RIP Nate Dogg
Always underrated, always a path not quite taken (a tracking out of gangsta R & B past the Bone Thugs terrain, carrying that torch West), always more than just hook-voice there to bail out others (Warren G, we're looking at you), always one of my favorites. The sinister fact of being smooth.
[By the way, the moment with the cops - where they bow down by popping up on lifts - in the video cannot be missed. It sums up. The whole world, from the shirts of the kids to the on-time stutter of going backwards and forwards with equal ease, falls beneath the swaying rule of the voice and its refusal to hurry.]
I first listened to Music & Me - his solo album, that flowering of a single backing hook into patterns of insane jazz flute, the un-vocoded plateau pitch shifts stepping down the scale, the recurrent effect of a chorus of an echoing, supporting cast of Nates, an echo chamber of the one and only, such that he's almost an orchestra himself, such that he is now getting his own back, even as he takes the lead for once - around the time that a long relationship of mine ended. At that time, at that mood, it sounded just right. It was the sound of a collision that doesn't lose the thread of a beat. It was pitch perfect then and now. A whole crowd of voices boiled down into one that didn't waver. The stroke that ended his life is the first time the surface buckled. And that's more than can be said.