A lot of my favorite songs wouldn’t be so if it weren’t for Nate Dogg, who passed last night. He wasn’t the best singer ever. But boy, Nate was necessary. Every track he blessed with his voice—monotone, melodious, and stern—became so much more intense. When he told us to “Lay Low,” you really felt like maybe staying inside was the best idea if you’ve crossed someone. He meant it. His tone and style was essential to Dr. Dre’s G-Funk era, which blended old school funk beats with rhymes that, at times, teetered on sinister.
Though Nate was also a wonderful fit on love songs, too—able to express his feelings without coming off soft. “I wrote the chorus to ‘21 Questions’,” 50 Cent said on Twitter hours ago of their collaboration on his 2003 hit. “I needed Nate to sing it for me. He had a way of making everything feel hard.” Hip-hop has lost its greatest hook man.
Here are some of my favorite Nate Dogg collabs.
Warren G. feat Nate Dogg, “Regulate”
50 Cent feat Nate Dogg, “21 Questions”
Dr. Dre feat. Nate Dogg, “The Next Episode”
Dr. Dre feat. Nate Dogg, “Xxplosive”
Ludacris feat. Nate Dogg, “Area Codes”
What are your favorite Nate Dogg tracks?