EWA100 - #74. Dr. Dre - Nuthin' But A "G" Thang

74. Dr. Dre (feat. Snoop Doggy Dogg) - Nuthin' But A "G" Thang (Death Row/Interscope. 1992. From the LP The Chronic)

Mike Dikk: The fact that this track didn’t even make it into the top 50 is a glaring oversight on our part. I know when you make these “all time” lists, even one like ours where the official criteria gets kind of foggy, there’s some stuff that gets neglected. Maybe it was because we didn’t have anyone from the west coast on our EWA staff, or maybe we just kept missing it on the list since this was all done over a message board, so I doubt a lot of real deep concentration went into some of it.
This is a very, very important song especially to any Expert Whiteboy out there. Sit down for a minute because I have a story to tell…
This single came out right before I moved out of the bonafide ‘hood to a nicer, mixed-class town. It was the very end of '91. The term “wigger” wasn’t widely used at the time. I didn’t consider myself a wigger, but I pretty much was one. It wasn’t intentional. I was from an environment where everyone was into rap music. I never experienced real suburban life before. There was a short time when I was in 4th grade I lived in another white trash town, but I was too young at the time to really know the differences between race and class.
When I transferred to the new, more racially balanced high school, I was kind of unique. There weren’t many other “wiggers” in school, if any. It was the dying days of seeing actual living young Hessians attending school, and most of the white kids were fine with their Guido/Preppie hybrid look. That’s still a popular look to this day, but that’s not the point.
Most white kids in school weren’t into rap yet. Some dabbled a little, but I don’t think very many considered rap music as their first choice genre. I remember this one kid in science class that was into rap, but it was more of on the DL. We’d have a grand old time chatting it up about whoever was popular at the moment, but outside of him, there weren’t really any other Expert Whiteboys in my school I could turn to for good conversation.
One day I was in drafting class, and I think I had the case to the “G Thang” single on my desk or something, and a group of white guido/preppies came up to me and asked me where I got it from. Keep in mind, this was before the full LP came out, and the song was just gaining steam. I told them I got it from the record store. I mean, that’s where I got it from. It never dawned on me that some people might not even know where to buy non-Will Smith rap music from. Their interest in Dr. Dre should have clued me in right then and there that there was going to be a drastic change in popular music tastes real soon, but I didn’t have the Expert Whiteboy foresight I now possess today.
Sometime after, the LP came out, and I don’t know how many copies it actually sold, but if I were to guess by how many cars, houses, boomboxes, walkmen and radio stations were playing “G Thang” by then, I’d say it sold around 10 billion copies. I was still splitting time between my new town and the ‘hood, and it was EVERYWHERE. It was a big deal back then to be a west coast rapper that broke on the east coast as well. The song not only accomplished that, but it did it to every other part of the country too, and then trumped anything else to date by converting non-rap kids as well. This is the first song to unify the suburbs and the ghetto. Some could cite N.W.A as doing the same thing, but that was more of a novelty because they said "fuck" a lot. Then there’s Public Enemy, but like we already stated, most non-whites stopped liking PE once white people made it public knowledge that they were trying to Fight The Power.
There’s no doubt in my mind that “G Thang” was the real catalyst behind everyone on earth liking rap music. Obviously, it helped that there was a lot of quality shit released soon after, specifically, the Wu Tang album, which basically solidified the white person’s interest in The Rap.
By sophomore year, I would change my “look” drastically. By that time, I realized not everyone wore two-tone denim jeans with matching jackets. Then of course, the same guido/preppies who made fun of me for being a wigger became the wiggers making fun of me for not being one.
“The Chronic” is an album that’s on a higher level than any other Gangsta Rap album ever made. The only things that come close to it are Ice Cube’s first two LP’s. Together, those three LP’s are proof that N.W.A’s post-N.W.A output is better than anything N.W.A. actually did.
You may not realize it dear reader, but you have “Nuthin But a G Thang” to thank for this entire list. Without it, there would be no internet rap geeks to clown on, and that’s science fact.

