Warren G created the template of the rapper who phrases like a singer among singers who phrase like rappers, so laid-back that he's the last thing you remember about his biggest hit—though even there he was something new. The best you can say about the title single off 1994's Regulate... G Funk Era is it introduced Nate Dogg (a bridge to Montell Jordan and D'Angelo) while lending cool points to its sample source, Michael McDonald's "I Keep Forgettin' (Every Time You're Near)." Yet the chilling wonder of the album lays in its lesser or non-hits anyway: the vivid, stoned melancholy of "Do You See," "This Is the Shack," and the ostensibly upbeat "This D.J.," whose easy catchiness was a quieter variation on Snoop and Dre's blissed-out nihilism (to which G contributed as Long Beach friend and fam). Five solo albums later, G's latest, last year's The G Files, finds him indie (released on TTL) and as tuneful as ever on tracks such as "Masquerade" and "Hold On," where he sings as well as anyone on his deep guest list, which now includes both Doggs and Raekwon. With Heatbox, Toki Wright, and DJ ApplewJews. 18+.
Fri., July 30, 10 p.m., 2010