Station staff member Tony Evans gives us a wonderful interview with legendary west coast hip hop artist and producer Warren G.
It was a warm, calm Thursday night. On my way to the Catalyst Club in downtown Santa Cruz my thoughts began to wander. Contemplating the many ways the night could unfold, I began double checking my pockets. Chapstick – check – dorm keys – check – phone and ID – check. In my breast pocket were my ticket and a small flashcard with just a few questions I had in mind for later that night. Earlier that day my peers at KZSC were motivating me to give it a try, but I still was on the fence. Here’s probably my one and only chance of getting to talk to one of my all-time favorite artists, why wouldn’t I give it a try, right? At the same time I didn’t really think of it all that much. How is my a** going to get backstage? I don’t know anyone and I’m certain no one knows me. Heck, I’m just some kid who’s asking one too many questions, but screw it! Why the heck not? To my left is Jesika, a great buddy of mine who loves Warren G, G Funk, 213, Tha Dogg Pound, you name it, just as much as I do. We’re both stoked to finally see someone we’ve both been fans of for so long. Meeting us there is our friend Chris, also a big fan. Surprisingly there’s no line to get in. I ran into a little problem with the pat-down, but eventually we all enter. An hour goes by as people fill the benches lining the room, waiting anxiously on their phones and bobbing their heads to the “throwbacks” that were being spun by the DJ. Heck, it was Thursday so it was fitting, but that’s what I mostly listen to so I was content. Then the openers came on. Very lively and excited they stormed the stage and start spitting. I couldn’t really hear their lyrics, but I enjoyed their flow. Unfortunately I’m forgetting their names, but they put on a good act and set a subtle tone. After they dissemble their equipment another DJ comes on and starts spinning while a few people from backstage start dancing on stage. At the moment I didn’t know who they were, but their dancing got me dancing and I began absorbing their vibe. All of us in there could tell Warren G was about to step on, so we all began scurrying closer to the front of the stage.
Just as my group found ourselves a good spot to stand Warren G bursts out of the backstage room and instantly opened with two classics: This D.J. & Do You See. Right out of the gate it seemed like Warren G was here to have some good ‘ole fun while also giving us fans a night to remember. After this opener he began to get more comfortable and asked us in the crowd if anyone’s birthday landed on Nov. 10th (his own). After finding someone whose birthday did, he played 50 Cent’s “In Da Club” and started dancing around and getting real laid back. Still interacting with the crowd (through conversation and a few j’s) he transitioned into “Let’s Get High” and began to mellow down. Then came the good part… He sang “Summertime in the L.B.C.” by The Dove Shack, a tribute to his partners back in Long Beach whom he featured on his first album and did various work with. Following this was “Cali iz Active” by Tha Dogg Pound, and after this he sang various songs as a tribute to his close friend Nate Dogg. To name what was played for Nate: 21 Questions, Ain’t No Fun, All About U, Xxplosive, Can’t Deny It, B#*$h Please, & The Next Episode. All of those songs, in my opinion, couldn’t and wouldn’t have been as great without Nate Dogg, and I thought that this part of the show – this tribute to the late and great Nate Dogg – was simply amazing and very fitting. Following this up Warren performed his verse in “Ain’t No Fun” acapella which was just dope, and he honestly sounds exactly as he did back in the day. Then came a number of his various own duos with Nate like “Nobody Does It Better”, “I Need A Light”, “I Want It All”, and of course “Regulate”. At the end of the show he thanked the audience for our love and our energy. It was a great concert to say the least, and I can’t stress enough how fantastic he was live! He created an atmosphere that went great with his performance and he chose tracks that only complemented and flowed with one another. Next time he’s in Santa Cruz I highly advice any fan of his to go and see him and show him your support. You won’t be disappointed.
Well next thing you know everyone and their momma are filling out of the venue, and I instantly decide to run around back and give it the “old college try”. Splitting up from Chris, Jesika and I ran around back and noticed a technician who I happened to recognize during the show. I told him my story and that I wanted to ask Warren a few questions and he understood, sympathizing with me since he’s a UCSC alum himself. So he got me backstage but also jeopardized himself since Warren G’s buddy wasn’t too happy letting strangers (myself and Jesika) backstage, but he understood what we were there for and generously let us through. I was pretty damn nervous but I finally made it backstage and wasn’t going to let this opportunity pass me by. I hope you enjoy this interview and keep your eyes peeled for more G Funk and Warren G productions in the future! Make sure to check out Regulate… G Funk Era Part II The EP and support the homie Warren G.
– Tony Evans