Rest in Peace, Nate Dogg

I just received some troubling news. One of the greatest performers in hip hop history has passed away.

Nate Dogg, the preeminent hook-singer of the last twenty years, has died too young at age 41. He suffered two strokes in recent years and had been in failing health.

Rolling Stone’s obituary spells out the details:

Nate Dogg, the singer and rapper best known for his collaborations with Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Warren G and Eminem, has died at the age of 41. His cause of death has not been announced, but the singer had previously suffered strokes in 2007 and 2008.

Nate Dogg, born Nathaniel D. Hale, had a distinct vocal style that blended the rhythm and cadences of rap with slick, laid-back R&B delivery. He got his start in music as a member of the trio 213 with the then-unknown Snoop Dogg and Warren G, and later made his debut on “Deeez Nuuuts,” a track on Dr. Dre’s 1992 blockbuster The Chronic. In 1994 he had his biggest hit with “Regulate,” a collaboration with Warren G that hit Number Two on Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart.

I don’t have any words that will assuage this loss. Nate should have been with us for much longer, performing at a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony for himself and the rest of The Chronic crew. Maybe even a late-career renaissance where the young people of mid-century rediscover his greatness.

Ice Cube once rapped, “It must be a single if Nate Dogg’s singin’ on it.” The caliber of hooks that Nate dropped over two decades of work may never be surpassed.

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