With early involvement on his half-brother Dr. Dre‘s classic debut solo album, The Chronic, and Snoop Doggy Dogg‘s Doggystyle for Death Row Records, Warren G would soon bless the world with a G-Funk tune known as “Regulate”, with the late Nate Dogg. Since those early years, the “G Child” has gone on to release several multi-platinum and gold-selling solo projects, such as his 1994 Def Jam Recordings debut Regulate…G Funk Era, as well as Take A Look Over Your Shoulder, In The Mid-Nite Hour, and The G Files to name a few.
To go along with his dope beats, providing production on classic songs such as 2Pac and MC Breed‘s “Gotta Get Mine”, Knoc-Turn’al’s “What We Do”, Nate Dogg’s “Nobody Does It Better”, and Thug Life‘s “How Long Will They Mourn Me”, the west coast vet has laid down verses alongside a long list of artists ranging from the likes of Dr. Dre and B-Real to Bishop Lamont, Ray J, Raekwon and Jermaine Dupri, and many more. Well into 2011, Warren G has continued to provide that soulful, G-Funk-inspired sound that so many people love.
Tragically, Warren G lost his best friend and most famous collaborator Nate Dogg, after the crooner succumbed to health issues earlier this year. The two friends frequently collaborated on a bevy of classics throughout the years, and we caught up with the rapper to discuss just that.
In this Chad Kiser exclusive, Warren opens up to us about losing his homeboy Nate Dogg, while sharing the creative process behind his dedication track to his fallen comrade on “This Is Dedicated To You” (listen here ). He also names his favorite Nate Dogg and Warren G collabos, talks about working with The Game on the upcoming Nate Dogg & Warren G EP, and more.
First off I want to ask how you are doing since the passing of your friend Nate Dogg.
I’m hurting. I’m hurting. At the same time, it’s a celebration of his life and what he brought to the game and the things he accomplished. But it’s just a messed up situation and I wish it didn’t happen. I’m just pushing everything I do that he was an equal part of, and I am going to continue to still say “Nate Dogg”, to push off of his legacy. I got an EP coming out, Nate Dogg and Warren G, that’s going to be four songs to let people hear a little bit of the unreleased material that we had, and just put that out there. We are going to put it out there just to show people that we are still making records. It don’t stop. You know and I have reached out to a bunch of people like Game, who came on and we got an incredible record. Bun B came in and we got an incredible record. I got a few other cats that are going to get down and be a part of the project at the same time; just making some noise, man, keeping it going for my homeboy Nate Dogg.
Can you describe the atmosphere of the scene surrounding the funeral and what was going on through your mind?
I can’t explain what was going on through my mind. What I can tell you I was feeling sad, fucked up, hurt. I couldn’t believe I’m at a funeral for one of my best friends.
I watched part of the streaming video of the funeral, and that preacher you all had was really on point. What did you think of the service over all?
The service overall was incredible. The preacher did his thing man. I really appreciate what he said. The people that came out, just all the musicians that I know in the industry that play for a lot of big name people, and all the choirs that came out and showed their support, I mean that really meant a lot to us. It was a beautiful thing. Like I said, it was a celebration of his life. At the time all this stuff happened, he was on his way, falling into the gospel world. Nate was raised in a church. Actually I met about three or four of his choirs in Memphis. He brought them to my studio and he had them sing on one record that I had. I said “Nate, you crazy.” So he had them sing on the album and I was like “Cool.”
I mean, it was just great to see all the support. A lot of the fellow artists out here came — Game, Quik, WC, Ice Cube, and Dre came … just everybody. Every artist on the West Coast was there and showed their support because he helped a lot of these guys’ careers and their music. So everybody came and showed their support and it was incredible.
