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Take A Look Over Your Shoulder lyrics
Take A Look Over Your Shoulder (1997)

Of all the L.A. postgangstas, Warren G's probably the most pop-oriented and least hip-hop-committed. As with his sharp, multiplatinum debut Regulate...G Funk Era, his follow-up, Take a Look over Your Shoulder, is hardly concerned with rapping at all. It's such an afterthought, in fact, that he's happy doling out verses to unknown rhymers like K-9, Malik, and Knee-Hi--or better yet, to R&B crooners like Nanci Fletcher or Nate Dogg (the voice behind his huge hit "Regulate")--even if it means sublimating his own voice in the process.

But like his brother, Dr. Dre, Warren is a rapper only by circumstance and a producer by passion. His personality comes through in ultraslick funk-enhanced rewrites of familiar, road-tested tunes: The Isley Brothers' "Cooling Me Out" becomes Warren's "Smoking Me Out," and Marley-by-way-of-Clapton's "I Shot the Sheriff" becomes Take a Look's terrific first single. It might make Warren and crew the world's richest cover band if only he weren't so good at rethinking grooves and repackaging oldies as pop gems for the '90s. If the entire album were as tight and tuneful as the standouts (those mentioned, plus Nate's showcase "Annie Mae"), Take a Look would be a masterpiece. As it stands, Warren's still a great pop singles artist. And with his new record going light on the gangsta tales, that's apparently all he's aiming for. --Roni Sarig

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