Don't call it a comeback! Well, actually, I Want it All probably
won't be much of a comeback in any case, considering hip-hop's finicky
and forgetful fan base. But if anyone deserves an award for
best-album-from-someone-almost-no-one-cares-about-anymore, it's Warren G.
After not hearing much from him after his immensely popular 1994 hit,
"Regulate," Warren G could easily qualify as a one-hit wonder of the G-Funk
era (sort of he actually had a top 10 hit with his second single,
"This DJ," though his follow-up album Take a Look Over Your Shoulder
more or less tanked). But Warren G took the mellow yet funky vibe
popularized by his half-brother, Dr. Dre, and rode a brief wave of success
with his first album, Regulate ... G-Funk Era, a collection of
ultra-smooth R&B-laced funk tracks that owed as much to the 1990s as it
did to the 1970s.
To his credit, Warren G hasn't switched up his style one bit after five
years, saving us all from his stab at Wu-Tang sonic abstraction or the
synthetic production aesthetic of the No Limit and Cash Money crews. On
the excellent title track (RealAudio
excerpt) Warren G remains California to the bone, bringing in
fellow West Coaster Mack 10 to low-ride an El Debarge loop and a rhythm
track that if it were taken down one more notch would cross
the border from laid-back to lackadaisical.
"Dope Beat" (RealAudio
excerpt) reminds us that he's been around the proverbial block,
telling us a story of his early days with Snoop Dogg and Snoop's cousin
Nate Dogg in the group 213, as well as his time making tracks with Dr.
Dre. Fortunately for him, he still keeps good company, such as Kurupt and
Dazz Dillinger of the Dogg Pound, old-schooler Slick Rick and upstarts
Memphis Bleek and Eve. Snoop adds his voice to "You Never Know" (RealAudio
excerpt), a song that deserves to be a hit, but unfortunately the
Snoop, Nate and Warren G collaboration "Game Won't Wait" is a bit too
lethargic to pass muster.
In the world of hip-hop, where time is measured in dog years (no pun
intended), Warren G's sound is as old as Yeller, but through sheer
perseverance and perspiration he has been able to stay relevant without