NEW YORK — It's been long understood that Snoop Dogg, Nate Dogg and Warren G wanted to come together and represent for their Long Beach 'hood in a West Coast supergroup called 213. But it's been so long since they first talked about it that Long Beach no longer has that area code.
Such telecommunication barriers have not put the project on hold. The three showed up in New York on Monday to make everything official and announce the July 20 release of the debut 213 album, The Hard Way.
Though this will be the first album released under the 213 name, the three hip-hop heavyweights formed the crew when they were young pups growing up in Southern California -- before producer Dr. Dre discovered Snoop and birthed the G-Funk era.
"[We] started in like the late '80s, early '90s, just around the neighborhood putting it down," Warren G explained. "I was on the turntables, Snoop was rappin', Nate was singin'. We kept striving and striving and striving."
The three have been recording songs for 213 over the past year. They originally were scheduled to release the album on Geffen Records, but the trio recently struck a deal with TVT Records.
Snoop sees the 213 project as a chance for the group to bring West Coast hip-hop back to the masses. "Music right now is missing a sound like this," he said. "All of us coming together and putting our projects on the back burner to make this happen is only going to enlighten our solo careers. And it's fun to do because we're homeboys and always dreamed of it. So why wait till we're 37 or 50 years old and no one wants to hear us anymore? Why not do it when we in our prime?"
The group did use West Coast producers like Battlecat but also people like Kanye West and DJ Hi-Tek, both of whom hail from the Midwest. Warren G did not produce any of the songs on the album, he said, because he wanted to concentrate on his rhymes.
Maybe 213 are taking a cue from the success of 50 Cent and G-Unit, because the name of the first single from The Hard Way is "Groupy Luv." G-Unit have a song on their Beg for Mercy called "Groupie Love."
Snoop explained the concept behind the single. "We're trying to find groupie love. That means beautiful girls who want to become video stars aspiring to do something with their careers. We can give you that upliftment. We can get you in the video."
When asked if 213 would tour, Nate Dogg deadpanned, "How else do you think we'll get groupie love?"
The members then explained, more seriously, that they plan on mounting a small tour starting June 11 that'll see them doing a medley of solo hits and new 213 songs.