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WARREN G (Buy CDs by this artist)
Regulate ... G Funk Era (Violator/RAL) 1994
Take a Look Over Your Shoulder (Reality) (Def Jam) 1997
I Want It All (Restless) 1999
Return of the Regulator (Universal) 2001

Smooth, sexy gangsta rap provides a feast for the ears on the first album from Dr. Dre's step-brother, Warren Griffin. Much like comrade-in-arms Snoop Doggy Dogg, the Long Beach, California, MC/producer favors an appealingly lazy, conversational delivery; his wistful tone adds a seductive element of vulnerability to the groovin' hits "This D.J." and "Regulate." Typical of Warren's easy soul styling, "Regulate" — a duet with Nate Dogg originally recorded for the soundtrack of Above the Rim — was built on a sample of Michael McDonald's 1982 Top 5 single, "I Keep Forgettin'." (The song's non-LP "Jamming Mix" actually preserves the song's original vocal refrain, making for an intriguing blend of old and new, pop and rap.) But once his sound is set in gear, Warren doesn't let the content on Regulate... G Funk Era deviate much from formula, as tracks like "'94 Ho Draft" and "This Is the Shack" demonstrate. Still, the cushiony beats and the tasty synth riffs are hard to resist.

[Jon Young/Ira Robbins]