Even though I was hurt and sad, and just didn’t have any words, you know? That’s the part I could tell you, that was incredible. That really, I mean, it really meant a lot to his family — that everybody showed their support like that. I don’t know if his mom realized, because she is straight church, she doesn’t listen to no hip-hop, no nothing, straight church. That’s it, but I don’t know if she realized how big he was. (laughs) It was just the people that was there, those was just the people they let in. If it would have been where everybody could come in, it would have been, shit, 5- 10,000 people there. All of Long Beach was trying to get in, but they couldn’t allow just everybody to come in. You know if it was me, I wouldn’t want motherfuckers to see me in no box. Fuck that!
The record you just put out, “This Is Dedicated To You”, is very personal and reflective from you to Nate. Tell me about the making of that track and how it all came together. It must have been hard for you to think about exactly what to say and to get it out.
It was just talking about the things that I was going through, going to see him, and all the things that was going on, just going through that shit, and just missing him. I do songs that — like the other day Game and I did a record that I have Nate Dogg on. I did another record with Game, and that was like there was a missing piece. Me and him was like “Damn, Nate would have killed this.” It was just like, “Wow, we don’t have that. We’re missing that.”
I’m missing it and I’m hurting, you know? Because, I put him in the game, and I started this for real. It hurt a lot. That was my top dog. That was the only person, you know? Me and him been through a whole lot. Even right before the shows and all that stuff, he would come to the studio, we would argue sometimes having fun. We used to argue, but then he would be on me and keep me on my toes, like “You need to step your game up, Warren.” He used to tell me, he wanted me to go hard on all these dudes in the industry from the West, the East, and the South… it don’t matter. He said, “Warren, you need to quit doing this and go hard on all these dudes and let’em know what time it is with you”. He used to try to get me to do that, but I said, “Nate, you know that I ain’t into that. I’m not into that gangsta sh** on my records, but I ain’t no busta at the same time. I ain’t no scrub, I ain’t no square; if somebody comes woofin’, I ain’t no busta. You know and the streets know that. So I don’t need to get on no record, Nate, and go hard like that”. But he kept me up and kept me going. That’s what I miss.
When nobody believed in him, I believed in him; and when nobody believed in me, he believed in me. That’s why every record that we would do would be a classic because we went through a struggle together. Even me and Snoop struggled together. We went through a struggle together. It’s a hard thing man, and I’m missing him. The game is going to miss him. The music is going to miss him. The gospel, the choir music is going to miss him.
You’ve mentioned that you have been in the lab with Game doing some work, what can you tell us about what you two are doing?
Well I’ve got the EP, so I asked him to get on the record with me and Nate for the EP. So I did that. I gave him a track for his album, actually his album was done, and he let me hear a bunch of it. Man, his album is a movie. It’s incredible. I guarantee you. This shit is going to be tight, like Dre worked on his shit and the record is put together real nice. It’s good, he’s going to really fuck these niggas up with this shit he’s coming with, I’m telling you. I really mean that, I heard the record, it’s dope. So you can imagine what the Detox is going to sound like. Wait ’til you hear this nigga out.
But I did a record with him, and I played the beat I said, “Game, I got one for you”. I pulled it up, he was listening and was like, “Oh shit!”, he started bustin’ it and did a whole song, and I sat there and watched him write and everything. This was in like maybe three hours, two or three hours he finished that motherfucker. The record is so dope, it could potentially be one of his singles. That’s how dope it is. He was like “Oh this is going on my album.” He’s going to go back, “Stop the presses, this is going on my album.” You know, I didn’t rap on it, I was just showing another side of myself as a producer because that’s what I do. I’m a producer before a rapper. But I can rap too. I’m all of the above.
Can you tell us the track that you and Game worked on with Nate? Can you tell us what that song is about, or what the concept of the song?
It’s classic West Coast shit. The song is called “Party We Will Throw Now”. You know, it’s classic West Coast shit. It’s talking about giving everybody the insight on this new West Coast, and just West coast, period and just game, period. It’s all over. Whether it’s the South, whether it’s the East coast, it’s a party we will throw. Everybody is going to be able to relate to it. When you hear the hook, you will be like, “Ok, this is exactly what we are missing right here.” It’s a good record man. I’m glad he got on it. I immediately was like, “This would fit Game right here, this record, this would fit him perfectly.” So I got at him and he was like “Man, it’s all good, O.G.” Boom. In at the studio, knocked it down. The records came out incredible, both records, the one for him and the one for me.
