It’s been five years since hip-hop lost Nate Dogg. After suffering strokes in 2007 and 2008, he was reportedly living in a nursing home when he died on March 15, 2011 at only 41.
While it’s easy to peg the somber-faced crooner as just a hook-man, the style Nate Dogg brought to his guest appearances suggested a musicality that surpassed that simple label. His voice was distinctive— melodic and street but gospel-tinged, giving him a uniqueness that still felt familiar. And although everyone remembers his classic tracks with Warren G, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, it’s important not to forget how deep his catalogue actually runs.
Here are 5 of his most underrated appearances and songs.
Yes, he was California-bred but Nate Dogg’s talent wasn’t pigeon-holed to any particular coast, as he aptly demonstrated on this danceable track from the Lyricist Lounge compilation. Anchored by verses from two of hip-hop’s best, this song jammed when it was released in 2000 and it still does.
“How Long Will They Mourn Me”
“How Long Will They Mourn Me” is among Tupac’s staple tracks but when Nate Dogg’s classic appearances are mentioned, this one often fails to make the cut. His vocals on the 1994 song, which appeared on the Thug Life album, are understated but powerful, adding to the reflective but melancholy undertone of the song.
“Never Leave Me Alone”
One of his best solo songs, “Never Leave Me Alone,” from 1998’s G-Funk Classics, Vol. 1 & 2, finds a reflective Nate Dogg singing about love loss and the realities of street life and fatherhood, with an assist by Snoop Dogg.
A standout on E-40’s 1998 release, Loyalty & Betrayal, “Nah Nah” is an ode to classic, sunny California production, and as a result, inspired Nate Dogg to go vintage with the vocals. As he says, he and 40 Water are as “Cali as can be” on this song, and it’s jamming.
“One More Day”
Arguably one of Nate Dogg’s best songs, “One More Day” appeared on the Cali-classic, 1994’s Murder Was the Case soundtrack. Proving that he had the chops to handle an entire track on his own after previously featuring on hits for Snoop and Dr. Dre, Nate Dogg showcases his penchant for elaborate storytelling and morality-based street perspective on this song, where he gives thanks for the chance to see “one more day.”