By Neal West
Rumors of his death have been circulating around the internet for several years now, but on Tuesday, March 15th, at the age of 41, West Coast singer/rapper Nathaniel “Nate Dogg” Hale was pronounced dead after suffering a multiple stroke episode. Nate Dogg had experienced other stroke events in 2007, and again in 2008 (which may have had something to do with all those death rumors), but was said to be on the road to recovery before his passing on Tuesday. While 41 is shockingly young, it is important to remember that 41 is 287 in dog years…
His impression upon popular music is undeniable, or as he sang on Fabolous’ 2000 debut song, “ya’ll can’t deny it…” Nate Dogg was a STRAIGHT RIDER…paving the way for many other singer/rappers, including Will.I.Am. and T-Pain. As a part of 213, alongside Snoop Dogg and Warren G., Nate Dogg first appeared nationally on Dr. Dre’s multi-platinum selling album, The Chronic.
Celebrities from around the music industry have been tweeting away, all fondly remembering the hip hop icon. Ice T tweeted “I woke up this morning to learn that another Hip Hop Legend and friend has passed away.. Rest in peace Nate Dogg. We’ll miss you my nigga.”
Snoop Dogg was saddened by the news, saying on Twitter, “We lost a true legend n hip hop n rnb. One of my best friends n a brother to me since 1986 when I was a sophomore at poly high where we met. I love u buddy luv. U will always b wit me 4ever n a day. u put the g n gfunk. u put the 1 n 213 n u put yo stamp on evrybdy u ever did it wit. I miss u cuzz I am so sad, but so happy I got to grow up wit u and I will c u again n heaven cuz u know d slogan: all doggs go to heaven!”
This story strikes a personal chord because it could happen to me too. As a young man, and as a man who’s maternal grandmother passed away when my own mother was just three-years-old, due to a stroke event. Doctors say there are warning signs, which can include race, family history, and gender. While you’re thinking about it, head on over to americanheart.org to find out if you are at risk for a stroke.
As a young DJ, I cut my teeth on music by Nate Dogg, Dr. Dre, Warren G, and Snoop. They are all inexorably linked in my mind. I am truly saddened by the news of his death (I was really hoping they’d finish that rumored new 213 album). A parting thought: Although death and taxes are the only certainties in life, knowing the risks can help. Take care of yourself. And to a man who’s music I dearly respect, Nathaniel “Nate Dogg” Hale, I say: Heaven must have needed another gangsta… Rest In Peace.