As anyone with functioning ears will tell you, there's never a bad time to hear Warren G and Nate Dogg's "Regulate." Whether you spend your days hitting the east side of the LBC or just watching your Above the Rim VHS, the classic song's always been a welcome presence. South Dakota rapper and Soulcrate Music member Wes Eisenhauer is further spreading the good word of "Regulate" by introducing it into the medium of a children's book.
Debuting on tumblr, word of Regulate: The Children's Book is spreading and we spoke to Eisenhauer to hear how it came to be.
Do you recall your first time ever hearing "Regulate?"
I think so, man. "Regulate" came out in '94 and I had just moved to South Dakota from the Boston area. That's sort of why it's such an important song to me, I guess. I was at a neighbor's house, this girl I don't remember who it was, and I remember the "Regulate" video being on TV constantly that whole summer. That's how the whole thing came about, I was thinking of stories from my childhood that resonated with me and I can recite "Regulate" from front to back. I thought trying to present it in that form would be funny, it's presented very storybook-y and trades off 4/4s.
I think everyone has some special memory tied to "Regulate."
I guess, for me, the idea kind of started when I had a kid. I got this book from three different people called Go the Fuck to Sleep. It kind of spawned out of that, [it] was funny as hell and got me thinking of wanting to do something similar, tongue-in-cheek with rap songs. Like turning Nate Dogg into a dog just for a sake of it. What books meant a lot to you as a kid?
It's funny, now I read the same ones to my daughter. We'll go to the store and I'll see one and have to get it because I read it when I was little. Dr. Seuss, The Lorax, you know. There's one I read to my daughter that my mother read to me called If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. There's a million of them.
Before this, did you ever have aspirations to make a children's book?
Not really. The problem always was I don't draw and I can't draw. I have no skills on that side of the art world. I never thought of writing a children's book, the idea came to me and I thought it'd be funny. Was "Regulate" always the first one you had in mind?
Yeah, that one. I don't know why, I was sitting with somebody and talking about stories from our childhood. We grew up on rap music and with that being such a vivid story, that's kind of where it came from.
Did you have a part of the song you were most looking forward to seeing drawn?
The opening part of them on the stoop. I approached a few other artist friends of mine, one who I work with often and he didn't know the song, and that wasn't gonna work. You have to know the song inside and out. It took me a while to find somebody [Mark Wagner] who the song resonated with in the same way who has the drawing ability. It's just my idea and I mapped it out. I storyboarded the whole thing and told him what to draw, and he drew it for me. The opening scene of them on the stoop was the first thing he drew. Right when he sent it to me, I thought "this is exactly what I imagined."
You've mentioned in other interviews that calling it a "children's book" might be a little misleading because of the themes explored as you aren't changing the lyrics, but compared to a lot of Grimm Fairy Tales, it doesn't seem that out of place.
Right, I agree. It reads like a children's book to me. That's how we decided to spin it.
What made you decide to release it as a Tumblr?
I battled for a long time about how we wanted it. My original idea was to press a book, but after the advice of a few lawyer friends of mine, they said I can't do that. I felt tumblr was a good medium for it, an easy simple website. We thought we'd release it for free online and see if it has any legs. In the words of Warren G, what's "n-x-e-t" for the project?
Best case scenario, someone who has the ability to publish it as a book sees it's getting some attention and it's well done, so let's do it. It's being animated currently, so this is just the very preliminary stages of it. I've gotten a few clips of it back, and we're looking to release it late-July early-August. Once that comes out, I'm going to really give it a push. It's 2014, there's no doubt to me that Warren G will see this. I don't doubt that whoever owns "Regulate" will at lease hear about this. That's the market I see it. Worst case scenario, we just did it because it's funny.
GIMME NOISE'S GREATEST HITS
53 things you might not know about Prince
73 things you might not know about Bob Dylan
Brother Ali: My fans are kicking the sh*t out of me over Trayvon Martin
Here's why we didn't sign the Foo Fighters photo waiver
Top 20 best Minnesota musicians: The complete list