Warren G grew up on the east side of Long Beach, California, where gang violence was rampant and a default way of life. He and childhood friends Calvin (Cordozar) Broadus (aka Snoop Dogg) and Nathaniel Hale (Nate Dogg) also had positive influences such as church and Pop Warner football, but they all played a delicate and tense balancing act. The three shared a bond beyond these typical experiences, though, and that was music. With Warren as the DJ, Snoop rapping and Nate singing, they formed a group called Three The Hard Way, referencing the classic Blaxploitation film starring Fred Williamson. Eventually calling themselves 213 (after Long Beach's area code at the time), they finally caught the ear of Dr. Dre (by then a successful producer and former member of N.W.A). Warren G, Snoop Dogg and Nate Dogg were quickly on the road to becoming international hip--hop heroes. The three would go on to collaborate with Dre on his 1992 album The Chronic and Snoop's 1993 album Doggystyle, which are still official benchmarks in hip-hop history.