That’s right, times have changed and the artists behind Dr. Dre’s classic 2001 have aged. Dre’s sophomore album is one of the greatest the West has ever seen, and was a result of Dr. Dre’s tireless work ethic, a thirst to prove himself, and both new and old collaborators stirred into The Good Doctor’s formula.
We all know how a sleepless Dre entered the lab with a pen and a pad to get Aftermath Entertainment off with the 6x-platinum and Grammy-nominated 2001. But Dre has caught very few zzz’s since then, working tirelessly to preserve his legacy. His collaborators also have gone on to various projects over the years, some faring better than others. Take a look at what they’ve been up to since this funked-up piece of brilliance dropped 18 years ago on Nov. 16, 1999.
Dr. Dre: The Composer
Contributions: (Really though?) He crafted his second-straight classic that bumped like six-months pregnant. He co-produced 21 of the album’s 22 tracks, co-wrote on 15 cuts (yes, really), and rapped on 13. He composed the album with a tight focus, keeping the 48 artists credited with creating the album in sync like J.T.
Dre might be the hardest working man in Hip Hop, but he went years without his efforts materializing into an album. The mythical Detox was never completed because of Dre’s legendary perfectionism. In the 2017 HBO documentary, The Defiant Ones, Eminem described his then-frustration with Dre over Detox: “Over and over and over, I don’t know what he’s looking for. I don’t know if he knows what he’s looking for. I’ve been through writer’s block and I’ve also been through many, many times where I’m not sure of myself, but my shit was garbage. (Detox was) not garbage, though.”
Dre scrapped the album and began to work on Compton, inspired by the 2015 N.W.A biopic Straight Outta Compton, which Dre co-produced. The album contained songs featuring Kendrick Lamar’s signature mid-song track changes, as well as powerful reflections of Dre’s past and celebrations of his current success. Compton was well-received by critics not named Stat Quo and certified Gold. When he wasn’t working on his own music, Dre was helping other rappers blow up like nitro. He signed 50 Cent in 2002, The Game in 2005 and Kendrick Lamar in 2012, guiding all of their major label debut albums to classic status.
Off the mic and away from the boards, Dre has been best known for the game-changing Beats Electronics, which he formed in 2006 with Jimmy Iovine. Dre released studio-quality headphones, known as “Beats By Dre,” in 2008. Following the massive popularity of the headphones, the Beats Music streaming service was created in January 2014. Just months later, Jimmy and Dre sold Beats to Apple Electronics for $3 billion.
Dre’s life since 2001 has not been without personal strife or controversy. His son, Andre Young Jr., died at age 20 in 2008 of an opiate overdose. When Straight Outta Compton was released, the radio host whom Dre brutally assaulted in 1991, Dee Barnes, reminded everyone what the movie didn’t tell us. Dre followed with a public apology to the women he puts hands on, but it didn’t end there. Michel’le’s movie, Surviving Compton, came out in 2016 and portrayed Dre as an abusive monster.
Dre doesn’t seem to be that person anymore; he has been married to his wife, Nicole, since 1996, and there haven’t been any domestic issues pop up on TMZ. However, the recurring mentions of his past abusiveness prove that no matter where you go, your past always has a way of finding you. “I have this dark cloud that follows me, and it’s going to be attached to me forever,” he said in The Defiant Ones. “It’s a major blemish on who I am as a man.”
Eminem: The Prodigy
Contributions: It’s easy to forget now, with Eminem being seen as Hip Hop’s Obi-Wan Kenobi to Dre’s Yoda, that he was once the spastic, bleach-blonde white boy from Detroit with a mouth fouler than funky draws. (OK, he’s still those things, only with brown hair and a beard). About a year before Dre released 2001, he bought into the hype of the unsigned Eminem and guided him through his unapologetically shocking The Slim Shady LP, which shook up the competition. Eminem returned the favor on 2001, providing a then-uncharacteristically low-key hook on “The Watcher,” driving around with his sunglasses-donning dead wife on “What’s the Difference,” and burning down a house on “Forgot About Dre.” He also received writing credits for “Bang Bang” and “Let’s Get High,” but it was his presence as a lyrical jackrabbit on crack that beautifully complemented Dre’s slower, more deliberate flow.
