Grinding the rough streets of Long Beach, California, as a youngster wasn't easy for Warren G.
The West Coast rapper, also known as the Regulator, has dealt with some harsh demons on his way up and out of the 213 — gangs and drugs, to name two. He describes his journey in In the Mid-Nite Hour's autobiographical second single, "I Need a Light," featuring longtime friend Nate Dogg, who, along with Snoop Dogg, took much of the trip beside him.
"The song talks about a lot of situations, what I've been through from me growing up to now," G told MTV News recently. "It's also a lot of situations Nate and Snoop have been through [too] — just us being hip-hop artists and the life of living in Long Beach."
"This is a lot deeper than other songs we've done together," Nate added. "It's about how when you're going through troubles, people deal with stress differently. Like, I have so much going on that I just need to relax. There's just so much stress going off."
Throughout the track, G, who refers to himself at one point as a "serious basket case," spits rhymes about running with a gang and getting arrested. Then he segues into his decision to leave that lifestyle and start doing right by his family and others, making the point that change is possible, though not always easy.
Directed by Paul Hunter (Snoop, Pharrell), the clip is a throwback to the early 1940s with a bit of contemporary flair — the duo are decked out in chic black suits, engulfed in rich colors and dark silhouettes and surrounded by flashy cars and beautiful women. But it also shows the rapper's sweet side, interspersing images of him with a bride, a wedding ring and babies.
"The tone of the video shows the classic side of Warren — how he built his empire from the streets of Long Beach and expanded it to the world," Hunter said in a statement. "He's showing everyone that it's all about class and treating people right."
G said he's in a much better place now, mentally, and he's ready to show that to the world. "I'm just happy, man," he said. "There's so much going on, and I just can't wait to have fun."
No doubt the rapper will have his share of good times reteaming with his 213 comrades, Snoop and Nate, as they prepare to unleash some new material in the coming months.
"We will probably drop a single called 'PYT' around early May so it can ride out the summer," G said, adding that he could be joining Snoop on tour this summer with Ludacris and Ice Cube. "He called me and asked if I wanted to get on the tour, and I was like, 'Let's do it!' That was it, done deal. Now we just have to work out the particulars."
Finally, G said another 213 record could soon be in the works, their first new album since 2004's The Hard Way (see "Snoop's 213 Get Wrong Number While Doing Things The Hard Way").
"I talked to Snoop the other day, and we talked about doing another one," he said. "We haven't set it in stone yet, but it's going to go down, and once we do it, it's going to go pretty fast."
G said he plans to step in as the album's producer this time around.
"I can't wait," he said of the supergroup's return. "We make hit records together, and when we get together, man, it's magic."