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Talking Style: G-Funk

G-Funk is a sub-genre of Hip-Hop that came out of 1990’s West Coast Gangsta Rap. Some characteristics of G-Funk are Parliament-Funkadelic-inspired, with mid-tempo grooves, melodic synths (high pitched “Gangsta Leads”), deep bass, and male or female vocals on the hooks.

G-funk often consists of fewer, unaltered samples per song as opposed to the altered samples that are more prominent in East Coast productions. Dr. Dre, probably the most influential producer of the G-Funk era, often mixed samples with live instrumentation or had the original songs replayed.

Dr. Dre’s The Chronic (1992) is one of those records that changed the face of rap music forever. Kanye West even called it “the hip-hop equivalent to Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life.”

In this episode I’m going to look at two seminal cuts from that record. We’ll look at the bass line on the record, the inspiration for the groove and how we can take those ingredients to create our own G-Funk bass grooves.

Be sure to check out “Let Me Ride” (download this transcription) – live bass with elements of “Mothership Connection” and “Kissing My Love” with bassist Colin Wolfe.

Another hip-hop bass player to check out is Jesus Coomes (Lettuce).

G-Funk Listening Resources:

  1. Dr. Dre: “The Chronic”
  2. Snoop Dogg: “Doggy Style”
  3. Warren G: “Regulate”
  4. Nate Dog: “Bag O’ Weed”
  5. Snoop Dog: “Lollipop”
  6. DJ Quik: “Safe & Sound”
  7. Ice Cube: “Lethal Injection”

If you want to know where a sample came from check out Who Sampled.