If you never got the memo that Y2K fears were unfounded and have been living in a basement shelter for the past 17 years, you might not have heard that Eminem went on to drop two colossal, controversial, diamond-selling, Grammy-winning albums, The Marshall Mathers LP in 2000 and The Eminem Show in 2002.
For Mr. Mathers, the fun and games were over right around 2004, when he released the drug-addled, high-selling, low-rated Encore. His locomotor really went off the rails when his best friend and D-12 mate Proof was killed in 2006. Shady’s drug addiction kicked into high gear, and he suffered a near-fatal methadone overdose. Eminem said in a 2013 interview with Rolling Stone that he was “definitely lucky” his overdose hasn’t had lasting effects, but that he “probably shaved a few years off [his] life.”
Eminem got sober and released the polarizing Relapse in 2009 (let’s face it, you either loved those accents or you hated them). A year later, he released the critically-hailed Recovery, which found him at his most vulnerable point since 2002’s “Hailie’s Song.” Latter-day Eminem is known for being lyrical almost to a fault, ignoring song-structure with his word-bending acrobatics. This somewhat hindered 2013’s The Marshall Mathers LP 2, but not so much that it wasn’t a good album.
Marshall Mathers at 45-years-old is both mature and juvenile, calm and angry, and a legend who raps with the hunger of a freshman. While hypersensitive millennials lambast him for his violent lyrics much like women’s rights and LGBT groups did nearly two decades ago, Eminem’s recent roasting of Donald Trump bely no signs of slowing down.
Contrarily, a Revival is just around the corner…
Snoop Dogg: The Stoner-Of-All-Trades
Contributions: He co-wrote and rapped on four tracks, including the anthemic “The Next Episode,” on which Snoop stepped in that muthafucka just-a swangin’ his hair.
Calvin Broadus has one of the smoothest, most nimble flows in Hip Hop, so maybe it shouldn’t be a surprise that his personality is so fluid and transcendent as well. Still, it’s hard not to bust out laughing when you see that the spliff-lighting Snoop is cooking with Martha Stewart and hosting his own game show on TBS. He has stayed current in Hip Hop since 2001, releasing 11 solo albums — including the platinum-selling Paid tha Cost to Be da Boss and R&G (Rhythm & Gangsta): The Masterpiece. Despite the latter album’s title, Snoop the Gangsta had given way to Snoop the Pimp, not unlike his character Huggy Bear Brown in 2004’s Starsky & Hutch.
His pimp days would be one of several transformations Snoop would go through since the release of 2001. There has been Snoop the Father, who coached his son’s pee-wee football team and recorded a rap-flavored fight song with Flavor Flav for his son’s high school football team in 2014. That Snoop has remained steadfast while Snoop Lion — a peace-and-love version of Calvin Broadus who released a Reggae album in 2013 following a spiritually-enlightening trip to Jamaica — has come and gone. Then, of course, there’s weed-loving Snoop, who has always been, and always will be, the most popular Snoop. Even through numerous minor marijuana-related arrests have resulted in fines, Snoop stays dedicated to the stickiest of the icky. He even created Leafs By Snoop, a brand of Cannabis started in 2015 in (where else?) Colorado.
Only Tha Doggfather knows what’s next for him, but he’s expressed a desire to release a Gospel album. It would be a refreshing change of pace from his latest EP, Make America Crip Again.
Xzibit: The Thespian
Contributions: That verse. That blistering, pulverizing, island-obliterating collection of heat rocks that X to the Z unleashed into the unsuspecting world on “What’s the Difference.” A tidbit: “Until my death, I’m Bangladesh/I suggest you hold your breath, until none left.” Lawdamercy. He was featured on two other joints, with writing credits for each one.
He remembers his time recording 2001 fondly, especially meeting Eminem. He described his first encounter with Slim Shady in an interview with HipHopDX: “We were working on (2001), and he had just finished laying (‘Forgot About Dre’), and we just kept listening to it back-to-back-to-back, and it was just an amazing time.”
X the rapper gave way to Xzibit the actor around the mid-2000s, but not before he invaded the airwaves. Carrying the momentum of 2001, X released the platinum Restless in 2000 and followed that up with two gold albums: Man vs. Machine (2002) and Weapons of Mass Destruction (2004). By the time the aptly-named Full Circle was released in 2006, Xzibit was thanking his fans for the ride, and he had eyes for other artistic outlets.
