Four years ago today, Nathaniel “Nate Dogg” Hale died, tragically, after complications from a stroke. Since his earliest days, alongside Snoop Dogg and Warren G, Nate Dogg was a rarity on his own. With such a unpredictable passing, he left behind a huge body of work that included some of the biggest rap hooks that will ever be seen. You might know him from the G-funk classic “Regulate” or from his smoove verses on “Lay Low”. Or maybe from his lustful chorus on 50 Cent’s “21 Questions” or maybe the infamous “heyayayay, smoke weed every day” on Dr. Dre’s Chronic 2001. Whether you heard those or many more, Nate Dogg helped to make them and more, the most popular hits of their time.
Throughout his career, Nate greatly assisted his peers—from Dr. Dre, to 2Pac, to 50 Cent, to Fabolous, to Shade Shiest, to Eminem, to Ludacris, to Mos Def, to Mobb Deep. While 213’s album, 2004’s The Hard Way, scored a Top 5 debut, only one of Nate’s solo works, 2001’s Music & Me, cracked the Top 40.
With years spent patiently waiting on Death Row Records, later making the decision to creatively separate from the artists he had formed such strong chemistry with in the past, Nate’s career alone is complicated. But never let that speak more than the work he has done. In almost any situation, who we call the “the Ghetto Preacher” could spin out a hit, regardless of it contributing to other’s or himself.
In 2015, the hooks are still poppin’, but there hasn’t been anyone who does it quite like Nate Dogg. In some cases, many believe there will never be another to do it like him again. I grew up living in a household that taught what hip hop truly was and sneaking into my dad’s vinyl collection and pulling out Nate Dogg just to hear those astonishing vocals. This is how I learned and will always know the greatest time in hip hop. Today, on the four year anniversary of his passing, it is with a heavy heart and a grateful soul that we pay homage to the king. Thank you Nate Dogg.
-Bri Christian (@brirezy)