Nate Dogg, the velvet voice riding on countless hip-hop classics from the past two decades, passed away on Tuesday. The singer, born Nathaniel D. Hale, was 41. No cause of death has been reported, but he suffered a couple of strokes in the past few years, which reportedly paralyzed his left side and impaired his ability to speak.
First and foremost, think of "Regulate," his collaboration with Warren G over a smooth Michael McDonald sample. The song was notable at the time -- and arguably to this day -- because it let Nate Dogg air out his voice for more than just the hook. His work on classics by Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, 50 Cent, Ludacris, and Eminem, among others, provided a G-Funk stamp of authenticity. Ice Cube said it best on Westside Connection's "Gangsta Nation": "Cause it must be a single when Nate Dogg's singin' on it."
Two of our sister papers have provided must-read tributes to the fallen hip-hop legend. First, Village Voice's Dan Weiss breaks down Nate Dogg's sing-song career with a baker's dozen of his finest collaborations. Do not let this day pass without playing "Lay Low." One lascivious, filthy, and fun-loving omission would be "Ain't No Fun" from Doggystyle.
Also, OC Weekly's Lilledeshan Bose pulls together tributes from many of the rappers who created career-defining hits with the help of Nate Dogg. Included are thoughts from Snoop, Game, Daz Dillinger, 50 Cent, and Xzibit. From Ludacris: "There is a certain void in hip-hop's heart that can never be
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filled. Glad we got to make history together."
Regulate in peace, Nate Dogg.