Warren G in 2015
|Warren Griffin III|
|Born||November 10, 1970|
Long Beach, California, U.S.
Warren Griffin III (born November 10, 1970), called Warren G, is an American rapper and record producer who, aiding the G-funk sound, assisted West Coast rap's 1990s ascent. In 1990, he had formed with Nate Dogg and Snoop Dogg a trio, 213. Topping his seven Top 40 hits, the 1994 single "Regulate," Warren's duet with Nate, was a massive hit. Earlier, despite his teenage jailings in his California hometown Long Beach, having pioneering gangsta rapper Dr. Dre for older stepbrother, and having standout lyricist Snoop for groupmate, Warren G took a unique path into the rap subgenre G-funk's success.
Not joining them at Death Row Records, where he helped on their debut solo albums, Warren G signed to a Def Jam label. And less suggesting gangsta funk, yet voicing simpler concerns, rapped more simply, Warren G became G-funk's everyman. On the American popular songs chart, the Billboard Hot 100, amid 18 weeks in the Top 40, "Regulate" held #2 for three weeks by August 1994, and led his debut album Regulate... G Funk Era.Certified 3x Multi-Platinum, three million copies sold, in August 1995, it also bears his other Top 10 hit, "This D.J.," at #9. Both songs drew 1995 Grammy nominations as "Do You See" reached #42.
His second or 1997 album, Take a Look Over Your Shoulder, includes three Top 40 songs, with "I Shot the Sheriff" at #20, but "Smokin' Me Out," at #35, big locally. His sixth Top 40, at #18, is Nate Dogg's 1998 single, a duet, "Nobody Does It Better." Warren meanwhile began family life, and would increasingly value it. His 1999 album, I Want It All, charted the title track at #23. Although swiftly certified Gold, half a million copies sold, both albums remain so over 20 years later, his final albums certified. In 2001, his fourth album, The Return of the Regulator, a comeback attempt with star collaborators, strayed from his strengths.
On indie labels, 2005's In the Mid-Nite Hour and then 2009's The G Files, still a G-funk with, he said, "a taste of that modern electro sound," are his own productions, but escaped popular notice. In the 2010s, amid his live shows, festival touring, and television appearances, his fan base, accessible via the digital age, asked for classic G-funk. In 2015, he released Regulate... G Funk Era, Pt. II, an EP with archived recordings of Nate Dogg, who died in 2011. By digital downloads, their "Regulate" single, Platinum since 1994, went 2x Multi-Platinum in 2017. In 2019, Warren G launched a line of barbecue sauces, Sniffin Griffins BBQ.
Warren Griffin III was born on November 10, 1970, in Long Beach, a city in California's Los Angeles county. Among three sisters, he was the only son of Warren Griffin, Jr., an airplane mechanic, and Ola, a dietician. Once they divorced at his age 4, he lived with his mother and three sisters in East Long Beach until he was just about to start middle school.
In 1982, Warren went to live with his father in North Long Beach. His new wife, Verna, had from a prior marriage three children. Among them was Andre Young, soon the Dr. Dre who in 1984 joined a leading DJ crew, the World Class Wreckin' Cru, which by 1985 doubled as an electro rap group, which in 1987 put out the Los Angeles area's first rap recording under a major label. By then, a Jordan High School student, Warren was playing football and running with friends.
At age 17, Warren was jailed for gun possession. Released soon, he began focusing on music after Dre taught him how to use a drum machine. Meanwhile, still in 1988, Dre was the lead record producer for Ruthless Records and for, as a member of, N.W.A--a new rap group on the new label--whose landmark album, Straight Outta Compton, was driving the Los Angeles area's rap scene to swiftly drop electro for gangsta, while Warren, fresh out of high school, was jailed for selling drugs. Once out, he worked at the Long Beach shipyards.
By 1990, Warren had formed with two longtime running mates, Nathaniel "Nate Dogg" Hale and Calvin "Snoop Dogg" Broadus, the trio 213, the origin of a share of the G-funk sound to soon emerge in rap. Yet the trio, in practice, dissolved once Warren connected the trio to Dre, who thereby launched two superstar, solo careers, Dre's and Snoop's, upon G-funk. Nate, too, signed to Dre's Death Row Records, in Los Angeles city. Warren initially helped there, but, averting a career in his mentor's shadow, signed to Def Jam Recordings, in New York City.