What’s the one for him like?
Oh wow. It’s called “Everyday.” I don’t know if he wants everybody to know what’s up. The song is called “Everyday”, but the record is incredible. It’s a great record. I don’t want to blow the cover on what it’s about, but everybody can relate to it.
To come back to the “This is Dedicated to You” song, you got a certain lyric that kind of stood out to me…
I already know what you’re going to say, “Hell nah, that ain’t Nate Dogg!”
Is that kind of a dig to Dr. Dre with the “Kush” song and the dude imitating Nate?
Not at all. Why would I diss my brother? That’s stupid. Why would I diss him? I’m talking to all these other motherfuckers who try to sound like him. Trying to do shit. There’s a lot of motherfuckers out there that they can’t do it like he do it. They try to be hook men, but they can’t do it like he do it. Like he did it where he was on, shit, tons of records, over 2-300 records. There’s other guys out there that, you know you can’t take Nate Dogg. I’m not directing that… that ain’t nowhere near directed towards Dre and the “Kush” single. I wouldn’t dare sit up there and try to diss my folks. That’s my folks. That’s my people.
The other motherfuckers try to talk shit, but that’s my guy. That’s who helped me do what I do. I know a lot of people are out there probably thinking some shit like that, but they trippin’. You know? I ain’t disrespecting nobody. Hell nah. I could have said names, like you, you, you, you … hell nah, you all ain’t Nate Dogg. You all will never get there, where he at ’cause I done reached out to some motherfuckers — you know, can they get down and they came at me funny. Industry shit. These industry niggas. I done reached out to a bunch of people. That’s why I said that. I reached out to tons of these dudes, a lot of motherfuckers he helped break they careers. Motherfuckers send me to a manager, send me to assistants, and all that shit ain’t … that’s that old Hollywood ass, industry bullshit. I don’t care how many records I done sold, or how many records I’m going to sell or do this or do that, I’m going to always be Warren G. The man you see on camera, is the man I’m going to be off camera. If you want to holla at me, and any of these artists come holla at me and we talk and say “Ok, let’s do a record. Let’s go.” I’m not going to give you no excuses.
I’ll tell you a dude who kicked it 100 and I’m going to always remember that … and that’s Bun B. Bun B is the realest dude I’ve ever met of all these fools. Bun B and Game, them niggas is real. I hit Bun B I said, “Bun B, I’m doing this Nate Dogg and Warren G EP, I need … boom, boom, and boom from you.” He said “Send it over.” Boom. You know how fast he sent that sh** back to me? It had to be 15-20 minutes that shit was back, done! I had to blast it on twitter, I said this dude …. but he’s always kept it 100. Pimp C is the same way. When Pimp C got out of jail, he came to see me. He came to see me, came to my studio. That’s a real motherfucker. Them is real niggas. They stick together in this rap music. They ain’t with all that Hollywood ass, “Yeah ok, you this, you that.” But then when the real motherf***ers get at you from Hollywood, what the fuck I need to talk to your manager for? Because when you see me you going to say, “Oh, when can we do this, let’s go do this, and go do that?” Every motherfucker like, “When we going to do this and do that?” And then when I say “Alright I’m going to hit you.” Then when I hit them it’s like, “Oh you got to talk to such and such,” and I got to talk to all these funny ass motherfuckers around them and without even talking to him. Nigga talk to me personally if you can do it, cool, if not there’s no love lost.
There be some funny ass shit going on in this industry with these motherfuckers and that shit ain’t cool. I’m going to still keep it like I keep it, Warren G is a cool ass nigga. That’s my rep. That’s my rep in this industry. Warren is a good, cool dude. But these dudes in this industry get inside of themselves, and they just on some funny ass shit. None of these niggas still ain’t sold as many records as me. I haven’t put out a record in five, six years. When you can do that, then you can act like that. I’m still getting checks from my first record, and that was 20 years ago. It’s like “God damn”, and I ain’t that motherfuckin’ old. (laughs) I’m still young. Don’t get it twisted, a lot of these guys is older than you think. There’s a lot of them that’s older than me, that’s cracking right now.
