The G stands for God.
The year was 2002. I was 11 years old, and my mom was driving me to my homie Leon's birthday party, where we would see The Scorpion King in theaters, hoop in his backyard, and watch adult pornography for the first time.
We swung by Barnes and Noble's music section en route to the party to pick out a present. Leon, whose dad owned the largest vinyl shop in Seattle, had already developed a sophisticated taste for rap that revolved around Eminem, DMX, and Limp Bizkit, so I knew I had to come correct. As I perused B&N's hip hop aisle, letting my fingertips caress the wall of CDs, I instinctively came to a stop at Return of the Regulator by Warren G. At this time in my life, I had never heard of Warren G. But here on this black and white album cover was Warren leaning against a lamppost, staring down the camera's fish-eye lens, basically looking cool as shit. Oh yes, I thought. This will do nicely.
Warren G has long since secured his legacy as one of the key architects of G-funk, the southern California rider music that overlaid whining synths and raucous drums atop funk and soul samples. He came up in the early '90s in Long Beach with Snoop Dogg and Nate Dogg and learned how to produce from his stepbrother Dr. Dre. ("I was in junior high school and I would sneak [Dre's] jacket and wear it to school. It had the World Class Wreckin’ Cru on it," he said in an interview with SkeeTV.)
"I was helping out with Dre on the Chronic – you know, me, Dre, Snoop, Daz, Kurupt, RBX, Rage, Nate Dogg," he told Rolling Stone in 2014. "I was buying old, Sixties, Seventies and early-Eighties R&B and soul and listening to a lot of soundtracks from Blaxploitation movies, just getting ideas and seeing how their lifestyle compared to ours and seeing what kind of knowledge I could get that would help me go further as a producer and as a rap artist."
Warren first achieved moderate success in 1993 with the "Indo Smoke," a collaboration with Nate Dogg and Mista Grimm that made the Poetic Justice soundtrack, and a verse on Snoop's "Ain’t No Fun (If The Homies Can’t Have None)," then broke out the following year with his triple platinum debut album Regulate... G Funk Era. Today, we celebrate Warren G's 47th birthday by revisiting a handful of his most indelible creations from G Funk Era............. and beyond.