Words/Photos: Ani Yapundzhyan | twitter.com/Aninomous

West Coast sound is famous for a couple of reasons, the most prevalent being the Parliament Funkadelic-influenced, bass-heavy, synthesized beats that have come to be known as G-Funk.

Just as those beats immediately identify the G-Funk sound, so does another less-obvious factor: Nate Dogg‘s voice. Hearing Nate Dogg on a track is verification that you are listening to a West Coast banger.

Nate Dogg R.I.P 2004

No matter how fresh the song, Nate made it more gangsta by singing on it in his low, smooth, comfortable tone.  And while a number of rappers made up the G-Funk era, Nate was the one singer who defined the sound.

He was as ill as the rappers but he was singin’.

“It Ain’t No Fun” had Nate singing a whole verse that was just as memorable as Kurupt, Snoop and Warren G’s lyrics.

“…cause IIII have never met a giiiiirl…that IIII love in the whole wide worrrrrld…”

Nate Dogg 2004

Nate Dogg was part of the soundtrack to my childhood, growing up in Los Angeles.  On March 15th, Nate Dogg passed away at the age of 41 in the same city that he was born and raised in, Long Beach, California.

He was recovering from 2 strokes that he suffered beginning in late 2007.  His passing closed a door on an era.

Nate Dogg was under-rated for sure.  He was almost taken for granted because it was as if he was a natural part of the music, omnipresent in the sound.

But he was loved. His familiar voice made us feel comfortable at first, then nostalgic later.

213 in Las Vegas, 2004

As of 2004, the man was featured in and contributed to over 40 chart singles.

And I bet you we have most of them memorized.

I know that just as I enthusiastically listened to G-Funk’s and Nate Dogg’s music in my teens, then wistfully in my 20’s and now as I still sing along and shake my head in my 30’s, I will continue to listen to it every other decade of my life.

And I will continue to shout out all the bad words, even over the edited versions, while I throw up my W.

Nate Dogg, Warren G & Snoop 2004

PODCAST: Steve1der, “Nate in ’08: Tribute to Nate Dogg”

FREE DOWNLOAD: Nate Dogg R.I.P. Download Pack

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