Apart from his music career, Warren has four children with his wife, Tenille Griffin. Getting older, increasingly identifying with his father, fond of cooking and storytelling, Warren G embraces "his morals and good family fun." In 2018, Warren G's son Olaijah, finishing high school playing football's cornerback position, ranking #3 in California and #26 nationally among college recruits, chose the University of Southern California, the USC Trojans, and drew all-conference recognition in 2019. Also in 2019, Warren G launched, for retail and restaurant supply, a line of barbecue sauces and rubs, Sniffin Griffins BBQ.
By 1990, in his hometown Long Beach, as record producer and rapper, Warren formed a music trio with two of his longtime running mates, Nathaniel "Nate Dogg" Hale, a rapperlike singer, and Calvin "Snoop Rock" Broadus, a singerlike rapper. The Long Beach trio, fond of Oakland rap group 415, named after the Bay area's area code, took the name 213, the Los Angeles area's. Practicing and recording in the modest studio in Long Beach record store V.I.P., they cut a demo tape.Dr. Dre, already a celebrity, rebuffed his younger stepbrother Warren's requests for him to listen.
Before long, homemade copies of 213's songs spread in Los Angeles county, particularly the cities Compton and Pomona, and Los Angeles city's sections Watts and South Central, but no label picked them up. One day, Warren phoned Dre to catch up, and found him at a bachelor party--thrown for Dre's friend Andre "LA Dre" Bolton, another record producer--whereupon Warren found himself invited to join it. There, once the songs began to repeat, Warren offered LA Dre the 213 tape. Liking it, he summoned Dr. Dre, who, hearing the Snoop rap "Super Duper Snooper," immediately welcomed the trio. Days later, 213 moved into Dre's lavish house, in Calabasas, home to both his wife and his recording studio.
In April 1992, Dr. Dre's debut solo single "Deep Cover" introduced America to Snoop Doggy Dogg, the track's guest but instantly star rapper. Warren helped Dre find sounds for Dre's debut solo album The Chronic, further debuting Snoop, whereby superstardom chased Snoop into 1993 and, via Snoop's own debut solo album, Doggystyle, captured him by 1994. By then, also solo, Nate, too, had joined Dre's label, Death Row Records. Warren, returning to Long Beach, aimed to find his own way. In 2004, a 213 album finally arrived: The Hard Way. Yet since 1993, indeed finding his own way, Warren G, in records like "Regulate," would be heard incidentally, and mysteriously to many, hailing three digits, 2-1-3.
During 1993, at Dr. Dre's studio, Warren met John Singleton, director of Boyz n the Hood, the seminal film owing its title to Eazy-E's debut single, produced by Dre. Singleton asked Warren to produce a song for the soundtrack of his forthcoming film Poetic Justice. Warren thus produced Mista Grimm's song "Indo Smoke," featuring Warren G and Nate Dogg. The single's success led to Warren invitation to Russell Simmons's label Def Jam Recordings, where Warren G signed a record deal. Also that year, Warren and Nate, along with Kurupt--whom the 213 trio had brought to Dre to help on his album The Chronic--feature on "Ain't No Fun," a huge underground hit, too risque to be a single, on Snoop's Doggystyle album, released in November.
On the Above The Rim soundtrack, from Death Row Records in April 1994, the single "Regulate" was a duet cowritten and performed by Warren G and Nate Dogg. Spending 20 weeks on the popular songs chart, the Billboard Hot 100, with 18 of them in the Top 40, including three weeks at #2 in May, it was the summer's top rap hit. Certified Gold, half a million copies sold, since June, it attained Platinum, a million copies, in August. In January 2017, via digital downloading, it was certified 2x Multi-Platinum. Back in the American summer of 1994, it stood at #1 on the MTV charts. Performing in Japan, he would discover fans who apparently understood no English, but knew all the lyrics. Into the 21st century, it remained Def Jam's biggest hit single. Russell Simmons, a Def Jam founder, explains, "Warren's music was worldwide because the melody plays no matter what the language."
Yet further, unlike other G-funk, short for gangsta funk, Warren G, even called "a romantic" at heart, voiced simpler concerns. And his modest rap styling maximized, by heeding, his modest lyricism. "Regulate" doubled as the lead single Warren G's debut album, Regulate... G Funk Era, arriving in June 1994. Selling a million copies in three days, it debuted at #2 on the popular albums chart, the Billboard 200. In August, it was certified 2x Multi-Platinum, two million copies sold. Its second single, "This D.J.," went gold, half a million copies, in September, while peaking in July at #9. At the 1995 Grammy Awards, in March, both singles were nominated. And in January, the album's other single, "Do You See," had peaked at #42. In August, the album was certified 3x Multi-Platinum. That month also brought some Warren G collaborations on two albums from his Long Beach associates, the Twinz duo's Conversation and The Dove Shack trio's This Is the Shack. And 1996 saw Warren G on the "Groupie" track of Snoop's second album, Tha Doggfather.
