJ days. Partnering with filmmaker Karam Gill, Warren is screening the documentary film G-Funk at this month’s South By Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas.
“I wanted to tell my story. A lot of dudes have been telling their stories, and I wanted to let people know what it was that I contributed to West Coast Hip-Hop and Hip-Hop culture in general. I created what people now consider the genre, G-Funk,” Warren tells Shadow And Act. While Dre is often associated with pioneering the melodic, Funk-fueled era in Rap music, DJ Quik and Above The Law’s Cold 187um are also both credited. Like Warren and Dre, both of them have ties to Death Row as well. Last October, 187um (who says he mentored Warren G) claimed himself as the creator of the sound while appearing on Sway In The Morning.
In a video interview with Comcast, Gill weighs in, “Warren’s such a humble guy; someone needs to tell his story.” Gill met Warren in recent years, and spent the last two calendars working on what is his first documentary feature.
The film features never-before-seen archival video and photos from the 1970s and 1980s, long before Warren G’s Rap dreams came to fruition.
“I don’t want to spoil it, but you’ve got some guys in there that’s saying some things…like, wow. Like Russell Simmons, I can’t wait for people to see what he says.” Without Dre and Death Row, Warren became managed by Chris Lighty instead of Suge Knight, and signed with Def Jam Records for his first two LPs. Warren details his film as “Uncut. It’s deep…like you said, sad, happy, [many things]. I just can’t wait for people to see it.” Snoop and Ice-T are confirmed as other speakers in the film.
Warren spoke to Shadow And Act about the moment that he feels solidified his career. “When I didn’t get a ticket to go on tour to be with my brother and my best friends, that moment right there is what changed my whole shit. But, I turned that negative into a positive and I drained all of my energy into just creating music and not letting it ruin me or have me stressed out.” After making “Regulate” with Nate Dogg for Above The Rim soundtrack, Warren built his solo career. “All of that just made me work harder because I knew that I was talented because I had contributed to a lot of the successes that were happening at that time. So, I just poured all of the energy that I had into creating and writing music. I came out with [Mista Grimm’s] ‘Indo Smoke,’ and I also got to produce some music for Tupac and MC Breed called, ‘Gotta Get Mine.’ They caught me at the right time because they caught me when I was trying so hard.”
The film, which will shop following the festival, has the producer feeling reportedly re-energized. “I am just overwhelmed and charged up about this film. It’s like I’m starting over again with the G-Funk era, and it has a soundtrack.” Warren confirmed that, like his half-brother with Compton, he’ll be deeply involved in the G-Funk soundtrack.
G-Funk screened Saturday (March 11) in Austin, Texas.