Fuck. Sometimes, time just catches up with you. Here on my desk sits a list of things to write after my current series’ end; 1. Listmania: Wu-Tang Clan 2. The Very Guest of…Pharrell 3. The Very Guest of…Nate Dogg.
I just didn’t have the chance to get to this but now I have to make it as time finally caught up with Nathaniel Dwayne Hale this morning when he passed away from congestive heart failure. At 41 he was only six years older than me. That’s some scary shit. Nate Dogg had suffered a stroke in 2007 and then another one in 2008 but supposedly he was on his way to recovery and a life of singing again. Damn.
The other muthafuckin’ D-O-Double-G, Nate Dogg should go down in history as one of, if not the best pure singing voice of the hip-hop generation. If you wanted a chorus that would drop panties, you turned to Nate Dogg. If you wanted someone to sing about smokin’ some weed, you called Nate Dogg. And when you needed the full white suit and someone to regulate shit, yeah — you hit him up for that too. His three solo records didn’t amount to much but he was the greatest wingman a rapper could want. The nice thing about his career is that it started off with “Regulate” which made him an instant household name. He didn’t show up as the dancer in 100 videos before making it big. His impact was immediate. He may only get :45 in an entire song but he turned otherwise crappy rappers into gold and helped good ones make millions over the course of more than 15 years of ballin’. He’ll forever be linked with the LBC, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Warren G and the crew that made the west coast rap scene so prominent in the late ’90s and 2000′s. That smooth as silk voice will surely be missed in the rap community.
R.I.P. Nate Dogg.
So, let’s do five tracks you might not know and five you should.
Artist: Mack 10 featuring Nate Dogg
Track: “Like This”
Album: Hustler’s Handbook, 2005
Mack 10 is part of the Westside Connection and has a very similar flow to his groupmate, Ice Cube. Mack 10 however never had Are We There Yet? Mack had a little taste of the fame before this and Cube name droppin’ him often didn’t hurt much either. But Nate Dogg took him to another level with the hook to this track, giving Mack 10 the best track of his career.
Artist: Houston featuring Chingy, Nate Dogg and I-20
Track: “I Like That”
Album: It’s Already Written, 2004
Houston Summers IV owes any amount of money he ever made to Nate Dogg performing on his only hit, which went to #11 on the Billboard chart. Houston had just one album on Columbia before taking PCP, trying to commit suicide by jumping out of a window and gouging his eye out with a fork when that failed. Not kidding.
Artist: Shade Sheist featuring Nate Dogg & Kurupt
Track: “Where I Wanna Be”
Album: Damizza Presents: Where I Wanna Be, 2000 and Informal Introduction, 2002
Shade Sheist was a 19-year-old west coast phenom back in 2002 when Nate Dogg jumped on this track and gave him a #1 rap single. The sound of “Where I Wanna Be” just makes you wonder where it all went wrong in the world of rap. This is the sound of the days where you could just hang out on your porch and smoke some weed.
Artist: Mark Ronson featuring Ghostface Killah, Nate Dogg, Trife Diesel and Saigon
Track: “Ooh Wee”
Album: Here Comes the Fuzz, 2003
Critics were harsh on white DJ Mark Ronson when he first started out. This track totally gave him some cred. Ringin’ the Bells with a funky disco beat and giving Nate a half verse right after Ghostface — one of the best storytellers in the game — was money. Even if Nate Dogg didn’t get rappin’ time, something as simple as “Oooohhh Weeeeee / La La La La La La La La La” can break a track if not done right. This is done right.
Artist: Hush featuring Nate Dogg
Track: “Hush Is Coming”
Album: Bulletproof, 2005
Honestly, I don’t know how Hush hasn’t made it. Recognize the flow at all? My lord does he sound like Eminem and it’s no coincidence since he was rapping with Em back in Detroit before he was making records. “Hush Is Coming” has 100% smash hit written all over it and yet shockingly it didn’t do anything. It’s here because it’s a great song, but okay so maybe Nate Dogg can’t elevate everyone to superstar status.
Artist: Snoop Dogg featuring Master P & Nate Dogg
Track: “Lay Low”
Album: The Last Meal, 2001
One of Snoop’s best tracks off his final album on Master P’s No Limit label, for me it’s all about the second line of the chorus that Nate Dogg sings. It’s right up front, so I’ll let you listen to this gem yourself.
Artist: Ludacris featuring Nate Dogg
Track: “Area Codes”
Album: Word of Mouf, 2001
The first single off Ludacris’ second album, there was no stopping him after this. How many months after this was released did you hear people saying they had “Hoes in different area codes.” Thank you for that one Nate.
Artist: 50 Cent featuring Nate Dogg
Track: “21 Questions”
Album: Get Rich or Die Tryin’, 2003
50 Cent sucks. Just my opinion. He got his name hanging on Eminem’s coattails and released the passable Get Rich or Die Tryin’ which is back when he was public that he would never sing on a rap album. So he got Nate Dogg to do it for him and landed a #1 track. Now of course 50 sings on pretty much every track and has pissed off so many rappers that his rep ain’t that solid anymore. That said, I do admit that “21 Questions” is easily the best track 50 has released.
Artist: Fabolous featuring Nate Dogg
Track: “Can’t Deny It”
Album: Ghetto Fabolous, 2001
Forever stunting homies’ attempts to advance in spelling bees, Fabolous actually really needed Nate Dogg. It’s been said that no one really believed in Fabolous back in the day and pretty much everyone passed on him out of the gate, but Nate Dogg recognized something in him that others didn’t, helped him get a deal and assisted him on this “fabulous” track.
Artist: Warren G featuring Nate Dogg
Album: Regulate…G Funk Era, 1994
If I need to say anything about this then I’m shocked you made it this far. This is the track that made Nate Dogg what he was and still is one of the best rap songs ever made.