Warren G's second album, Take a Look Over Your Shoulder, released in March 1997, was certified Gold, half a million copies sold, in May. Sharing with the Supercop soundtrack the single "What's Love Got To Do with It," featuring singer Adina Howard, a spin on the 1984 single by Tina Turner, reached #2 on the UK Singles Chart, and peaked in the US at #32 on the Billboard Hot 100. "Smokin' Me Out," featuring Ron Isley of the classic soul group, reaching #35, was big on the Los Angeles area's radio play. "I Shot the Sheriff," a lyrical spin on the 1973 single by Bob Marley & the Wailers, yet an instrumental borrow from rap group EPMD's 1988 single "Strictly Business," which itself samples that Wailers classic, reached #20. Yet a letdown overall, the album missed his debut's superstar potential.
In July 1998, Warren G's sixth appearance in the Billboard Hot 100's upper tier Top 40 became Nate Dogg's single "Nobody Does it Better"--on Nate's repeatedly delayed debut album--featuring Warren G, in another duet, which peaked at #18 on the Billboard Hot 100. Here, incidentally, Warren raps a bar indicting his transition to family life. Warren's third album, I Want It All, released in October 1999, has Warren mainly producing--where, perhaps, his greater comparative strength among musical peers abides--while vocals go largely to guest artists, including Nate Dogg, Snoop Dogg, RBX, Kurupt, Eve, Slick Rick, and Jermaine Dupri. Certified Gold in November 1999, it bears the single "I Want It All," featuring Mack 10, which, becoming Warren's most recent Top 40 appearance, peaked on the Hot 100 at #23.
Over 20 years later, his 1997 and 1999 albums remain at Gold certification, which none of his subsequent albums have achieved. Released in December 2001, Warren's fourth album, The Return of the Regulator, with a litany of collaborators, including the P-Funk father and G-funk godfather George Clinton and, elsewhere, Dr. Dre producing a track, is allegedly overdone, a comeback undone by Warren's reaching beyond his strengths and being outdone by his guests. He "wastes a hot, Dre-produced beat," in the single "Lookin' at You," alleges a Vibe writer, who finds G-funk on its deathbed and Warren G "administering the fatal shot." Seeing #83 on the popular albums chart, the Billboard 200, it offered nothing significant on the popular songs chart, the Billboard 100, either, and became his final album under a major record label, here Universal Music Group, before returned on an independent label.
In the Mid-Nite Hour, released in October 2005, Warren G's fifth album, his first without a major label involved, was on Hawino Records. Heavily featuring his native, 213 groupmates Nate and Snoop, it is devotedly Warren's own project, homemade on a low budget. Music critics assess it to better carry Warren G's own virtues as G-funk's everyman. Yet by that very virtue, as expected, it saw scarce exposure beyond Warren G's fans.
His sixth album, in September 2009, The G Files, "still the same basic G-funk sound," adds to "that classic soul vibe," Warren explains, "a taste of that modern electro sound." Disliking what he put as the rap standard of "some drums and one synth sound," he titled "The West is Back" for return to "that great soulful sound." "100 Miles and Running" features Nate Dogg--recorded before Nate's strokes in 2007 and 2008--and the Wu-Tang Clan's Chef Raekwon.
From June to September 2013, Warren toured in the West Coast Fest, "an OG affair" with DJ Quik, Mack 10, the Dogg Pound, Bone Thugs N Harmony, and others. Meanwhile, in a guest role, Warren played OG Hemingway in the sitcom Newsreaders on the Cartoon Network's Adult Swim programming. And in August 2014, on the Mnet channel's reality series American Hustle Life, he directed an alternate music video for "Boy In Luv," by South Korean boy band BTS.
Nostalgic fans would ask Warren for more of classic G-funk, and even ask for more from Nate Dogg, who had died in 2011.The single "My House," leading Warren G's first EP, a format shorter than album, arrived on July 13, 2015. Having four songs, the EP, premised as a sequel to the 1994 original, is titled Regulate... G Funk Era, Pt. II. Released on August 6, it features E-40, Too Short, Jeezy, Bun B, and, in all four songs, Nate Dogg. With his unique knack for intuiting Warren's production cues, Nate leaves behind some of his 213 partner's favorite recordings.