“A lot of people have been part of an era, but Warren G is an era,” DJ Premier said in G Funk, a documentary exploring Warren G’s rise as an artist, and the impact that G Funk has had on rap and pop culture.
“Hearing that come from him felt incredible,” Warren G said to VIBE about Preem’s praises. “I was like: ‘damn, I really made an impact in this music business.’ I’m a fan of Premier, so him saying that stamped me.”
G Funk, directed by 24-year-old Karam Gill, draws from interviews with the likes of Chuck D, Ice Cube, Too Short, The D.O.C., Russell Simmons, and others to tell an in-depth story of Warren’s taxing days as a member of 213, his trio with childhood friends Snoop Dogg and the late Nate Dogg. The film also contains lesser known facts like how Warren G, after finally signing a deal with the iconic Def Jam Records, singlehandedly saved the company from going bankrupt.
During the film, Russell Simmons admitted that he wasn’t sure how the company would have survived had it not been for the success of Warren G’s 1994 debut album, Regulate…G Funk Era.
“I didn’t know what we were going to do,” Warren G recalled. “I just knew we were making great music. I knew it was good but the main thing: I knew it was different. Back then, everything was dark, and going over heavy drums so I was like, ‘OK, let me find some music that’s not hip-hop and do hip-hop over it.'”
Despite the multi-platinum selling artist’s humility, Warren G spoke his legend into existence more than 20 years ago.
“I had a guy named James follow me everywhere I went,” he said. “He was also working on a TV show back then, and that’s why I asked him to follow me. And the crazy thing, which I said in the documentary: ‘I’m filming my documentary now.’ That was twenty years ago.”
G Funk also highlights the rapper’s gripping struggles as a novice artist. Despite his contributions to Dr. Dre’s 1992 album The Chronic, being a member of 213, as well as being Dr. Dre’s step-brother, G was not offered a record deal with Death Row Records. There’s even a story in the film where Snoop recalls Warren being excluded from an early Death Row tour. Some felt that Dre should have spoken to label head Suge Knight on Warren’s behalf, but he didn’t. And yet, the stoic producer remained focused.
“I’m glad he didn’t,” Warren said. “Dre not speaking up allowed me to create my own lane, and made me into who I am today.”
G Funk is available on Youtube Premium, and you can watch the trailer below.