Raven Mack: I'd have to say Mike is right about this blowing up everywhere. I was buying singles every Tuesday when the new shit came out at Willie's in downtown Richmond, and me and my man Boogie Brown were usually the only two white dudes ever in there. I took a friend once and he got all white and tried to write a check for some reggae and they wouldn't take a check and he came out all shocked towards me, and I was like, "Dude, this is a ghetto ass record store; you can't write a check at places like this." I was in college at the time this came out, living in a shit-ass $200 a month apartment with a heroin junkie and unemployable indie rocker and some dude who never got out of bed till like four in the afternoon and that was only to go buy potato wedges at the ghetto gas station next door. And I had the single when it first came out, because I bought everything back then, and the sound was crazy, I was stoked for the whole album. I've still got that 12-inch single and probably play the instrumental or freestyle versions of "Nuthin' But A 'G' Thang" at least once every couple of weeks. I would buy singles because of all the extra shit, which nobody does anymore - no remixes or alternate versions, just explicit version/radio version and maybe an instrumental if the producer isn't too much of a self-important prick to think some nobody's gonna jack his beat for a shitty R&B song. But Dre's singles off The Chronic all had freestyle versions and bonus songs and shit. Sadly, the only one I have left is this one.
Anyways, like Mike said, it blew up everywhere. College kids started freestyling when like a year earlier I really could not find more than like two dudes - black or white - to freestyle with. And when I'd sit on my shitty porch at that $200 apartment, there was this ghetto celeb dude in Richmond (at least in Randolph) at the time who had a semi-pimped stationwagon with the back window rolled down and he had two big box speakers sort of pointed out to the world and he'd ride around bumping shit. Very often, I'd sit on my porch and you could hear The Chronic a few blocks away and then dude would drive by. It was everywhere, all over the TV all over the streets all over all things that I knew Dre would never have a chance to make anything nearly so great again, because you can't blow the fuck up that much and somehow piece your hunger back together. You end up doing shit like having string sections on songs with ballroom dancing scenes in your video.
And yeah, it's retarded that this song is so low. I think it's because we did this on the internet with dudes who use the internet a lot, because the one thing about the internet is it always feels like it's smarter than it really is in actuality - that whole information superhighway ego thing going on - and folks who feel like they're smart tend to not allow themselves very basic sensory stimulation, which is what gangsta-ized rapping is pretty much based on. A song about shooting motherfuckers or stabbing a big ass with your penis cannot be liked by smart folks unless it has some weird metaphor involved or a grand finale moral to the song that hopefully will make crazy ghetto negroes less likely to victimize smart folks. But really, as someone who has always enjoyed crazy lines by MCs, "gettin' funky on the mic like an old batch of collard greens" is probably in my personal all-time top five lines. But I guess smart folks probably don't hook up pots full of collard greens too much either and they don't even know about apple cider vinegar.
And Mike's right, this list and Expert Whiteboy Analysts probably indirectly came from this explosion around this song, and man, buying singles every Tuesday was great because that was, for me, the greatest period of hip hop where there were so many different styles of things that were so great at the time, and it's like that bright explosion and things are so hot for a while, and I always told myself it was cyclical and eventually something new would blow up and make things hot again but now we're fifteen years deep into the hip hop burning down dimmer and dimmer into fake chrome ashes and synthetic diamond dust, and I don't know if there's gonna be a hunger-based power force to rejuvenate the hip hop world anymore. It always ends up being some smarmy dork shit the internet jocks, but lacks that power punch musically or lyrically that you find on "G Thang". You don't have to be brilliant with your words or some sort of post-modern symphonic musical collage-master, because shit that slams just slams without explanation. Which is also why Expert Whiteboy Analysis is so fuckin' stupid, because it attempts to explain the unexplainable, using self-science.
Fuck it, I'm just gonna get high and ride around in my car listening to The Chronic all afternoon.

Download: Dr. Dre - Nuthin' But A "G" Thang

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