Nate Dogg would have turned 50 today! He will forever be hip hop’s favorite hook man, his legacy lives on through his music and the experiences he shared with friends, peers and fans. Today we pays homage to the late singer by sharing a few little known facts about hip-hop’s greatest featured player.
5 Things You Didn’t Know About Nate Dogg
1. Served in the U.S. Marines.
At 16, Nate grew bored of the monotony of school. He dropped out of high school and joined the Marine Corps. He communicated, “I wanted to see if I was a man. So I joined the service as a litmus test.” Upon returning to Long Beach, he linked back up with Snoop Dogg and Warren G. The trio began to take their craft seriously and recorded a demo. They christened themselves 213 after their area code.
2. Suge Knight delayed the release of Nate Dogg’s debut album.
Hale’s debut album, G Funk Classics Vol. 1 hit shelves in 1998. G Funk Classics was completed in 1996. The lead single, “Never Leave Me Alone,” was put into moderate rotation. Escalating tensions between Nate Dogg and Death Row resulted in Suge Knight having the album shelved. When Nate Dogg left Death Row in 1997, he attempted to have the disc released on his own imprint, Dogg Foundation. Legal battles between the artist and his former label stalled the album even further. Once released two years after originally intended, critics panned the collection of songs for its dated sound.
3. Nate Dogg is the son of a preacher.
As a child, Nate began singing in his father’s church. His first church solo was at the age of four at Life Line Baptist Church in Clarksdale, Mississippi. He continued to refine his vocals at New Hope Baptist Church. He began attending that church once his family had relocated to Long Beach, California. Soon after, he stopped attending church altogether.
4. Never won a Grammy award.
In spite of being on a gang of hit records, Nate Dogg’s work has never been recognized at any award ceremony. The hip hop crooner has been nominated four times at the Grammy Awards and always went home empty handed. The first nomination came in 1995 when he and Warren G recorded “Regulate.” The most controversial nomination came in 2001. Although featured on the hit, “The Next Episode,” Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg were the only people credited with the nod. Thereafter, he received nomination honors for his contributions to Ludacris’ “Area Codes” and Eminem’s “Shake That.”
5. Snoop Dogg’s “Ain’t No Fun (If The Homies Cant Have None)” was a personal milestone.
Many were familiar with Nate Dogg’s robust tenor because of his scene stealing performance on Dr. Dre’s The Chronic. He, however, felt he still needed to develop his style of singing in minor keys. Everything Nate Dogg envisioned for his style and image was realized on “Ain’t No Fun..” Raunchy and misogynistic lyrics paired with addictive melodies and an unapologetic attitude became his signature because of Snoop’s track.
RIP to hip-hop's greatest hook master.