Photo by JnF Creations

Warren G Hints at Two New EPs & Talks His Best BBQ Recipe

The legendary West Coast producer and rapper on the backstory of his new single and how Snoop Dogg inspired him to launch a line of BBQ sauces and rubs.

You can’t talk about West Coast rap in the 90s without mentioning Warren G, the legendary producer and rapper who broke into the music industry in 1990, when he formed 213 with Snoop Dogg and the late Nate Dogg. It wasn’t long before his sing-style rap and sound were labeled “G-funk,” and shortly after that, he helped take the subgenre worldwide. In 1992, he co-produced Dr. Dre’s The Chronic album. In 1994 saw the release of his Grammy-nominated hit “Regulate” with Nate Dogg that went on to reach triple-platinum status. And in 1996, he released the single “What’s Love Got To Do With It” with Adina Howard—the list goes on. His discography is chock-full of chart-climbing singles and notable features. The latest to be added? The singer’s new single “And You Know That” that dropped today featuring West Coast favourite Ty Dolla $ign. 

On “And You Know That” you’ll hear Warren G delivering raps on his OG status and hit records, while Ty Dolla $ign sings a smooth and harmonious chorus. It’s a song you’ll want to have on repeat this summer, especially at a bbq, with a side of Warren G’s Sniffin Griffins BBQ sauces and rubs—the producer’s latest venture. Over the course of our conversation, we talked about how the producer and rapper refined his sound, which was so quintessential to the 90s era, and G-Funk making rap and hip-hop what it is today.

BeatRoute: Where in the world are you right now?

Warren G: I’m in Los Angeles, California. Yes, indeed. The hotspot [laughs]. I’m [staying indoors] and wearing my mask. 

BeatRoute: How’s your week been so far?

Warren G: It’s been good. I’ve been doing a lot of interviews, making a lot of calls to a lot of good people around the industry to let them know I have this record coming. You know, I need as much support as I can get; I’m independent now, so I’m [talking to] all those I’ve supported over the years and done a lot for.

BeatRoute: Your single with Ty Dolla $ign is the type of song that gets you up and dancing. How did the two of you first start working together?

Warren G: Well, first of all, before I met him, I met his father, Tyrone. He worked at Nadine’s Music store—he was the guy that sold me my first equipment. Later on down the line, Ty Dolla $ign asked me to do a cameo on the video he was doing, with YG, and a bunch of other guys. I did the cameo, we got to talking, and he was like, ‘My dad sold you your first equipment! He used to work at Nadine’s.” That was a trip, you know? 

We became cool, and I used to hang out with him—I would cook, [there was] a lot of good music, cool people around, and a good time. That’s how we built our relationship and I had this beat that I was like, ‘man, Ty would fit perfect on here.’ I called him up, went over to the studio, and we started playing pool. I let him hear the music, he disappeared for about 30 minutes, came back, and it was done. The rest is history [laughs]

BeatRoute: Where did the inspiration for this record come from?

Warren G: Right now, we’re going through a lot of stress, a lot of pain, a lot of anger, so I wanted to put a record out there that gives people a time out. I’m not saying [to] stop doing what you’re doing, [whether it’s] protesting or going through some stuff, just take some time out.

I’m a feel-good type of person, so I put music out [to] put people in a different zone and get them away from things that they’re going through.

BeatRoute: How does it feel to be releasing music right now? 

Warren G: I mean, it feels good. I’m able to sit right here, from home, and talk to you. I don’t have to travel real far, so that’s a cool thing. Being able to chill with my kids. Being able to just look at my whole career and kind of go back and say, you know I haven’t been paying attention to this—just cleaning up a lot of my backend stuff. Taking time with my kids, trying to get them into fishing and stuff like that. 

BeatRoute: Throughout your whole career you’ve been known to do a ton of collaborations and features. What is it about collaborating with other artists that you’ve found to be inspiring?

