Hip-hop lost an OG today. Nate D-O-Double-G took his talents to hip-hop heaven Tuesday. Here at The Rap Up mansion, we decided to celebrate his enviable body of work. While this list doesn’t sum up Nate Dizzle’s career, it represents his versatility and consistent output. Kick back, light one, and remember the brother for his inimitable g-funk hooks.
10. Kurupt (Feat. Nate Dogg) – “Behind the Walls”
This underrated gem from Nate Dogg’s enviable catalog showed how to craft the perfect hook. It also showed how well Nate’s rich harmonies complemented Kurupt’s rugged rhymes on their collaborations.
9. Dr. Dre (Ft. Hittman, Kurupt, Nate Dogg & Six-Two) – “Xxplosive”
Nate Dogg might’ve been mostly known for his supportive roles but he wholly owned this song with his silky smooth verse. Quickly, no peeking, name the emcees on this track. …See?
8. Nate Dogg – “Nobody Does It Better”
An in-demand hook supplier at this point, Nate Dogg paused to reminisce about his humble beginnings and remind copycats that he’s still the king of hooks.
7. Fabolous (Feat. Nate Dogg) – “Can’t Deny It”
The inimitable vocalist from LBC scored big with this catchy tune and helped catapult Fabolous into the spotlight.
6. 2 Pac (Ft. Nate Dogg, Outlawz & Top Dogg) – “All About U”
While most of Nate’s memorable work is with Snoop Dogg, Warren G and Dr. Dre, he has some gems with ‘Pac as well, with “All About U” being the most G-Funkin’est. It’s almost as if Nate was thinking of a hook, and while looking outside of the tour bus, realized that he recognized that pair of long legs and low ambitions from the last city he stopped in. Back before the invention of your Internets, most stalking was done within walking distance, instead of via RSS feed, and if you lived such a superstar life, there were definitely run-ins with hoochies past conquered. The fact that over such a stanky flip of “Candy” that Nate could make such nonchalant points about debauchery is part of his excellence.
5. Mark Ronson Ft. Ghostface Killah, Trife Da God, Saigon & Nate Dogg – “Ooh Wee”
What do you do when you’ve got a nice disco sample looped up, an appropriate guest verse by Ghost, his Theodore Unit protege Trife and a then unknown and presumably record label appointed Saigon, all ready to turn the lead single to your debut album into a certified party starter but still lack a decent hook? You give Nate Dogg a call to turn “nana nana, oooooh wee” into something memorable and even make it sound G to boot. Newbie Saigon couldn’t believe his luck at the time: “I’m already on a song with Nate Dogg, that’s why you wanna hate, dog!”
4. Pharoahe Monch, Mos Def & Nate Dogg – “Oh No”
It was the height of the Rawkus era at the end of the 90s to early 00s when the backpack behemoth couldn’t seem to do any wrong. But they couldn’t grown anymore either. The backpack/conscious crowd had uniformly embraced the Rawkus aesthetic but there was still plenty ground to be won in the arena of rap sales. So when the follow-up to the iconic underground compilation Lyricist Lounge dropped they found the perfect way to crossover to a wider audience without getting labeled sellouts. Label top sellers Pharoahe Monch & Mos Def teamed up for the lead single that Nate Dogg added his signature funk to with another infectious hook. Look who crept in the back door and got Rawkus some MTV spin.
3. Nate Dogg – “One More Day”
Nate Dogg always turned in brilliant songs on soundtrack projects. The Above the Rim soundtrack in particular raised the standards, thanks to anthems like “Regulate.” The equally impressive Murder Was the Case gave us the buttery smooth “One More Day.”
2. Dr. Dre (Ft. Snoop Dogg & Nate Dogg) – “The Next Episode”
Even without Nate, this comeback to shit on all comebacks would’ve been a success. The trifecta of Dre on the beats, Hov on Dre’s rhymes and Snoop at his crispiest? It was a no-brainer – and given that Dre and Snoop were coming off not making music together for a bit, they needed a homerun. Nate Dogg steps up late in the track – it’s almost like bottom of the 9th, bases loaded, 2 outs and it doesn’t look pretty. “Hold up… waaaaaiiiiit!” was more than just a catchy phrase; it was a solidification that Dre was indeed back, Dre and Snoop were a unit, and the G-Funk they helped usher in and blow-up hadn’t died.
1. Warren G (Ft. Nate Dogg) – “Regulate”
If Nate hadn’t done anything else in Hip-Hop, his feature on “Regulate” helped many fall in love with his gangsta harmonies. Before Bone Thugs really took off, not too many cats were trying to sound like true Gs in a sangin’-ass way. The back and forth Warren and Nate had, with Nate essentially singing his raps, and the story they weaved in the first verse? It’s a thing of beauty, with an ill metaphor to boot. I’ve never been, but if nights in the LBC went down like this (shootouts, gambling, fornication, getting bent) on the reg, it was definitely the New Wild West.