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Posted on August 6th, 2015 (12:00 pm) by Justin Goodman

Despite the, as Heather put it, “smooth head bobber” effect of Warren G’s sequel to Regulate…G Funk Era, what stands out most on this EP is how haunted it is. The terror of the incomplete lurks within, mostly, as jarring and traumatic as his friend and fellow rapper, Nate Dogg, dying four years ago. At its best Regulate G Funk Era Part II is an abstract, half-hearted attempt to finish work that was started long ago. At its worst, it’s a feeling of obligation that seems compelling to neither Warren G nor the listener.

I've already said how disappointed I can be when one of the rightly lauded masters releases something more akin to a photo album than an EP. To an extent, this was my initial response with Part II. “My House” is both homage to Madness’ 1982 single “Our House,” and ironically as valueless as every verse (each being a list of Warren G’s possessions); “Saturday” is a chill party song less memorable than the Rebecca Black song. Even “Keep on Hustlin,” the strongest track (with the help of southern rap luminaries Jeezy and Bun B), comes across at times as young G discovering funk bass:

But none of the MCs on the album pretend to be doing anything but longing. Once Jeezy says “Rest in peace Nate Dogg, I’ll meet you at the gate,” this becomes obvious. Suddenly all that follows the sermon intro and radio static seconds preceding “My House” aren’t the vain preservatives of vanished youth, but the fond recollecting of hip-hop legacies. Suddenly, the record skips which disjoint portions of each track are eerily subtle attempts to signify the 20 year gap between his groundbreaking debut and the following nostalgia. Suddenly the winded minimalism that creates a silent center throughout, and the dissonance that plays off this hollow feeling, make the last lines (sung quaveringly by Nate Dogg) prescient and terrifying: “She thought she could save me, but she was dead wrong.”

For a sequel, it is both deceptively similar and surprisingly distinct. It's quite surprising to see an EP as the sequel to an album. Despite how it wants to come off, occasionally succeeding, I can’t escape the image of an old man telling stories of his greener grass childhood over and over. Perhaps it’s just the side effect of what makes Warren G dissimilar to other greats like Nas and Tupac. Illmatic and All Eyez on Me are to Ernest Hemmingway – whose masculinity and stricter realism display the brutality of society – as the Regulate album and EP are to William Faulkner, obsessed with what has passed. This obsession becomes mystical, and this mysticism becomes mystifying: one of those beautiful concepts that, no matter how beautiful, can’t be as appreciated in practice.

Track List:

  1. Intro
  2. My House Ft. Nate Dogg
  3. Saturday Ft. E40, Too Short & Nate Dogg
  4. Keep on Hustlin' Ft. Jeezy, Bun B & Nate Dogg
  5. Dead Wrong Ft. Nate Dogg
Warren G
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

68 / 100
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