X achieved on-screen notoriety with The Wash in 2000 and his 8 Mile cameo (even if Mike did look like a pissed-off rapper who never made it). He launched into larger movie roles with XXX: State of the Union and showed his range in the Clive Owen drama Derailed. More choice movie roles, such as The Rock’s assistant in Gridiron Gang, were to follow, but let’s be real: Everyone remembers Xzibit from the MTV mainstay, Pimp My Ride. From 2004-2009, X took cars begging for the scrap-yard and turned them into the kinds of rides rappers brag about having.
Somewhere in all of this success, excess caught up with Xzibit. The Detroit News reported that he owed nearly $1 million in federal taxes in 2010 and two filings for bankruptcy were dismissed. To rub salt in the wound, his 2012 album, Napalm, sold just 3,200 copies in its first week.
Yo dawg, if you think Xzibit was going out like that, you must have your cornrows rolled too tight. Even though an album he said was supposed to drop in 2016 never materialized, X has stayed on-screen, including a prominent role on Fox’s hit show Empire.
“I’m pretty much doing everything I want to do right now,” Xzibit told HipHopDX. “I have no complaints. Getting more into the film industry is something I’d like to do. I’m learning, still, so as soon as I’ve got everything tied up and when I feel confident enough, I’ll go ahead and step into my first major motion picture and produce it or star in it. It’s up to me.”
Scott Storch: The Piano Man
Contributions: Before he was a household name, the young fresh-faced producer Scott Storch caught the maestro’s ear and was named resident keyboardist for Dre’s comeback.
The rolling piano loop on “Still D.R.E.” was boosted in fame by Training Day (don’t lie, you bumped that shit in your ‘97 Chevy Prizm while pretending to be Alonzo Harris at least four times). However, even on its own, Storch’s keys provide for one of the most recognizable beats in Hip Hop history. He also is credited for “Big Ego’s,” on which he provides a slow piano loop for a melodramatic backdrop to Dre’s Californicated bars. Storch told DX in 2016 how momentous it was to see Snoop and Dre reunite in the studio. “The chemistry was amazing in there,” he said.
Storch scorched up the charts for the next several years, providing burners for the likes of 50 Cent, The Game, T.I., Lil Wayne and many others in Hip Hop. He also crossed over to R&B and pop, helping making hits for Mario (“Let Me Love You”) and Pink (“Family Portrait”). And who can forget the titanic Terror Squad club banger, “Lean Back”? However, Storch’s fame afforded him all the vices he could handle, and some he couldn’t. Cocaine is a hell of a drug, and despite earning Scrooge McDuck money, Storch was arrested for possession of cocaine in 2012 and filed for bankruptcy in 2015. Storch kicked the habit, though, and credits his wife, Christina Gray, with helping him stay focused. “She’s helping me become more family oriented,” he told DX. “I’m spending a lot of time with my kids. You feel good about yourself after that, and then good music gets made.”
Storch’s sobriety has him back in the game, and this year only he’s produced thumpers for Big Boi, Young Thug, and A Boogie wit da Hoodie.
The heat is back.
Mel-Man: The Unsung Hero
Contributions: The primary co-producer for one of the best albums of the West is from … Norfolk, Virginia? Actually, yes. Mel-Man co-produced every single track with Dre, save “The Message,” which was produced solo dolo by Lord Finesse.
Mel-Man hasn’t reached the Mount Olympus-like heights of the aforementioned artists, but he still carved about a pretty respectable career for himself. Rather than piggy-back off the success of 2001 or live in the glory days of that album like a 260-pound former high school quarterback, Mel-Man formed Big Cat Records in ‘99 with Marlon Rowe. The company, distributed by Tommy Boy Records and based in Atlanta, is fairly small-time. That doesn’t mean it hasn’t had its moments in the sun; Gucci Mane has moved more than 1.5 million units for the label. Mel-Man has stayed manning the production boards, supplying beats for Gucci La Flare and Young Dro. In 2012, he founded Radar Live, a sports and entertainment company which includes country artist Kurt Thomas and Christian rapper Canton Jones. Mel-Man also gives back to his community by taking part in Usher’s New Look, a non-profit organization that provides youths a 10-year leadership program.
