In the Mid-Nite Hour is Warren G's first foray into the land of independent releases and, consequently, marks a huge shift in approach from the too-many-cooks-in-the-kitchen approach that had sunk his final album for Universal, The Return of the Regulator. This album is 100 percent Warren G, make no mistake, and its D.I.Y. feel seems fitting for the sort of guy who produces his own beats as well as raps his own songs. Granted, In the Mid-Nite Hour isn't going to re-establish Warren as the hitmaker that he was for a quick second back in the G-funk era when "Regulate" was the jam. It's simply too real to get picked up by urban radio or music television -- that is, real like that beat-head dude living down your street who makes mixtapes in his bedroom and hands CD-Rs of them out to friends as well as complete strangers. For that reason, In the Mid-Nite Hour isn't going to interest the majority of rap listeners. Sadly, Warren lost his coolness a long time ago. But for older, more grown-up rap listeners who fondly remember when "Regulate" was the jam (and how about "Hey DJ"?), In the Mid-Nite Hour no doubt will be a curious listen. From the bedroom beat-making and Everyman rapping, to the home-PC graphic design and semi-professional photo shoots gracing the inner booklet, this album is street, so to speak, and that makes it very easy for most folks to empathize with Warren. He's no bling-blinger anymore -- he's just another dude at this point, albeit one with tight friends like Snoop Dogg and Nate Dogg, who both contribute heavily and bring some major-league charisma to this minor-league charmer. Perhaps Warren should have went indie long ago. The pay probably isn't as nice, but he and his music seem better for it.
AllMusic Review by Jason Birchmeier
feat: Bishop Lamont
feat: Chevy Jones