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The Independent Culture
Yo, yo yo... yawn. The chest-beating clichs of "gansta rap" await ready gobbling by all who sample Warren G's album Regulate...The G Funk Era (Island). Bitches an' niggas runnin' wild in tha' hood... roll up, get your stereotypes here, a bargain at £12.99 a compact disc. Three million buyers can't be wrong. Or maybe, people are shelling out because the thrill of G-funk lies beyond cartoon images. No scrap that, there's no maybe about it. Warren G (right), a 24-year-old West Coast Los Angeles G-funk supremo, younger brother to NWA's Dr Dre and close pal of Snoop Doggy Dogg is a good bloke, an erstwhile bad cookie, a complicated character. Slouchy 1970s funk guitar and golden soul grooves are his seductive soundtrack, but his deft lyricism articulates the worst of 1990s LA times. "They took my rings, they took my Rolex, I looked out the window and said damn what's next?" he tells us on the car jack scenario "Regulate". Warren Griffin III may have tasted prison food a couple of times, but the soft spoken chap ain't no cheap stereotype. His rhymes are youthful, sophisticated, contradictory and confused, and a strong argument for rappers like himself being added to the literature curriculum of American schools. Warren G and the gansta rap constabulary are a vulgar corruption of ideals in some eyes. Surely, however, the problem's more that we've survived on simplistic portrayals of the black experience for so long, the myriad positive and negative images being flung our way now prove too perplexing to handle?

Warren G, tonight, Appollo, Hammersmith, W6 (0171-416 6080)