A Lost Track Featuring Snoop & Dr. Dre Helped Launch Warren G’s G-Funk Era (Audio)
In November of 1993, Snoop Doggy Dogg’s debut album became a commercial and artistic juggernaut for Rap music, especially on the West Coast. Calvin Cordozar Broadus, Jr. was a lanky 22-year-old who in just months, had gone from poverty to super-stardom. He had done so with Dr. Dre, the same producer who had helped give sonic platforms to Eazy-E, Ice Cube, or The D.O.C. Snoop’s style was different though. He was softer spoken, more aligned with Slick Rick or Smooth B than the fire-in-the-belly of O’Shea Jackson or id-driven entertainment of an Eric Wright rap. Snoop’s demeanor and subject matter was uncompromisingly gangster, and so was the music that supported him.
After one of the most strategic set-ups less than one year prior, on Dre’s Chronic, Snoop stepped forth with Doggystyle. His album’s creation was an ensemble that featured everybody from George Clinton to The Dramatics, comedian Ricky Harris, Illegal’s Malik, and of course, Tha Dogg Pound and Death Row inmates. It was a family affair. But like all families, there was subtext and tensions.
Warren G was a member of the ensemble cast that worked on Snoop’s quadruple platinum album. He was involved with The Chronic, appearing in several of the iconic music videos. He was one of Snoop’s oldest friends, in a studio that included relatives RBX and Daz Dillinger. Warren was also Dr. Dre’s brother, and the producer/DJ of 213 (the grassroots crew of Snoop, Nate Dogg, and Warren). The G Child wanted to prove his musical manhood on a big album. While disputes and debates over who completed what work still linger 25 years later, Warren is credited with involvement on “Ain’t No Fun.” However, he presumably worked on another song intended for the high-profile 1993 LP.
Promotional copies and early cassette pressings of Doggystyle listed “The Next Episode” among the tracks. Like many gaffes on track listings, the song was not included. On the song, which featured Dr. Dre and eventually leaked apart from the album, Snoop’s pimpish persona is on display: “Now Gs, not BGs, but OGs / ‘What about the women Snoop?’ B*tch, please / I ain’t got time to be sucker for a h*e /Even if she giving up dope / Yo ho, no (Baby) / Your love is so out of reach / You must’ve forgot that I was born and raised in Long Beach / Where the h*es come a dime a dozen / You start fronting on the p*ssy, then I f*cked your cousin / I ain’t buzzin’,” he spits, coldly.
Thanks to bootlegging, Heads can hear something interesting in retrospect, regarding “The Next Episode.” The 1993 version has nothing in common with Dr. Dre’s 1999 2001 single, besides its title and some overlapping personnel. However, the instrumental is the basis for what Warren G consumers received with “Runnin’ With No Brakes” less than one year later. On his 1994 Regulate…G Funk Era debut, the track (featuring Wayniac, Trip Locc, Bo Roc, G Child, and Jah-Skilz does demonstrate Warren’s G-Funk finesse. Both versions sample Kool & The Gang’s famed “N.T.,” as well as Les McCann & Eddie Harris’ “Go On And Cry.”
The “G-Child’s” acclaimed album would go on to pull in triple platinum certification. He used “Regulate” with 213 band-mate Nate Dogg to help set the course. The single also appeared in Above The Rim, its soundtrack, and was a monster hit (peaking at #2) that summer. Besides Nate Dogg, who benefited from the support, no Death Row artists were reportedly cleared to work with Warren. His man Snoop and his bro’ Dre were strong-armed in label politics and record industry egos. Even without the lyrical carryover from ’93, the album cut still goes:
Other omitted songs from the Doggystyle sessions have surfaced. “Gz Up H*es Down” was included on the first tracklisting with “The Next Episode,” and made the music. However, a problem with the Isaac Hayes sample (used three years by JAY-Z) reportedly halted its inclusion. “Every Single Day” arrived several years later on a Dogg Pound compilation. “The Root Of All Evil,” featuring the late Teena Marie, and “Doggystyle,” featuring George Clinton, ended up on a compilation by Death Row’s new ownership. Some speculate that “The Root Of All Evil” is the percussion line Dr. Dre and his time cherry-picked and adjusted for the “California Love (Remix)” on Tupac’s diamond-certified All Eyez On Me. In a period where Death Row was eager to boast the jewels of its vault, “The Next Episode” not appearing may suggest it was Warren’s creation all along. The artist Tha Row neglected to sign, made moves with the late Chris Lighty’s Violator and Def Jam.
Notably, Warren G made a cameo in the video to Dre’s “The Next Episode” version six years after the original. This time, Dre laid the beat, using a David Axelrod production for David McCullum. After the label politics, the two half-brothers were able to work together again, thanks to G’s singles “Lookin’ At You” and “Game Don’t Wait (Remix).”
Hip-Hop Heads hope that none of this is the final episode, as these two careers stay on the move, runnin’ with no brakes.