After spending some time behind the scenes plotting his next move, West Coast rap legend Warren G is back in the forefront. With his mixtape No One Can Do Better fresh in the streets and his production credit on Young Jeezy and Ne-Yo’s “Leave You Alone” record, G is letting his haters know he never left the game. VIBE caught up with the “Regulator” rapper for an exclusive in-depth interview where he opened up about the death of his longtime friend Nate Dogg, overcoming the naysayers, what’s up next with his music and more. --Jonathan Cruse
VIBE: How did you get the chance to work with Jeezy and how did he get the record “Leave You Alone?
Warren: I mean I’ve always known [Young] Jeezy and we said we would work together. Then one of my buddies that’s real good friends with one of his buddies -- My buddy Faye is real good friend with Scrap and Scrap was in LA and he hollered at my buddy asking, ‘Can you get to Warren and see if he can bring some beats down to play for Jeezy?’ So, I threw some tracks on a disc and went on down there. So we listening to the beat and he took two of them, he said, ‘all of them are dope but I like this one and I like that one, OG give me a couple of weeks and I’m gonna bring some good shit back.’ He hit me back two weeks later and was like, ‘Yo G, we got us one.’ I was like ‘what’ and he was like, ‘We got us one and I put Ne-Yo on it.’ He said he was at the listening party and they played “Leave You Alone” 15 times.
Do you know where your mind was when you produced that certain beat or was it just one of those beats that you just knocked out and didn’t think much of it?”
Well I mean I remember doing it, it wasn’t too long ago I was in the studio just grinding going hard and making beats. When I make beats, I have artists in mind when I’m doing the record and he [Jeezy] was one of the artists that I had in mind because I know he could do something great over that beat along with other artists like Jay-Z and Drake. A lot of artists come in the game but you have to be able to know how to structure and also make a song where people can understand. That's why “Leave You Alone” is such a good record because it hits everything that is going on. Every male and female is going through that and it’s not like it’s a bad thing. It's real love but you know you keep f*cking up but I can’t leave you alone because I love you.
On Twitter you always try to remain positive and drop some knowledge to anyone trying to follow their dreams. Is that something you usually do as far as becoming an unspoken mentor to other up and coming artists?
Man, I just kind of say how I feel. I don’t be trying to mentor or do any of that stuff. I just kind of do it because I know that there are people out there that are trying to get their sh*t heard and it’s stressful sometimes so I’m was just basically telling them that if you fall, just get back up and dust yourself off and try again. Even now I’ve been working hard and I have just been shut down by a lot of people, people that I love and grew up with so it’s like damn. I felt like it’s me against the world and I still kind of feel like that. That shi*t hurts sometimes when you just feel like that. So I try to give inspiration whether you are a rapper, producer, football [player] just whatever you are doing, keep going hard at it and keep faith. I’ve been up and I’ve been down during this time I was in this music. A lot of people like wrote me off like, ‘damn that nigga he on his way out.’ See, that shi*t right there, that’s what I love, I love for a motherfucka to hate on me or hate me because that makes it even better. I ain’t ever hated on no one like that and I don’t care who it is. A lot of people until this record started blowing--People are calling like ‘Warren we are happy for you.’ And it’s certain people that have called that I haven’t heard from in I don’t know how long. The way I look at it is I still I accept all the good sh*t that comes in and I give the good sh*t right back out. I know when I was down how I was being treated by you, you, you and you. I’m working with everyone and I think I just proved that with this Jeezy record.
So what do you think of the new breed of West coast rappers such as Kendrick Lamar, Ab Soul, ScHoolBoy Q and Jay Rock with their whole Black Hippy movement they got going on?
I think they are doing their thing and they are making good music. I really like that Ab Soul cat. I’ve been liking his stuff for a longtime he’s dope not saying that the other guys aren’t dope but he just stands out to me as a producer. I look at artists like ‘I can put something up under them,’ and they be off the chain.
So I’m assuming you haven’t worked with any of these artists?
I did some shit with Jay Rock but I never put it out. It's dope. It’s called “Still Living in the Ghetto” and I did a song with Kendrick Lamar on 9th Wonder’s album.
Was there something that sparked your comeback even though you never stopped working?
No, I never stopped working, I just kind of been in the cut and was like when you are not right in people’s face they kind of write you off. A few things sparked and lit that light up in my head, ‘like what am I doing? I have to step it up and get back right now.’
Do you mind sharing what one of those things that sparked you wanting to get back in the forefront of things?
I ain’t ever stopped. I was just kind of in the cut watching what’s going on and been on the road with Snoop and different people but like I said I heard a few things that were said and I was like, ‘man I can’t believe somebody said that, like what did I do to you?’
I’m assuming you wouldn’t want to share with the public who that person was maybe?
I mean nah, it ain’t one of my close loved ones that I grew up with and I don’t want to get into all of that. I mean I’m no buster but I don’t get into the whole twitter beef and stuff like that. Its stressful times with the economy and in stressful times people want to feel good and I’m gonna give them some good music that they can smoke to, ride to, dance to, make love to. That’s why I’m glad this record is doing well [Leave You Alone] like every radio cat that I know that is banging it is like, ‘man we were missing this and we are so happy Warren that you are putting this music back in the game.’
I had the opportunity to catch up on your newly released mixtape No One Can Do Better and you have some top features on it, not to mention the late great Nate Dogg. Do you mind going into the making of the mixtape, your mind frame and what it was like putting it out without your friend being here?
I was on Twitter talking and having fun and I hit up DJ Klassik from The Fleet DJs one day and we started talking and Klassik was like ‘me and my DJ’s want to do a mixtape on you Warren’ and I was like ‘go ahead and put it together’ and that would be cool because it will reintroduce me to the new generation so they could understand what I did in music and contributed to the game. Being able to listen to something that has my homeboy Nate on it is surreal and people been asking me how I feel since he been gone. I feel terrible and I felt like saying ‘f’ all this music and everything but I can’t do that. I have to let him live [on] through me and the music that we have done and nobody has heard. But it’s cool though, I do get f*cked up sometimes when I do something and I know that he would nail it and I’m sitting up here with some motherf*ckers who have no clue. I just be like, ‘man I wish Nate was here right now. He would murder this.’
Do you have like one solid track that you love on your new mixtape and you can listen to constantly?
Well my favorites are “Havin Things” and “Gangsta Love.” “Havin Things” was a record that should have been a fucking single. It was with me, Nate and Jermaine Dupri and I liked the way Nate came in.
So I know it’s still the early stages but you plan on hitting the road and touring with this mixtape and your future EP?
Yeah I’m getting ready to hit the road real soon and I just got a bunch of offers for shows so it’s going down.
Are you going to be dolo or touring with other artists?
I’m gonna have a lot of the artists that I’m working with out there with me. I fuck with YA. Their whole crew is dope. You know Pac had the Outlawz--this is my version and those little n*ggas are vicious and hungry and they know how to make songs. My dawg Black Nick -- just a bunch of cats. They are all gonna be heard as I plan to drop shit out on them.