This week, we’re honoring Nate Dogg, Hip Hop’s hook man, who in his life (cut short by unfortunate complications from a stroke in 2011) helped define the G-funk sound of 1990s rap. With his smooth vocals on tracks of some of the genre’s most prolific cuts he garnered four Grammy nominations.
Nate Dogg was born in Clarksdale, Mississippi in 1969 and moved to Long Beach, California as an early teen. There, he met and befriended rappers Warren G, Snoop Dogg, and Daz Dillinger, the first two with whom he formed the rap group 213 (named after LA’s area code) following a brief stint in the U.S. Marines. Shortly after the group’s formation, their demo was heard by Dr. Dre, who became hooked on Nate Dogg’s soulful, rich baritone voice and tapped him to sing on his prolific album, “The Chronic,” in 1992. After being signed to Death Row records in 1993, he appeared on what may be his most infamous track, Warren G’s “Regulate”.
The majority of Nate Dogg’s success came from singing hooks and bridges on songs such as Dr. Dre’s “The Next Episode,” Fabolous’ “Can’t Deny It,” and 50 Cent’s “21 Questions”. Ice Cube put it best when he rapped “It must be a single when Nate Dogg singin’ on it” on his track, “Gangsta Nation.” Nate Dogg did enjoy some solo success, perhaps his most definitive solo track being this week’s throwback, “Never Leave Me Alone.”