The world is a far sadder place today with the announcement of the passing of Nathaniel Hale, AKA Nate Dogg. For over a decade, Nate Dogg defined what a West Coast hook sounded like, and he gave us some of the most memorable 15-second snippets of song from the last 20 years. Speaking for my own cohort, I can say truthfully that rarely a week goes by that I or a friend of mine does not make some “The Next Episode” or “Regulators” reference. Just the other day, “Regulators” was played on a juke box, and no fewer than 5 of my friends made sure I was hearing it. “Hey, Zaius– you getting this?!” “Mount up,” I said. At the very least, whenever I encounter a reference to smoking weed, I hear Nate Dogg’s iconic verse in my head: “Hey-ya-ya-ay-ya-ay. Smoke weed every day!”
More than we sometimes acknowledge, we think through the media that we encounter, and among singers, Nate Dogg’s unique, melodic style seemed to reverberate with me– and with millions of others. For the last few years, fans have waited anxiously to see whether Nate would recover from the multiple strokes that left him a ghost of the man he once was. Alas, he has apparently lost his earthly battle. However, here’s thinking that if heaven needs a hook, Nate will soon be getting a call.