Celebrating Akon as today's hottest hook writer in hip hop, like in this week's cover story, one can't help but think solemnly about his fallen predecessor.
Nathaniel Dwayne Hale, aka Nate Dogg, aka one of the baddest dudes to ever roll with Snoop, Dre, Warren G and the rest of the LBC crew, continues a downward spiral in life. The BBQ-loving, blunt-endorsing crooner was recently hit hard with felony charges, stemming from a bizarre arrest last month where ND was tailing his ex-wife around So Cal allegedly threatening to O.J. her, an incident coming only months after he was tagged by the Po for breaking into her house and beefing with her new man.
He's facing two felony counts of making criminal threats, one felony count of stalking and one misdemeanour charge of driving with a suspended license from a previous DUI. While his cousin Snoop has a pretty impressive history of beating the rap, Nate's odds of eluding conviction this time aren't looking as rosy.
Fans can only shake their head and wonder where all went wrong for the man who practically invented adding a smooth R&B hook to the hardest of West Coast rap; unafraid to show a sensitive side while still making prominently clear he will bust your ass if you crossed him. You also wonder if these deranged acts are the effects his stroke from last Christmas. We knew he was somewhat unhinged from video of him chasing BG Knocc Out around with a golf club, but that just added to his tough-guy street cred.
Still, you gotta remember this Dogg in his day. The term "Yacht Rock" gets thrown around heavily these days, let's not forget it was Nate Dogg and Warren G who first contemporized the 80s easy rock sound in 1994 by sampling Michael McDonald for the endurable smash Regulate [video] a track which still hasn't lost its potency. Of course, there's the other Grammy-nom singles with Ludacris (Area Codes) and Eminem (Shake That), hooks that pushed records up charts, yet paling in comparison to work he did on both Dre's classic Chronic albums or Snoop's landmark Doggystyle.
Nate's talents and success make it tempting to forgive his transgressions, but we have to keep that in check considering these charges show a continual habit of violence towards women, specifically his ex-lady. Let's just hope the old Dogg can learn some new tricks, clean up his own shit and hit us with a G-funk hook for a whole new era.