When Nathaniel "Nate Dogg" Hale passed last night, hip-hop lost one of its most distinctive voices--one that West Coast Rap, G-Funk, and the hook as it's known today owe a massive debt of gratitude. He was credited on more than 40 charting singles stretching back to 1992, including certified jams like Warren G's "Regulate," Dr. Dre's "Xxplosive" and "The Next Episode," Ludacris' "Area Codes," and 50 Cent's "21 Questions"--and odds are, none of them would have been the hits they were without his signature croon.
No cause of death was officially announced, but Hale, a cousin of Snoop Dogg, had suffered a stroke in December 2007 and a second in September 2008.
Just yesterday I was listening to his hook on Shade Sheist's "Where I Wanna Be," wishing on some sun and plotting a trip to SoCal. The song is really some timeless wisdom: Appreciate what you've got and where you're at; live it up and light the chronic while you can.