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Take a Look Over Your Shoulder Import, Enhanced, Explicit Lyrics
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|6. Ricky And G-Child|
|7. Young Fun|
|8. What We Go Through|
|9. We Brings Heat|
|11. Reel Tight Intro|
|12. Relax Ya Mind|
|13. To All D.J.'s|
|14. Back Up|
|15. Can You Feel It|
|16. I Shot The Sheriff|
|17. I Shot The Sheriff (EPMD Remix)|
Warren G ~ Take A Look Over Your Shoulder
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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Like most of Warren's albums, what stands out to me is the production. It's the type of west coast production that anyone can vibe to. "We Brings Heat" is the type of west coast production that I love so much. "Transformers" carries another dope beat. A personal favorite of mine is the song "Relax Your Mind" featuring Real Tight, more of that laid back feel here.
Lyrically, Warren is still good. "Reality" and "Can You Feel It" show off his lyrical skills. The EPMD remix of "I Shot The Sheriff" is dope lyrically and production wise.
What weighs this album down for me is first the skippable tracks. I wasn't feeling the origonal version of "I Shot The Sheriff". It's not a bad job, but really don't think Warren is good at producing reggae sounding tracks, as you can see Erick Sermon did a better job remixing it, and the two tracks are side by side in comparison. Also some of the guest appearances aren't all that good as well, although others were nice.
But overall, I find "Take A Look Over Your Shoulder" to be a highly underrated LP for 1997. It sucks that Def Jam didn't push their west coast artists, and the fact that this is out of print shows how much they care about this LP. If you're a fan of west coast rap music, I recommend that you check this out. Peace.
Guest Appearances: B-
Musical Vibes: A+
Top 5 Favorite Tracks
1. Relax Your Mind (featuring Reel Tight) [personal favorite]
4. We Brings Heat (featuring Da Five Footaz, The Twinz, Knee-Hi, and Ricky Harris)
5. I Shot The Sheriff (EPMD Remix)
Honorable Mention Tracks
1. Annie Mae (featuring Nate Dogg)
2. Young Fun (featuring Knee-Hi and Jayo Felony)
3. Smokin' Me Out (featuring Ronald Isley)
Highlights on this album include "Annie Mae", a great duet with Nate Dogg, which will remind many of Warren's hit "Regulate", because it once again has Warren and Nate trading lines. This time though, it's about a girl named Annie Mae, and Warren and Nate compliment each other well here. The second single "Smoking Me Out", features Ron Isley singing the hook for a bouncy party track. Warren puts in a very nice rap, as well as on the excellent "Reality", a laid-back track celebrating a sunset gangsta scene. On "Young Fun", Jayo Felony and Knee-Hi join Warren for a funky gangsta track about life as a kid. Even though the promotional version of "What We Go Through" features Kurupt and Daz Dillinger and was taken off of the album, the new one is an excellent track, featuring Bad A$$, Mr. Malik and Technique (who is listed on the album as Perfect) for a pretty piano-laced track. On this song, Warren disses LL Cool J, really tearing him up. Many have wondered why Warren did diss LL, and it was because LL dissed Warren on his 1995 Mr. Smith LP. "We Brings Heat" is a nice track that features The Five Footaz and The Twinz, and is very good though Warren's beat sounds kind of like West Coast Mobb Deep (if one can picture that), it's still a great beat. "Transformers" is another nice keyboard-laced track, extremely nice laid-back track with a vocoder chorus. My favorite is "Relax Your Mind", which features Reel Tight singing the chorus, and a relaxing beat that really does clear your thoughts. "To All DJ's" is sure to get the party up, an extremely funky track with Mr. Malik. The first single "I Shot The Sheriff", is another one of the album's best, while the remix is included and done by Erick Sermon of EPMD, and the beat is a sample of "Strictly Business", performed by EPMD. On the European version, there is the bonus "What's Love Got To Do With It", and the song's remix. I have heard it and it's a great song, with cool guitars and lyrics. All of the tracks are good, "Back Up" is probably the album's worst, but it still is excellent.
To conclude my review, I would recommend this if you like G-Funk. If you do, it's a must.
The one big similarity between this and his debut is the result of the production. These beats are literally the smoothest around. I don't know how he does it, but every gorgeous beat on "Take a Look" is so chilled out and relaxing that it makes for the ultimate summertime or late-night listening. The pure funk and smooth instrumentals just make you feel good. In that way, it is a lot like Regulate...G Funk Era. Lyrically, Warren is on a different page. Mostly, he just lets the beats do the talking, and much of the actual rapping is handled by his large list of guest rappers. There's a much higher-profile feeling to this project, and this is reflected in the lyrics and guests. Whereas his first album featured a small crew of underground Long Beach artists, "Take a Look" has a few more A-list MCs. Unfortunately, Warren would learn the hard way just like his labelmates Jayo Felony, the Dove Shack, Twinz, South Central Cartel, and WC that Def Jam was completely incapable or unwilling to promote its West Coast artists, and the lack of publicity led to disappointing sales for "Take a Look."
