Warren G Feels G-Funk Hip-Hop Helped Expose Police Brutality
There was something special brewing in Los Angeles around the tail end of the 1980s. In the wake of N.W.A.'s classic Straight Outta Compton album, young creatives began stretching and reshaping hip-hop samples, in the process creating a subgenre called G-Funk (or gangsta funk). This story about the birth and ascent of G-Funk—which helped catapult the careers of artists like Snoop Dogg, Nate Dogg, Dr. Dre and his stepbrother, Warren G—is told in the new YouTube Originals documentary, G Funk.
The doc features extensive camera time from all of the aforementioned artists, with a strong focus on Warren G, the "Regulator" rapper who also executive produced the film. In it, he praises George Clinton and the Parliament for providing the inspiration and source material on which G-Funk was built. "That was the people that was before us, that we really looked up to," Warren tells XXL of the P-Funk icons who ruled the 1970s. "We still look up to George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic."
In G Funk, he takes viewers on his journey from Long Beach, Calif. to music stardom. "As a kid growing up in a neighborhood like that, your dream is to get away and do something," he tells XXL. "I knew I was gon' go somewhere, but I didn't know I was gon' get this far. I knew Snoop was gon' be a star from the beginning, he just had a swag about him that was different."
Warren G is candid in G Funk, speaking on how his blow up didn't happen overnight. Still, he was an important contributor in the musical movement, providing ideas and samples to Dr. Dre for The Chronic. "I just wanted to be involved," he says. "That's my family, and we ride or die together."
In the documentary, Warren G toils through rejection from labels as a member of 213 and as a solo artist, even after his contributions to California's new sound. "I just kept working hard, cause I knew that the stuff we was doing was dope," he says. "We knew we was talented, we just wasn't gon’ give up."
Even with the early struggles in his career, Warren remained focused on sharing the realities of L.A. through his music: "Around those times, and there was a lot of [police] brutality. So we talked about it, and made it cool [to do so] while also making people aware of what was going on."
The end of the film shows him giving props to Wiz Khalifa, stating that he has "the funk." He's also a fan of modern-day hip-hop beatsmiths like Metro Boomin and Mike WiLL Made-It. "They know how to make you dance," Warren says. "That's what the producer wants to do, to see people groovin' and having a good time to their music."
G Funk ties together the origins of a special era in hip-hop. Featuring appearances by Warren G, Snoop Dogg, Too Short, The D.O.C. and more, the documentary is available for streaming on YouTube Premium now.
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