It’s a sad, sad day in Hip Hop community. Nate Dogg died yesterday at the age of 41. After multiple strokes over the past few years, his health had been failing. No official cause of death has been announced yet. I’m not gonna pretend to be a Hip Hop expert, I need my boys RyDogg and GQ to write a guest blog on the history of West Coast vs. East Coast Hip Hop/Rap. Here’s what I do know though…the world changed in 1990… that’s when Warren G, Nate Dogg, and Snoop Dogg formed 213. (Yes, I know he was Snoop Doggy Dogg at the time.) Here’s the Reader’s Digest version: All high school buddies, Warren G introduces the crew to Dr. Dre, his brother in law, and led Snoop and Nate Dogg to sign with Suge Knight and Death Row… Warren G went his own way and signed with Def Jam. In late 1992, Nate Dogg made his debut on Dre’s album, “The Chronic”. Soon after, in 1993, he appeared on Snoop’s “Doggystyle” album. All of 213 was still tight, and in 1994, my life changed… “Regulate” was released by Warren G. All three of these above albums were HUGE. Nate Dogg was larger than life.
Everybody’s list will be different, unique to them as individuals. For me, there are three songs in particular that will put a smile on my face until the day that I die… bringing back memories of high school, college, and simpler times. I truly believe that most great memories that I have with my boys from my teens through my early twenties, somehow revolve around a soundtrack that was littered with Nate Dogg tracks. When I got my first truck in 1995, there was not a single day that went by between then and 2001 that I did not have the below album in CD player… I know it’s Warren G’s album, but it was Nate Dogg that made it go platinum. He had the coolest voice I’d ever heard. If he never released another jam, I’d have been fine with that… but collaboration after collaboration, Nate Dogg just kept producing.
1) Warren G Feat Nate Dogg – Regulate (1994)
“All you skirts know what’s up with 2-1-3” I remember referring to a group of girls as “skirts” when I was in high school. I thought I was the coolest. “Sixteen in the clip and one in the hole…Nate Dogg is about to make some bodies turn cold” I had no clue what a clip was when I heard this… but it was instantly my favorite line of the song, nonetheless. I really believe this was the best song I’d ever heard when it came out… sorry Blackbird.
2) Snoop Dogg Feat Nate Dogg, Warren G & Kurupt – Ain’t No Fun (If The Homies Can’t Have None) (1993)
First CD my mother ever made me throw out. Well, so she thought. “Leave your number on the cabinnnnet, and I promise baby, I’ll give you a call.” Haha. Sure you will, Nate. Pretty much the only lyric from that song that won’t get this site blocked at work. This song is still trips me out. To date, it had the most vulgar and offensive lyrics I’d ever heard about women… and yet, girls LOVED this song. How is that? This is what made guys like me idolize these dudes, we’d never dare say or do the things they were talking about… but we’d memorize the lyrics and try to dance to them and think we were pimps too. Makes me laugh to this day. Cracka ass, crackas.
3) Ludacris Feat Nate Dogg – Area Codes (2001)
It had been years since Nate Dogg really floored me with a jam, and then BAM, area codes. How genius of Luda to bring in Nate Dogg for this jam. Dude invented representing the area code with 213. I feel like I just need to throw in his entire middle section of this song, it’s so awesome. Nate Dogg… just trying to figure why chicks love him so much. “Is it cuz they like my gangsta walk? Is it cuz they like my gangsta talk? Is it cuz they like my handsome face? Is it cuz they like my gangsta ways? Whatever it IS…they love it, and they just won’t let me be. I handle my BIZ, don’t rush me, just relax and let me be free. Whenever I CALL, come runnin’… 2-1-2 or 2-1-3, you know that i BALL…stop frontin’, ‘fore I call my substitute freak.”
Take a look at these names he teamed up with over the years. Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Warren G, 2Pac, 50 Cent, Jay-Z, Ludacris, Capone, Red Man, Chingy, Shaq (yes, that Shaq) DMX, DJ Quik, Eminem, Eve, Jermaine Dupri, Kurupt, Xzibit, Lil Jon, Ja Rule, Mos Def, Nas, Obie Trice, Missy Elliot, Ice Cube, Master P, Tha Dogg Pound, Mista Grimm, and Westside Connection. Guess what, I left a ton of names off that list. It’s like I just fired off a “Who’s Who in Hip Hop” list. I went to see Snoop Dogg and Ice Cube in concert about 8 months ago. Amazing. Since the show was in San Diego, I was surprised that I still stuck out like a sore thumb because I was white. This show rejuvenated my love for Hip Hop…so I’ve been listening to more lately, and I tell you what… had Nate Dogg come out on stage with either one of those dudes, I’d have crapped myself.
His personal problems with the law over the years were standard for anybody in the Hip Hop community. I didn’t know Nate Dogg the person, but I knew Nate Dogg the artist. The man was a living legend and now he’s dead. I’m so sad he is gone. Thankfully, that silky smooth voice will live on forever in my heart, and in my stereo…”the rhythm is the bass and the bass is the treble…”