It’s been Five years since the gawd of hip hop hooks passed away. So I put together the Five best hooks of Nate Dogg, plus some honorary mentions.
R.I.P. In Peace to the absolute gawd of the hip hop hook, Nate Dogg. If you were lucky enough to have your song blessed with a Nate Dogg hook, it was automatically a jam. The voice, the poise, the dead eyes. He was the perfect person for a hip hop hook. He had this controlled aggression in his tone that perfectly tied together the verses of a song. It was emotional without feeling too sappy, aggressive without feeling to threatening. Just a perfect blend of effortless soul that balanced out every song he jumped on. There are a lot of pop/r&b guys who can jump on a hook these days and tie it together well, but nobody will ever have the cache that Nate had. RIP In Peace to a legend.
Before I get into my top five, it would be stupid not to include some of the honorary mentions. You could absolutely make an argument that these are all deserving of a top five, and I won’t fight it. I just gave the five that worked for me:
Til I Collapse – Eminem feat. Nate Dogg
First off… shoutout to Mike Finnegan for playing this song no less than 10 times in a row before every freshman football game. Some people will be mad that I left this out of the top 5, but it doesn’t really do much for me any more. That one season of hearing this song over and over and over has left me Collapsed out. And to be honest, when I think Nate Dogg, I need my song to have a chiller vibe. Nate Dogg will tell you he’ll leave you underground with a gun, a knife, a bat, a brick, or anything he can get his hands on, but he’ll do it with a chill vibe. Point being: I almost completely left this off the list because I almost forgot it was a Nate Hook.
I Like That — Houston, Chingy, I-20, feat. Nate Dogg
I Like That is the perfect example of a song that just gets lost in the passage of time. I fucking loved this song. It might’ve had the highest play count on my iTunes from the second the music video dropped until about a year later. And somehow I just completely forgot about it after that. But everyone once in a while, on a day like today, I’ll hear it again and remember how much I loved it.
Nobody Does It Better – Warren G & Nate Dogg
Updated: originally left this out. Shouts to Ruby on that call. Huge oversight on my part. But that’s okay, even with my mistakes, nobody did a list like this better than me
Oh No – Mos Def, Pharaoh Monch feat. Nate Dogg
A wildly underrated song that I actually considered throwing on the list for a second. Hadn’t heard it for a hot minute until I was going through Nate songs today, and I’ve now played it five times while making this list. OH NOOOO
Ain’t No Fun – Snoop Dogg, Warren G, Kurupt, feat. Nate Dogg
One of the most quietly aggressive songs of all time, and also absolutely hysterical. One of those songs that makes you chuckle from start to finish. Tough omission, but that’s just how many all-time hooks Nate Dogg has laid down.
Lay Low — Snoop Dogg feat. Nate Dogg
Another hard omission here, especially since “for the bitch that said I shot some shit up out of my dick, now she sick, SHEEEEE better lay low” might be the funniest line in hip hop history.
Can’t Deny It — Fabolous feat. Nate Dogg
For sure the toughest omission. I’m just gonna move on before I hate myself for leaving it out. Especially because of how good Fab’s verses are.
Alright, let’s get into the top five:
5) Gangsta Nation – Westside Connection ft. Nate Dogg
Outside of the top two on my list, that “Na Na Na Na Nana Nana” is probably the next thing I think of with Nate Dogg. Something about this chorus, on what is otherwise a pretty average song, is just so iconic to me. It’s a chorus that should have been blessed with a much better supporting cast. Like if this is a Snoop song with that same hook and same beat, this is an all time song. But the verses are so underwhelming (even Ice) that it’s only worth it for the iconic hook.
4) Time’s Up — Jadakiss feat. Nate Dogg
Gotta be one of the most underrated rap songs of all time, which you can probably say about 10 different Kiss songs. It just blends so well. You have Jada laying some of his most quotable punchlines (Life’s a bitch like the mother from blow, let’s go) with that raspy tone, contrasted with that silky smooth yet deceptively threatening Nate Dogg hook (a gun, a knife, a bat, a brick, anything I can get my hands on), all over a fire Scott Storch beat. Still absolutely bangs any time it comes on.
3) The Next Episode — Dre, Snoop, Kurupt, feat. Nate Dogg
You could absolutely make an argument for this to be #1, and I get that lot of people are probably mad that it’s not. But it doesn’t give me the same amount of Nate Dogg as the top two on this list. You only get that bridge at the end. And while Nate’s 20 seconds are probably the best part of the song, it’s not really the hook that this list is asking for.
2) 21 Questions — 50 Cent ft. Nate Dogg
I had a tough time not making this #1. Like, a really, really tough time. Not just because it’s one of my favorite songs ever, but because the actual quality of Nate’s hook is so high. Just as a hook in itself you could argue that it’s his best ever. The content of the words, the catchiness, the range. It’s the best. And who isn’t singing along when they here that “Guuuuuuurl” kick in? I was this close to just saying fuck it and throwing this to #1, but then Nate Dogg and Warren G had to… well, you know.
1) Regulate – Warren G feat. Nate Dogg
The absolute, undisputed champ, and probably the best story told in the history of music. The homie Nate 1) made some girls drive into the curb from looking at him, 2) saved Warren G from a jacking, 3) regulated, 4) switched his mind back to freak mode, 5) went back to those freaks on the curb, 6) LET. THEM. RIDEEEEEE, 7) brought them to the East Side Motel. In the span of about 5 minutes, Nate saved his best friend’s life AND got him a threesome at the East Side Motel. Even if the song sucked, that story alone makes it one of the best ever. Add in the silky smooth lyrics of Nate Dogg and Warren G doing Warren G things and you have yourself one of the most iconic songs of all time.