Warren G, the G-Funk architech, is back for the 0-9. The rapper/producer has pioneered for years in the 90's with six LP's and 10 million copies sold. Now, he hopes to usher in a new era for the West Coast. AllHipHop talked to Warren to get the current state of affairs and his new album The G-Files.
AllHipHop: You've stayed off the radar for a while. What have you been up to in that time?
Warren G: I've been working. Doing shows, doing reality shows, also doing my music at the same time.
AllHipHop.com: You have your own business entity?
Warren G: I have G-Funk Entertainment. That's a production company slash label. What we do is we develop artists and what we do also is submit tracks. G-Funk scored "Harlem Nights" TV show that was recently on BET. We submit tracks for artists.
AllHipHop.com: Let's talk about your new album, The G-Files, which will be released Sept. 29. Was it your goal to self-produce?
Warren G: Every record I've ever done, I've produced it. From day one, from first album to now. I'm a producer before an emcee. I just know how to rap. That's what I do, man, is production. I mean, Regulate, Indo Smoke, Tupac ... these are all records I've produced. I've been on that for a while. As far as this record right here, I produced 99 percent, the other 1 percent was produced by this cat THX. He did a song called "True Star" [featuring BJ], the first song after "The West Is Back."
AllHipHop.com: Speaking of "West is Back," it features Bad Lucc, who's worked with up and coming yet somewhat underground LA artists like Diz Gibran, Bleu Collar, etc. The song symbolizes the west coming back. What do you think of some of these L.A. artists making a name for themselves?
Warren G: I mean, I like a lot of those dudes. I think they're doing their thing. They just needed a harder push through whichever label they're dealing with. They need a chance to be heard. They're definitely representing for the west.
AllHipHop.com: You're bringing out artists like Halla, Blacc Nicc and Cassie Davis. Who are they and why are they on the album?
Warren G: Halla is an artist trying to get in the game. Bad Lucc is another artist trying to get in the game and Blac Nicc is another artist unsigned trying to get in the game. Cassie a European, well Australian artist ... who's huge down there. And I've got BJ, who's an incredible vocalist. I have Trevor Wesley, who's another incredible vocalist. It's a lot of people that I know who got a lot more talent than what I hear on the radio and don't get a shot. What I do is put them on my record because I have a fanbase and I open my fanbase to them, and so they can picked up around the world, so they can get a shot at becoming a superstar. That's why I work with these guys, but I also got Snoop Dogg, Raekwon, Travis Barker, Nate Dogg RBX, people that I really worked with from day one, except for Raekwon. And Raekwon is a cool cat and I bumped into him and we decided to do a record 'cause we've never done that. That's what it is with that.
AllHipHop.com: Speaking of Raekwon and how your album flows from track to track. From what I heard, you have a song like the '420' song which has a mellow vibe and right after you're coming with Raekwon. The album has feels balanced, is that what you were going for?
Warren G: It's like you said, when I started the record with "West Is Back," that led into "True Star" and then I brought it back and changed the vibe. That's what 420 is. Then we got right back - after the small break - we get right back into the groove (hums a melody). Then I get serious with the songs towards the end, then i come up again with "Crush" [featuring Ray J] and "Ringtone." It's like a pattern, that's what you have to do when you make a record. You have to know how to keep it going.
Warren G: Regular featuring Nate Dogg
AllHipHop.com: That's the Quincy Jones way of making an album. That's kind of a lost of art. Now, you have a song called "Ringtone," and some could say it's more or less a cliche. What's your response to critics?
Warren G: Yeah, but that's what's crackin'. Ringtones is selling a lot. So if I come with a song called ringtone, [fans] will be like, 'hey it's a song called ringtone, let me check that out.' It's not even talking about a ringtone. It's talking about a girl and how she got her own ringtone and on her ringtone she may have Trey Songz or Warren G. And girls love their ringtones. So I decided to make a song about those girls that love their ringtones and love Warren G.
AllHipHop.com: So do you have a ringtone?
Warren G: Do you want me to tell you what mine is?
Warren G: (Sings) Baby, what's your phone number ... You don't remember that? (hums the melody). 777-9311, I want to spend a night with you if that's alright. You don't remember that?
AllHipHop.com: Not the artist. I know the song.
Warren G: It's the Time. Morris Day and the Time.
AllHipHop.com: I was about to say Prince.
Warren G: I also got "Ain't No Fun." That's one of my ringtones.
AllHipHop.com: It's got to be one of the bestsellers.
Warren G: Oh yeah. Then I got (hums) 'Sweet Dreams are made of these." I made these ringtones myself through iTunes, then I put them on my iPhone and my BlackBerry.
AllHipHop.com: What's next, an iPhone application like Snoop?
Warren G: That's in the works right now. My boy is building it as we speak.
AllHipHop.com: That's all the new rage. I gotta ask about RBX. I enjoyed the song you all did, it's very hip-hop. Was that a recent collabo or has that been on your hard drive for a minute?
Warren G: It was a record I did for a video game, I forgot the name of it. I was running through songs and was like, 'this is hard,' and I was like, i'm gonna use this shit. Ain't nobody ever heard it. And it's up to date, right to what's going. I've read something that a dude named Ironman said, that I dig back and pullin out old stuff. I have tons of music that I could've pulled out. It don't matter if it's old, as long as it bangs. Just like Tupac, he's done tons of records and they're just coming out now.
Warrren G: "This DJ"
AllHipHop.com: Yeah, with WIDEAwake (the company that owns Death Row).
Warren G: I don't know anything about that (laughs).
AllHipHop.com: What do you make of Def Jam on its 25th anniversary?
Warren G: I'm just glad to be a part of it. When Def Jam was in a situation where it was going downhill, a Warren G album put them back in the game. From there, that's why we are able to celebrate the 25 years of Def Jam. I feel happy just to be part of that and deal with Russell and Lyor when no one else gave was really dealing with Warren G. It is what it is (laughs).
AllHipHop.com: Is there anything you feel you still haven't accomplished?
Warren G: I just don't feel like I've got to that plateau where you just explode. Like with what T.I. did with that "Live Your Life" record. I haven't got there. I probably have but I want to do it again. But if I not, I'm not tripping, because I'm also a producer.
AllHipHop.com: All it would take I would think is getting Rihanna on a track.
Warren G: Yeah I can reach out to these people, I've reached out to these people. But sometimes people forget. I'm not the person to chase somebody. When I call them once and they don't get back in time, I just kind of forget about it and just keep pushing. When they call back, it's all good but it maybe too late and I've moved on to something else.
AllHipHop.com: I just saw Ice Cube headline Rock the Bells. It's his 25th year in the game as well. How do you feel as far as your longevity in the game, do you plan on going on tour and implementing the new record?
Warren G: Yeah, I'm getting ready to go on the road and promote this record.
Warren G "Crush" featuring Warren G
AllHipHop.com: You get asked about Detox all the time, but I want to ask about The Chronic. There's a book forthcoming about the making of it from the author who wrote "Rollin With Dre" with Bruce Williams.
Warren G: I got Bruce's book [Rollin With Dre].
AllHipHop.com: Do you think Dre with Detox can come with anything close to The Chronic?
Warren G: [Chronic] 2001 was better than The Chronic, it just keeps going up, better and better. Chronic 2001 was incredible, the second Chronic was incredible, and Detox from what I heard is incredible. It's tight, [Dre's] got some shit.
AllHipHop.com: Has Dre heard your album?
Warren G: No, he he hasn't heard it.
AllHipHop.com: Alright, thanks for your time.
Warren G: No problem, buddy.