When you first heard “Kush” and “I Need A Doctor”, what were your thoughts on those?
I like “Kush”, that motherfucker is bangin’. “I Need A Doctor”, I felt that because, you know, I be feeling that way like Eminem was feeling talking to Dre. Because when I seen Andre, I told him, “Man, you Dr. Dre! No matter what you do, what you put out, all that shit you play for me is banging, you’re Dr. Dre. What we gotta do is get back in this motherfuckin’ studio, pull out that motherfuckin’ weed, bring these bitches, and all these bomb-ass musicians, and get in there and create like we used to.” That’s my version, that’s how I felt.
I really felt that song because it’s like one of your best friends trying to tell you, “Man, what is you trippin’ off of, nigga. You’re Dr. Dre. You’re legit, what?” You know what I’m saying? Yeah, so I really felt that song, but I don’t know who Dre was talking about when he was talking about all them phony friends and all that. I guess he talking about all these motherfuckers who left him for dead when things weren’t like they was, you know? But I’ve always been there. All our lives sh**, from sleeping in the same bed together as kids, ’til now. That’s the reason motherfuckers going to say anything, and when you asked was that a diss … NEVER. I would never diss him. I hope that’s blasted and it’s clear, so everybody can see it. Ain’t no telling, there could be somebody over there with him and they saying, “Well, Warren…” You know what I’m saying? But all he has to do is call me, or I talk to him. He knows I wouldn’t come at him like that. He’s my family. I don’t mean no industry family talk, that’s my family outside of it. At the end of the day, when all of this sh** is said and done, we are still going to be around each other because we family.
In the 20+ years you all have been in the industry, you have one song together. Why is that?
(laughs) That’s something you got to ask him. I am ready, I’m ready. It’s whenever, whatever, however. I’m always ready to do one with him. You got to ask him that. I can’t answer that one. We supposed to do one on Detox, but he just says he has to find the right melody. I guess he hasn’t found it yet. (laughs)
Do you know if Nate ever recorded any vocals for Detox?
I am pretty sure he did. I know I gave Dre a tape of a song. It was a skit I did with Nate. I hope he uses it, it was pretty dope. It was like this Doo-Wop, it’s a nice skit and Nate sang the whole thing. It’s dope. I hope he uses it. Then I gave him a record that I did called, “Smoke With Me Tonight”. You know that’s dope. Or actually, it’s called, “Let’s Get High”, I’m trippin’.
“Regulate” is your most well-known with Nate, what’s your personal favorite song that you did with him?
“No One Can Do It Better”.
Because we had a lot of fun recording that for one, but you know, we was just letting motherfuckers know, can’t no combination do it better than me and him. As far as the music we do in general, whether it’s Snoop, Dre, Warren G, Nate, Daz, Kurupt … all our people that’s involved with what we do, we was just saying no one can do it better than we do when we are all together.
Describe working with Nate in the studio. Between you and him, how do songs come together, hook first, beat first?
I would have a beat going, and whatever we were going through at that time, that’s what comes out. If there was a woman around, then something about a woman is going to come up. Then we are going to start making songs about a woman that we can relate to. Or, if I am mad about something, then we talk about it. That’s why our music comes out real because it’s real life shit that we talk about. We ain’t like characters that make all those crazy sounds, we just do real life shit. It’s just us in there, we are going to have a drink, smoke a joint, and let’s just go. I can’t really tell you how it happens, it’s magic man. I can’t explain the shit. We just do it. And I will tell you a motherf***er who is kind of like that, and that’s Rick Ross. I can see that in him.
Have you worked with Rick Ross?
No I haven’t worked with him. I’m going to get at him. He knows he owes me a 16. He owes me a 16 on the Triple C’s, he owe me. I’m on you Rick Ross. Need my 16. Give it up!