I have loved Nate Dogg as long as I have loved things.
I couldn’t believe it when I heard the news around 3am yesterday, and was hoping I would wake up and it would be a hoax.
Alas, it wasn’t, and we truly lost a legend.
When we think about Nate Dogg, most will immediately jump to Regulate, The Next Episode, Xxxplosive, or Area Codes. Bigger fans of the great will cite Lay Low, Ain’t No Fun (If The Homies Can’t Have None), and Oh No as classics.
As I spend the entire day cycling through his discography, rediscovering songs I once played on repeat and hooks that I still know every word to, I’m shocked and impressed at the number of songs his thugbuttery voice absolutely saved from being complete GAR-BAGE.
It’s well documented that Nate could hop on a good track and make it a classic… but what he doesn’t get enough credit for is hopping on the wackest track ever and successfully making it decent.
9 – “Shake That” – Eminem
In terms of lyrics, I can confidently say this is Eminem’s lowest point. “Shake That” is to Eminem what the past 18 months of singles is to Usher. So miserable. So lazy. With that said, Mr. Dogg comes through with the silly hook that, even at Eminem’s lowest hour, makes me smile — until Eminem starts rapping again, at which point I break out in hives.
8 –“Have a Party” – Mobb Deep
This song might not be that bad, had I not been having reoccuring nightmares to the beauty that is “Shook Ones, pt. II” since I was 8 years old. My ears and my heart won’t allow me to enjoy this song. If it weren’t for Nate’s “haaaaaaaay” to begin and end his chorus, I’d probably go find Prodigy and Havoc, sit them down, and scold them for making such a useless song. Yeah, that’s what I’d do.
7 – “Multiply” – Xzibit
Based on the headlining rapper, you know there’s a 87% chances that this song is not good. As someone that praises consistency, I appreciate “Multiply” for definitely following suit. The only good thing about this song is that in a matter of 30 seconds, Nate can channel his “dude from Boyz II Men with the cane that does the deep spoken word” and then pulls a 180 and sounds like a castrati tenor. Legend.
6 – “Like This” – Mac 10
This song is shockingly anticlimatic. The beat is pretty good (even though I could have probably made it on Microsoft Paint), and Mack 10 isn’t the worst rapper out there. The reason this song is on the list is because Nate validates its entire existence with two lines:
Talk a lot of shit, ’cause I do it the best
Nigga, this ain’t checkers, it’s a game of chess.
I could listen to him croon those lines on loop for days.
5 –“I Like That” – Houston
Unless you are a masochist, you haven’t thought about this song in 6+ years. While there’s no denying the power this song had at our high school house parties in 2004, I think my girl Rebecca Black will have more staying power than this song and Houston’s career in general. Nate tried his hardest to save this song, but not even he could make this song relevant. (Side note: If Nate Dogg tells you to “twerk” in a chorus, you best twerk.)
4 – “Connected” – Shaquille O’Neal
3- “Can’t Go For That (Remix) – Tamia
So, Grant Hill… you and Tamia got married in 1999 and this video was shot in 2000. Please tell me you were on the set EVERY SINGLE MINUTE that Snoop, Warren, and Nate were around your new wife. I’m not implying that Tamia is an unfaithful woman by any stretch of the imagination, but I am saying those Three Crip Muskateers had no interest in your marriage. I know you’ve got a lot on your mind with this whole Jalen Rose beef and all, but I just wanted to bring it up.
Also, this is the saddest attempt at a Hall & Oates cover I’ve ever heard. With that said, Nate is singing like he’d give up wearing bowler hats to be with Tamia. You have to respect that.
2 –“Nah Nah” – E-40
I’m the first one to admit regional biases with regards to music (I swear by all Atlanta music, from Aquemini to Headbussas). With that said, the way that E-40 raps makes me never want to 1) visit California, 2) listen to rap, and 3) wear comically small glasses. Nate Dogg pulls a Gates Foundation on this song, by interjecting his smoothly crude lyrics whenever he can. For countering E-40’s terroristic assault at rap, cadence, the English language, and fun, Nate Dogg, I thank you.
1 – “21 Questions” – 50 Cent
Now that we’re 9 years removed from Get Rich or Die Tryin’, can we please be honest about how bad this song is. I understand that 50 was repeatedly being shot in the jaw while recording this track, but that’s no excuse. If Nate wasn’t on this song, this would not have even made the album, and definitely would not have been a single. And there’s nothing catchier than the line of the song:
Gurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrlllllllllllllllll – Nate Dogg
Nathaniel Dwayne Hale, a.k.a Nate Dogg, Rest In Peace.
One day, I swear I will travel to the East Side of Long Beach, California. I will go there with one goal in mind, that being to locate Warren G. When I do that, Nate, I promise I will be thinking about you.