After Nate Dogg had his second stroke in 2008, and news on his condition since then was scarce at best, I had a feeling that his health wasn’t on the up. Still, it was a shock to wake up at 2:30 this morning and see that he had passed last night.
As one of the original “Death Row Inmates”, Nate was the writer and performer of some of the catchiest and most familiar hooks in hip-hop. For years, he was a reliable guest star on tracks by everyone from Snoop and Dre to 50 Cent and Ludacris. I don’t even know what I can say about his influence and importance to the game that hasn’t been said today. But I’ll suffice it to say that he’s participated in a number of classics that may not have been as classic without him.
In paying tribute to Nate’s life, DanjLovesThe90s drops eight of my personal favorite guest appearances by him- here they go:
8- Shade Sheist “Where I Wanna Be” (2000): This coulda been anyone’s song, as I still don’t recall one line from Shade’s verse. Nate’s hook and verse, however? Very much the opposite.
7- Mista Grimm “Indo Smoke” (1993): From the Poetic Justice soundtrack, Warren G and Nate get their first single, featured on a single by Mista Grimm. Grimm didn’t go on to do much more, but Nate’s hook made it happen. ARE YOU HIGH YET?
6- 2Pac “All About U” (1996): As ‘Pac joined Death Row with All Eyez On Me, his album wouldn’t have been complete without a Nate hook. For “All About U”, Nate delivered another catchy one about their neverending adventures of seein’ the same hoes regardless of where they were.
5- Eminem “Til I Collapse” (2002): Besides being one of Em’s most spirited lyrical performances, and one of his better production works, Nate’s ambitious hook completed The Eminem Show‘s “Til I Collapse”.
4- Dr. Dre “Deeez Nuts” (1992): In his first appearance ever, Nate debuts with his comical “Dre-EEEEEEE, Day-EEEEEEE” high notes on one of the best album cuts from The Chronic. He can’t be faded.
3- Snoop Dogg “Ain’t No Fun” (1993): “When I met’cha last night, babaaaay…” The undeniable catchiness that was the Doggystyle album was highlighted by the appearance of Nate on “Ain’t No Fun”. His instantly classic verse even had girls singing “…and you even licked my balls”.
2- Dr. Dre “Tha Next Episode” (1999): Two words: HOLD UP.
1- Warren G & Nate Dogg “Regulate” (1994): Probably not a surprise at #1, but “Regulate” was always Nate’s greatest appearance. As Death Row’s unofficial hook-man by this point, he added a much-needed vocal assist for the track that made Warren a successful solo act in ’94. Who knows this song would have been without him.
There’s been many acts that were the hot choice of the moment to perform other artists’ hooks, and then they became played out by the end of those years. Nate was a consistent choice, whether in ’94 or 2004, whose appearance almost always guaranteed a hit. While his own solo projects didn’t have the same success, it was a given that his presence on a track would equal a success for whomever the main artist was. And that presence will be missed. R.I.P. Nate Dogg