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The Oral History of Warren G and Nate Dogg's 'Regulate'

Stashed in: Hip Hop, Awesome, Music Videos!, Rolling Stone!, @snoopdogg, 1990s, @drdre

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The loco backstory behind an all-time great song!

I had no idea Snoop Dogg was involved!

I had no idea the sample was from Young Guns!

For "Regulate," I was at home, and I came up with it. I was listening to Michael McDonald's "I Keep Forgettin'." It was a record that I always loved, from being a kid and my parents playing it when they had their company of friends over. It was a record that just stuck in my head, and it just felt good. I had the sample and was, like, "It would be so different to do a hip-hop song over this."

Then I had to sit on it a couple of days just to see what else I needed to add to it. That's when all the other parts came, as far as looking at the movie Young Guns and sampling that part. I was looking at the movie one day and I heard the part where [Casey Siemaszko, the actor who played historical outlaw Charley Bowdre] says, "We work in this town as regulators. We regulate any stealing of this property. But you can't be any geek off the street. You gotta handle the steel, you know what I mean, earn your keep." I heard that shit, and I lost it! I said, "Oh my god! I have got to put this shit on this song! I don't care if they don't let me use it. I'm a put it on anyway."


Then there's this little organ lick that happens at the end of every fourth bar; it only happens twice in every chorus. It's just a little Hammond organ-type lick. If you listen to the song, once you get to the first chorus, at the very end of the chorus, right before the next verse starts, you hear this little lick. It goes d-d-d-da-da. It was a stock sound from a synthesizer – a Yamaha SY77 or something like that. The string part came from that keyboard, too.

Then this sort of Minimoog sound during the Young Guns sample, just this sort of classic Minimoog sweep keyboard sound. We came up with that a little bit later. That was maybe one of the last things that was added.


"Can we come up with something that's less explicit? As explicit as it is, we can't get any airplay for this. We'll just have to be bleeping out so much of it." So I think at one point, once we were set up at the commercial studio, they recorded what they thought would be a clean version. That was the one that ultimately went on the album.


When they told me that Michael McDonald liked it, that really sparked me. I was like, "Wow." For such a great artist like him, and to have been in the music business way before me, just to hear him say that he loved the record and cleared [the sample]... it was a good thing, man.

They still get a check from that. I made the record – I'm not trying to saying I'm better than them, but I made the record bigger than what they did. I did that out of the love for them as an artist. The feeling that they put into the music – they're a part of this, too, because they inspired me.

Rhythm is life. And life is rhythm. 

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