Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Whhhy? - Regulate

The hip-hop world lost one of its greatest contributors when Nate Dogg passed away on March 15, 2011. Originally partnered with Snoop Dogg and Warren G, he went on to collaborate with a number of artists and helped shape the music landscape with his deep vocal stylings. So it is only fitting that I break down one of his greatest hits performed along with Warren G, the seminal song, Regulate.

Let me start off by saying that this is one of my all-time favorite songs. I owned both the "Above the Rim" soundtrack and "Regulate ... G Funk Era" because of that song. That being said, why would Warren G and Nate Dogg want to rap about what happens in Regulate?

First of all the song opens with a sound bite taken from "The Untouchables" television show explaining what a regulator is: someone who takes care of his property and is handy with a gun. And the song does in fact reinforce this idea, but meanders around this point rather than focusing in on it.

Warren G is just chilling by himself, looking for some girls. But Mr. Nate Dogg is determined to find Warren G. The priorities here seem muddled, but get even more so when Warren G is quickly distracted and decides to join in on a corner craps game which already sounds like a bad idea. Surprise, surprise, instead of letting him in on the game, the brothas decided to rob him at gun point, to which Warren G points out the obvious: "I'm stuck." They start shaking him down and taking all his bling, including his Rolex. (Now why would you pull up to a street game with a Rolex unless you wanted to get jacked?)

Meanwhile, Nate Dogg, so dogged in his quest to locate his fellow rapper Warren G, has to fight the urge to pick up on some girls that pass him by. He does so successfully, turning his attention back to Warren G just in time to see him getting held up. With his sidearm, Nate Dogg subdues, or "regulates," Warren G's robbers. Then, quite generously he mentions that both he and Warren G "had to regulate."

Obviously Nate Dogg is devoted to his friend, for how else could you explain his focus in not chasing after the girls, not getting sucked into other local betting games, locating and rescuing his friend, and giving him credit for helping to regulate the busters? If anybody did any regulating that night, it was clearly Nate Dogg and Nate Dogg alone. Warren G spends most of his time rapping about how pathetic his situation is and how quickly everything devolves. Furthermore even after the fact, he continues to dwell on it, bringing it up later in the song ("Before I got jacked I was on the same track"). He doesn't know when to leave well enough alone.

The second act so to speak sees Warren G and Nate Dogg turning there attentions back towards the honeys. From this point on, the song really has nothing to do about regulating. And if you pay close attention, it's really Nate Dogg who picks up the chicks and not Warren G. Warren G acknowledges that "Nate got the freaks," and it's Nate Dogg who says "I got a car full of girls and it's going real swell," not "we got a car." It sounds like Warren G is just along for the ride at this point.

The third and final act of the song has Warren G and Nate Dogg waxing philosophical. Warren G breaks down the meaning of G Funk and from whence it derives. The "rhythm is the base and the base is the treble" is some deep, impenetrable stuff. Not to be outdone, Nate Dogg starts going off on some esoteric shit about G Funk (If you know like I know/You don't want to step to this/It's the G Funk era/Funked out with a gangsta twist"), then quickly shifts back towards reality ("If you smoke like I smoke/Then you high like everyday"). The song concludes that "if your ass is a buster/213 will regulate." However if this song is any indication, only one of two people will regulate a buster, and sadly that man has departed. Rest in peace, Nate Dogg, it seems the streets of the LBC will be a little more crowded with busters from now on.

And so I ask why, Regulate? Whhhy!

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