Warren G: I just look at it like, if there is somebody I like, I’m gonna go tap in with them. I’ve been in the game long enough, so I’ll be like, ‘yo, whatchu doing? I want to do a song with you.’ Most of the people, I can hear them over my music, so it’s kinda like, this is meant for you. I tap in with them, we do a track, and it ends up being big records. In this new music industry, it shows that you can be an older artist, a younger artist, but you’re never too old to make a hit record, you know what I’m saying? Music doesn’t have an age, so it doesn’t matter. Michael McDonald just dropped a single, so that’s pretty dope, I’m gonna check that out and get into it. It’s just a good thing to be intertwined in good music.

BeatRoute: Your sound was so quintessential to the 90s era. Taking it back a bit, how did you first find that sound and refine it into what is so widely known today? 

Warren G: I wanted to be different. Snoop and Dre, they were more hardcore with the production and the lyrics; I wanted to do a different side of music. Bring that feelgood, still knockin’, still clubby—I started doing gangster shit over a record that you wouldn’t think some gangster shit would be [on]. Like the Michael McDonald single, “Regulate”, it was different. Everybody loved the [song] already because it was a classic before, so I redid that classic and made it bigger than the original. That was a good thing—it also helped out Michael McDonald and The Doobie Brothers, they still getting checks [laughs], good ones, too. I love to create with other artists and meet them personally [and] see who they are. 

BeatRoute: I know your documentary G-Funk dove into this, but for our readers, how do you feel G-Funk has inspired today’s rap and hip-hop music?

Warren G: Man, it’s inspired the whole industry. Now you hear a lot of artists [that have] this rap-singing style to them. That’s what I started doing before G-Funk, you know. If you listen to my verse [in “This D.J.”]: 

Can I get in where I fit in? Sit in, listen
Let me conversate better yet Regulate
Shake the spot with my knot, may fade
‘Cause I don’t like to dream about gettin’ paid

A lot of artists are using my style these days. A lot of artists want that 90s feel back, so a lot of artists are trying to recreate that sound. The best way for them to do that is to get with the people who created that, and well, I’m one of them, and I’m willing to work with all the young artists. I like a lot of them out there.”

BeatRoute: Switching lanes, let’s talk about your company Sniffin Griffins BBQ. What made you decide to launch it?

Warren G: I catered a bunch of events, and everybody loved my seasonings, everybody loved my sauces, and they were like ‘you have to turn this into a business, Warren. You have something here.’ So I did. I got some sauces formulated, I had some friends help me with the different flavours, and just went full body with it. I learned from a lot of Texas guys about smoking, I combined that with what I’d already been doing, and I was getting people saying, ‘this is the best BBQ I’ve ever tasted in my life!’ People wanted to get behind me to push it. Snoop was like, ‘we gotta get this in stores, I’m gonna send it to Martha Stewart, I’m going to send it to all my big-time chef friends.’ All those people telling me that was very inspirational. I’m not gonna leave my music alone, that’s what I do, but I can make it work together.

BeatRoute: What’s your favorite dish to make with your sauces and rubs?

Warren G: I like making beef flanken ribs—they’re thin cut and have the three little bones. I actually get mine two-inch cut, and I love them because I can make them so tender to where it’s pretty much a brisket—as soon as you bite it, it just falls apart. I love cooking everything, but the ribs are the go-to, that’s the shut-em-down [laughs]

BeatRoute: What can we expect in the coming months?

Warren G: Right now, music is really single driven. So I’m going to drop about maybe four or five singles back to back. A couple of months after this record builds, I’m going to drop another record and just [keep] doing that, and then I’m going to try and do maybe two EPs. Then I’ll start doing full-lengths and collaborating with a lot of the young artists, along with the artists from my era and just putting good music out there. I’m turning into the Khaled, the Dr. Dre of the West Coast, I’m that guy. If you dope, Warren G is going to get down with you. 

Photography by JnF Creations.