How’s that for making your own lane?
[Editor’s Note: We’ll get to the bottom of this.]
Hittman: The MC Who Missed The Mark
Contributions: He was featured on nearly half of the album, providing especially impressive verses on “Big Ego’s” and “Xxplosive.” The former Aftermath-signee even took a solo turn on “Ackrite.”
While Hittman lent his pen to several tracks on the album, he confessed in a 2014 interview that he was initially irked that “Still D.R.E.” was written by JAY-Z.
“I was like, ‘Between me, Em, The D.O.C. and countless other in-house pens on deck, we ain’t capable of comin’ up with somethin’ for this?’” Hittman recalled. “Then I heard that they paid JAY like a hundred grand to write it, wow! Not that I have anything against JAY-Z, he’s one of the dopest of all time. But it was just the principle of havin’ an East Coast Guy pen Dre the anthem for his comeback record. That was baffling to me.”
It was all set up for Hittman to become the next big thing. “Last Dayz” was the B-side single to “Forgot About Dre,” and he was pervasively featured on one of 1999’s biggest albums. So, what went wrong? According to Hittman, Detox got in the way.
“Those who were fortunate to be around when Dre wasn’t 100 percent focused on his own album were the ones able to launch their careers,” Hittman said in an interview with Not Mad in 2014. “But those who were positioned to springboard off of a Dre album (like 2001) got lost in the shuffle. If he’s focused (on his album), all your energy is focused on helping him see his vision. Once he doesn’t have enthusiasm about what you’re doing, it wanes.”
Hittman left Aftermath and released Hittmanic Verses in 2005, which barely made any noise while another Dr. Dre protege, 50 Cent, was burning up the charts. His last release was his Big Hitt Rising EP in 2008. Though he doesn’t rap much anymore, he still produces; he made the beat for Dizzy Wright’s “Progression” in 2013.
The D.O.C: The Pen
Contributions: He received writing credits for the slow-rolling “Big Ego’s” and the raunchy “Housewife.”
The D.O.C.’s well-known story about getting into a car wreck that destroyed his voice and all but ended his promising career on the mic has to be one of the saddest in Hip Hop. But many people don’t know that the tale has a happy ending, and not just because he stayed on as a writer for Dre’s two classic albums. Following The D.O.C.’s third album, Deuce, released in 2003, and another album that never materialized, he and Snoop Dogg went to see a doctor in 2009. The D.O.C. was told that his vocal chords had in fact not been destroyed and that surgery to restore them up to 70 percent was possible.
It was around that time that The D.O.C. got into a heated argument with Dre, and the two parted ways. The D.O.C. had been working for Dre, receiving $20,000 annually for ghostwriting work on Detox and living in a house Dre put up for him. The D.O.C. admitted to LA Weekly in 2011 that he had had a drug problem, and the fact that he had never got his business affairs in order meant he didn’t receive his royalties like others around Dre did. The split with Dre allowed The D.O.C. to become his own man, and he became clean, joined Alcoholics Anonymous, got to work on getting his publishing money, and reconciled with Dre.
As for the surgery, it ultimately proved too risky. “I might not have been able to speak at all,” he told The Guardian in 2015.
That same year, The D.O.C. was performing songs he had written, and, through concentration, sounding almost like his old self. He even had expressed interest in releasing an album.
However, in 2017, The D.O.C. told HipHopDX that it still hurts to try to sound like his old self.
“I’m at a point where I’m tired of running from this (voice),” he said. “I want to embrace this one. I want to figure out what the purpose is for this one.”
Tracy Curry found his voice, not by returning to rapping, but by accepting life on life’s terms.
Knoc-Turn’al: The Other Long Beach Rapper
Contributions: Holding his own on the West Coast free-for-all “Some L.A. Niggaz” and spitting raw on “Bang Bang.”
He spoke to HipHopDX in 2011 about what a privilege it was to work with Dr. Dre, and how he felt the two bonded because Knoc never asked Dre for handouts. Once, Knoc even worked for 12 hours ghostwriting for Dre on his own birthday. The next day, Dre found out and asked him, aggravated, why Knoc never told him.