After the intro, the album begins with a Nate Dogg collabo called "Annie Mae." Over a quirky and bluesy beat, the duo speak of a woman they both knew, and this song is all-around great. "Smokin' Me Out" features a particularly soulful Ronald Isley, providing an awesome appearance to a beautiful production, the hook is awesome. He kicks some nice lyrics on the cool "Reality," and Jayo Felony and Knee-Hi guest on the discretionary "Young Fun." A matured Mr. Malik, Bad Azz, and Perfec show up to collaborate on the memorable "What We Go Through." "We Brings Heat" has an awesome vibe and features Jah-Skilz and Twinz, Warren's proteges. "Transformers" is gorgeously relaxing, with a space-age hook, and the classic "Relax Ya Mind" follows in a similar fashion. "To All D.J.'s" is the weakest song on the album, the beat's a little too sparse and subject matter a bit uninspired. K9 and PC assume the rapping duties on the funky "Back Up," which is followed by another West Coast classic in "Can You Feel It." His cover of "I Shot the Sheriff" is ingenious, adding a g-funk twist to a classic standard, and Erick Sermon's EPMD remix is also great.
"Take a Look" is musically genius and very experimental and is really a joy to listen to for its phenomenal production. Warren G steps outside the g-funk box to help push his genre even further than it had been pushed before, extending into R&B and pop music for this album. Even ten years after its release, I find this album perfect to pop into the player just to chill and relax, especially in the summer. It's sad that it's out of print now, but as it's still widely available, I highly recommend it. Warren G is a musical genius, and I really can't get enough of his production, and if not for the sheer brilliance of his debut, I believe this would have been hailed as the quality music it is. No, it's not Regulate...G Funk Era, but nothing really is, and "Take a Look" is an underappreciated gem of hip hop.
The album starts off with "Annie Mae" featuring Nate Dogg. This is a great song as Nate and Warren go back and forth over a great G-Funk beat. Of course it isn't as good as their first combo "Regulate", but what could ever be. "Smokin' Me Out" is the sleeper and surprise of the album. It sees Ronald Isley on the hook and is one of Warren's best songs. "Reality" has a real smooth beat with a nice rhythmic bass guitar in the background. In this song Warren patrols Long Beach for all the haters that have been giving him heat lately. This song will definitely grow on you. "Young Fun" is a nice bouncy song, with great appearances featuring Knee-Hi and Jayo Felony. "What We Go Through" is a real funky beat, with a nice piano that comes in and out of the background. More great guest appearances. This time coming from Malik and Perfec. "We Brings Heat" is probably the weakest song on the album. The beat's real nice, but the guest appearances take awhile to get into. Most will probably either love it or hate it. "Transformers" is classic G-Funk with a boomin' beat and synths moving in and out of the song. "Relax Ya Mind" is a one of the albums best as Warren's R&B group, Reel Tight, is featured on the song and they make a solid contribution. "To All D.J.'s" was a song I wasn't feeling at first, but I really like it now. Great funky song with a good appearance by Malik, who I really like. "Can You Feel It" will have you saying just that. The bass on this song is continuous throughout the whole song. "I Shot The Sheriff" and the EPMD remix are highlights of this album. This was a really nice concept that Warren G did. The first is produced by Warren G and has a real relaxing G-Funk beat. The remix is produced by Erick Sermon and has a bouncier P-Funk beat. Great contrasting styles between the two songs as you really see how G-Funk and P-Funk are able to take the same beat but make them individually their own style.
This album is traditional Warren G as lyrically he won't blow you away, but he does more than hold his own on this album. The production is great and as everyone knows nothing sounds better in your stereo than Warren's beats. "Relax Ya Mind" and "Can You Feel It" bump like nobody's business. If you're looking for an intellectual album with mind-blowing lyrics, this probably isn't the album for you. But if you want smooth, quality production with Warren's fluid voice than pick this one up.
There are a few tracks on the album that should've been left off the album. "Annie Mae" suffers from lazy production and the original version of "I Shot The Sheriff" is skip material in my book. As a matter of fact, a lot of the production is so laid back that I'd have to say that it's almost too smooth. Don't get me wrong though, the beats are still top notch. Some will tell you that Warren's rhymes aren't up to par, but the editorial review summed it up best when it said: "...like his brother, Dr. Dre, Warren is a rapper only by circumstance and a producer by passion..." With that being said, I don't really expect much from him on the lyrical tip (nor does he -- hence the abundance of guest rappers).
Take A Look Over Your Shoulder (Reality) is easily Warren G's second best album. The production is on point and the guests all do a great job of sharing the load. Warren G is a capable rapper, but the focus for me was on the beats. I recommend adding this one to the collection. Amazon is selling this for less than a buck. If that ain't a steal, I don't know what is.
Standout Tracks: Back Up Feat. K-9 & P-C, Relax Ya Mind Feat. Reel Tight, What We Go Through Feat. Mr. Malik, Perfec & Bada**, Reality, To All D.J.'s Feat. Mr. Malik, We Brings Heat Feat. The Twinz & Da Five Footaz (My Favorite), Smokin' Me Out Feat. Ron Isley, Transformers, and Young Fun Feat. Knee-Hi & Jayo Felony