Hip-hop lost a genius late Tuesday, when Nate Dogg passed away from causes unknown in Long Beach, Calif. Maybe the man upstairs needed this OG, who was 41 and had suffered strokes in 2007 and '08, to sing hooks in the choir.
Meanwhile, Nate's work here on Earth will live on in hip-hop history books. While Nate Dogg showcased his smooth, mellow crooning on Dr. Dre's The Chronic and numerous Dogg Pound songs, it was his hook duty on Warren G's "Regulate" that solidified him as a superstar.
But Nate Dogg's body of work couldn't be reduced to one hit single. Here are seven other great songs that featured vocals from the king of G-funk hooks.
7. Snoop Dogg, "Boss' Life": Nate Dogg was the go-to guy for hip-hop hooks in the pre-Akon 90s hip-hop. That changed with Akon's rise to stardom in the 2000s, as "Boss' Life" would later affirm. If you bought a copy of Snoop's Blue Carpet Treatment in 2006 you may recall hearing Akon's unmistakable voice on "Boss' Life." Despite an impressive showing by the thug-n-b star, Snoop yanked him from the single version of "Boss' Life" and went with Nate instead. Given this now rare opportunity, Nate Dogg attacked the track as if his career depended on it. His rich vocals and west coast flavor gave the song much needed personality.
6. 50 Cent, "21 Questions": 50's Get Rich or Die Tryin' was a complete hip-hop album in the sense that it catered to everyone. Fif had the street joints, the girl song, and, since he was now part of Dre's family, he also had the Nate joint. Nate tackled his hook duty with professionalism and precision, making sure there wasn't a note or lyric out of place. While it's not exactly "Regulate," it would be average without his voice.
5. Fabolous, "Can't Deny It": Sporting a vicious Rick Rock beat and a buttery smooth Nate Dogg hook, "Can't Deny It" helped propel Fabolous to the limelight in 2001.
4. Eminem, "Till I Collapse": We sure hope whoever suggested this pairing got a raise from Interscope. It's a perfect fit for Nate Dizzle. Slowly unraveling, intense, cinematic.
3. Mark Ronson feat. Ghostface Killah & Saigon, "Ooh Wee": Bill Simmons recently likened Nate Dogg to Robert Horry, saying that he was always on the winning team. This is true. But anyone who may have questioned Nate's ability to excel outside of the his Death Row/DPG family had egg on his face as soon as Nate went "oooooo weee" on this Ronson smash. Saigon even took the time to pay his respect: "I'm already on a song with Nate Dogg, why you wanna hate man?"
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2. Mos Def feat. Pharoahe Monch, "Oh No": "Oh No" is a relic of the good ole Rawkus days that has managed to withstand the test of time. Pharoahe and Mos had something to do with that, but Nate Dogg is the needle that weaves their rhymes together. It's an almost perfect blend of raw rhymes and smooth tones. Definitely one of the best songs from Lyricist Lounge 2.
1. Dr. Dre feat. Snoop Dogg & Kurupt, "Tha Next Episode": 808s stretch across the landscape and the west coast's top dogs bounce rhymes and pass indo. Nate's bit on this pumps more thrills than your average rap hook. It will probably go down as his most memorable hook work. Despite the presence of bigger stars Dre and Snoop, it was Nate who had teenagers walking around saying "hold up...waaiiiiiiiiit."