For Warren G—the rapper and record producer who helped pioneer the laid-back, West Coast hip-hop style of the 1990s—stages of life are not only marked by the music he created, but also the food he was eating at the time. In the early days, while he, Snoop Dogg, and his brother, Dr. Dre, were recording The Chronic at Death Row Studios, it was Popeyes that fueled the tracks, with the trio sneaking off between sessions for fried chicken on Hollywood Boulevard. Today, as a family man, it's barbecue and tailgate parties, with Warren firing up the grill in high school parking lots before his son's football games.
But back before all that—before his single with Nate Dogg, "Regulators," would be nominated for a Grammy; before his former boss, Suge Knight, would ignite an East Coast-West Coast war at the 1995 Source Awards—Warren met Snoop at a corner store on 20th Street and Orange Avenue in Long Beach during elementary school. Growing up, the pair would get by on government-assisted lunch plans, traveling to Cal State to play in sports programs for underprivileged youth.
While much has changed for Warren over the years—jumping from Death Row to fatherhood, from rapping to cooking and back again—food and music have always been about family first and foremost. Long Beach, where ComplexCon will take place this year on November 5 and 6, has always been home.
“Understand this: we was all family,” Warren says, his voice still low and placid. “As far as Dre, I know people say ‘step brothers,’ but we're brothers. We've been together all our lives. We were raised together, we slept in the same room, slept in the same bed, so that's how that works.”
“I've been around him since I was a puppy, all my life, and I'm 45 now,” he adds. “I don't know what that is if it ain't brothers.”
Though Warren’s partying days are largely behind him, today the rapper hopes to open his own barbecue and soul food joint, Sniffin’ Griffin’s, in the area. The Wild West of the ‘90s has been forever immortalized in the music videos of Dre and Snoop, but today, Warren takes a look at the past, present, and future of nightlife in Long Beach. From Japanese cuisine and late-night fast-food, to house parties and strip clubs, here is Warren G’s after-hours guide to the LBC.