Thursday, March 17, 2011

Nate Dogg dies at 41

Nate Dogg, born Nathaniel D. Hale in Long Beach, gained attention for two tracks on Dr. Dre's 1992 debut 'The Chronic.' He lent his baritone vocals to hits by Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and Warren G and earned a Grammy nomination for the track 'Regulate' in 1995.

DJ Skee, a disc jockey for KIIS-FM (102.7) who has a weekly show on Sirius XM satellite radio, called Nate Dogg "a master."

"He created his own subgenre," Skee said, referring to G-funk. "His legacy is as big as anyone's in hip-hop."

Born Aug. 19, 1969, in Long Beach, Nate Dogg honed his singing skills in his church's gospel choir and his rapping at Long Beach Polytechnic High School, where he met Snoop Dogg.

At 16, Nate Dogg dropped out of high school and joined the Marines but went AWOL after three years. After a dishonorable discharge, he returned to Long Beach in 1990 to focus on music.

He first gained attention for two tracks on Dr. Dre's 1992 multi-platinum debut, "The Chronic," and quickly became the go-to crooner for hooks on rap albums from 50 Cent, Eminem, Ludacris and Fabolous. He also frequently collaborated with Tupac, as well as Snoop Dogg and Warren G.

Warren G and Nate Dogg earned a Grammy nomination for the 1995 gangsta-rap track "Regulate," one of three nominations he eventually received.

After signing with Death Row Records, the singer released his double-disc solo debut, "G-Funk Classics Volume 1 & 2" in 1998.

Yet his solo career never matched the success he experienced as a collaborator. Label and legal drama at Death Row Records marred his debut effort, and his album was shelved for two years.

The release was a top 20 R&B and hip-hop album. It also contained the singles "Never Leave Me Alone" and "Nobody Does It Better," a Warren G-assisted hit.

Nate Dogg remained optimistic about his solo career, telling The Times in 1998 that he did not plan to compromise his slow, deep-voiced R&B crooning.

"I don't know how to do nothing else," he said. "If it's not broke, I'm not going to try to fix it."

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