Say it ain’t so, homie. For real. Say it ain’t so.
And yet it is. Yesterday, gangsta rap lost a legend, an icon, and a pioneer when Nathaniel D. Hale, who gained international fame and acclaim as G-Funk’s signature voice while performing under the name Nate Dogg, died of complications stemming from multiple strokes. He was 41.
Although he had been partially paralyzed since suffering his first stroke in 2007, Nate Dogg’s passing was sudden and unexpected. In many ways, it’s hard to believe he was still so young.
Folks like to talk about old souls, but Nate Dogg had soul that was even older than that. Call his a throwback soul, an old soul with soul to spare. With roots singing in the church – his father was a Mississippi pastor – and experience serving in the Marines (not to mention years spent in the Long Beach, California streets), Nate Dogg brought a world weariness to the booth that added a little heft to even the lightest affairs. While Snoop Dogg, Kurupt and Warren G popped off, Nate Dogg added a little polish and perspective and as the West Coast gangsta rap scene rumbled and roiled throughout the ’90s, Nate Dogg’s voice remained the constant thread, weaving its way through hooks across the board. Even alongside his peers, Nate Dogg came across as the O.G.
So pour out a little liquor. And then pour out a lot. Dr. Dre may have been the brain behind the G-Funk a sound, but Nate Dogg gave it its voice. And its soul.
(Photo: Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)