G-Funk: An Essential Documentary of West Coast Hip Hop and California Culture

G-Funk had its L.A. Debut during the Los Angeles Film Festival on Friday at the Theatre at Ace Hotel. The film was directed by a then 22 year old Karam Gill and produced by West Coast royalty, Warren G. Yes, I said 22 year old, talent and passion have no age limit.

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Gill’s portfolio also includes producing music videos for A$AP Mob, Dillon Francis, Borgore and more. Gill did a phenomenal job of paralleling G-Funk with the flow of the documentary and won “Best Feature Documentary” at Calgary Underground Film Festival.

G-Funk stands for Gangster Funk.  The documentary provides an extensive and comprehensive history of how G-Funk emerged on the West Coast and has withstood the test of time. The film features exclusive interviews with Snoop Dogg, Russell Simmons, Ice Cube, Too $hort, and more.  All artists paid their respects and shout outs to the late Nate Dogg.

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Q&A panel, photo by Ham on Everything founder Adam Weiss.

“I wanted people to see what artists have to go through behind the scenes” -Warren G

The documentary starts with the birth of rap in the 80s and how it was an alternative form of musical expression that kids all over America could create without knowing how to play instruments, making it DIY AF.

G-Funk is the extension and evolution of P-Funk,  Psychedelic Funk, that most of the rappers grew up listening to. Too $hort said “West Coast Funkadelic was our religion growing up. We create music from our past influences from what we grew up with.”

The documentary highlights how essential Dr. Dre was to rap and changed the music industry at the time. I would even argue that this DIY genre, G-Funk, helped pave the way for our current DIY EDM landscape.

“The Chronic opened up peoples eyes and NWA opened up peoples ears.” – Snoop Dogg

G-Funk made gangster rap mainstream and was instantaneously accepted by all races. The Chronic showcases political, social, and emotional struggles, with a funky bass line and threatening vocal flow. The Chronic was a commentary of the times and is still relevant to today. The film also touches on the rivalry between West Coast and East Coast rappers, Tupac and Biggie. RIP.

G-Funk highlights Warren G as a symbol of resilience. After being rejected from Death Row Records,  Warren G was crushed but remained persistent, eventually finding his way into Def Jam Records, and saved the label from going under at the time. When Warren G performed ‘Regulate’ in the film, the audience cheered, knowing that Warren G was in the crowd with them. ADAM & I cried a lil.

‘Regulate’ was released in 1994 and uploaded to YouTube in 2009, reaching over 112 million views, deeming it one of the most successful songs in hip hop.

Gill said that the L.A. crowd was the most energetic and inspirational crowd they’ve encountered. This is most likely due to the fact that G-Funk legends are still being played on the radio, even in 2017, that’s California Culture for you right there and nothing can beat that.

G-Funk is an essential watch for anyone interested in hip hop, the music industry, and California culture.

Thank you L.A. Film Fest for organizing this.




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