G-Funk is the untold story of three childhood friends from East Long Beach who helped commercialize hip hop by developing a sophisticated and melodic new approach – merging Gangsta Rap with elements of Motown, Funk, and R&B.
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★★★½ review by Kevin Tudor on Letterboxd
“G-Funk” follows the creation of the hip-hop subgenre that dominated the West Coast from the late 80s to the early 90s. Instead of discussing the albums that dropped and the impact they had, the crew of interviewees explore how G-Funk was created and what were its influences.
Warren G produced the documentary which has its share of bias (not as bad as this year’s “Bad Boy” documentary). It’s a tradeoff between an outside source creating a documentary that’s inauthentic or having someone deliver something that was a part of the movement — yet uneven in its presentation.
The boom-bap sound that took over New York during the same time was formulated to have a certain type of feel and sound that would replicate the feeling of the state. Popularized by Texas native producer DJ Premier, it was a gritty sound that brought to life how New York society was before Mayor Giuliani cleaned everything up.
The West Coast had a different story to tell. What put the West on the map was the popularization and controversy stemming from the hip-hop group NWA. Once NWA ran it’s course, lead producer Dr. Dre went solo and released “The Chronic,” which was the blueprint for all G-funk releases to follow.
What followed were Snoop Dogg’s first album and Warren G’s first album and hit single “Regulate.” G-funk had a style all its own at the time. Taking largely from bass lines and funky melodies of George Clinton’s Parliament-Funkadelic style, producers Dr. Dre and Daz Dillinger crafted cruising and party music with thick grooves. West Coast living was vastly different from the struggles of East Coast and the music reflected that.
It was music made for summer cookouts, big stereos and relaxing moments. Almost thirty years after the initial G-Funk boom, it’s still viewed as a classic period of hip-hop that got cut short from the East vs West coast beef that took the lives of both champions: Tupac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G.
“G-Funk” is a documentary that tries to replicate the feeling when you first heard the bass kick in from Snoop’s “Tha Shiznit” or the whistling underneath Dre’s “Let Me Ride.” Sunshine embraces every shot while hip-hop legends from The D.O.C. to Ice-T discuss why g-funk mattered and how it’s impact is still being felt today.
★★★½ review by Daniel Melvill Jones on Letterboxd
Saw this, for the second time, with a packed audience and with a friend who grew up with these artists. There were plenty of insights for the second round, including
- the way these older artists cultivated and trained the new talent, turning good into great
- wondering how much of Warren's humble personality came about because of his exclusion from Death Row
-frustration over the tonal shift between the mistakes of the East/ West war and the celebration of the closing scenes.
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