“Fuck my birthday,” Knoc told DX. “Shit, I’m writing songs with Dr. Dre!”
As Hittman proved, not everyone Dre puts on his albums goes on to have an amazing career. Knoc was no slouch, though, and like Mel-Man, he didn’t coast on the good doctor’s cosign. Rather, he opted to sign with Elektra Records, and started his own label, L.A. Confidential. Even though Knoc’s Landing, which he recorded to be his debut album, never was released, he did put out multiple projects and singles. His debut EP, L.A. Confidential, eventually went platinum. He also became the second Dr. Dre affiliate to release a single called “The Way I Am,” which featured Snoop Dogg and was produced by Scott Storch. The song was the title track to his 2004 album. Knoc’s last album was Knoc’s Ville, released in 2011, and he’s been very quiet since then.
All of that is respectable, but what Knoc-Turn’al is most often associated with is that his and Dre’s “Bad Intentions” was sampled for JAY-Z’s ill-advised “Supa Ugly” Nas diss. Knoc told DX that had to do a few shows with Nas just days after the song was released, and he found himself backstage explaining to Esco that he didn’t have any part in the record.
“It’s cool, fam,” Nas told him. “You wanna hit this blunt?”
Kurupt: The Left-Coast Lyricist
Contributions: He spit some eye-poppingly filthy lyrics on songs like “Xxplosive,” “Let’s Get High,” and “Housewife.”
Eminem included Kurupt on his list of nine best rappers on “Till I Collapse” for a reason. Tha Dogg Pound rapper can kick a mean 16 with the best of ‘em. While most of his success was in the ‘90s, he still remained a staple of consistency throughout the decade following 2001. He released three solo albums in the 2000s, including Same Day, Different Shit on fellow Dogg Pounder Daz Dillinger’s DPG Recordz. The album was released under the moniker “Young Gotti,” a nickname given to him by 2Pac.
Kurupt’s last solo album, Streetlights, was released in 2010, but he has continued to collaborate on numerous projects, most recently We Got Now and Next with Diirty OGz in 2016. And, as it turns out, Eminem is not the only great rapper who Kurupt has inspired. In 2013, Kendrick Lamar cited Kurupt as one of his main influences in an interview with The Rickey Smiley Morning Show.
“(I’m) a little bit Kurupt, ‘Pac, and some content of (Ice) Cube…I think it’s really just the West Coast influence, truthfully,” Kung-fu Kenny admitted.
Now that’s impactful.
Eddie Griffin: The Comedian
Contributions: In 1999, two things were obnoxiously trendy: Pokemon, and rappers overloading their albums with skits. Fortunately, Andre Young knew what he was doing with breaks in the action, and enlisted funnyman Eddie Griffin to provide some outrageous, twisted comedy on the interludes “Bar One” and “Ed-Ucation.”
Griffin was already a well-known comedian when 2001 came out, but he became even bigger with the release of the 2002 action-comedy Undercover Brother and 2003’s Scary Movie 3. Even as he blew up in the realm of film, he never forgot Hip Hop. He appeared in Bow Wow’s “Take Ya Home” music video and hopped on skits for Xzibit and T-Pain. Griffin showed he could be more than just a jokester, too, with a supporting role in 2002’s John Q. He released two comedy albums, Freedom of Speech (2008) and You Can Tell ‘Em I Said It (2011).
Griffin also notoriously jumped to the defense of Bill Cosby not long after the rape allegations against Cosby began piling up. In an interview with Vlad TV, he credited Cosby with donating money to colleges and said racism was a factor in trying to blemish his name.
“The motherfucker was so generous with his money, he bought some colleges, colleges,” he said. “And then some pussy is supposed to tear that down.”
A deadlocked jury resulted in a mistrial for Bill Cosby earlier this year, but more than 50 women have accused Cosby of sexual assault. Maybe Griffin can poke fun at himself for his outrageous comments in his next comedy special.
Lord Finesse: The Third Element
Contributions: One of the most important elements of any great artist is to know when they can use an outside touch. Even a genius like Dr. Dre was humble enough to realize that there was someone else who could provide the backdrop for “The Message,” which was Dre’s monologue with God about his late brother, Tyree. He found that someone in Lord Finesse, the East Coast legend and only producer not named Mel-Man to get a production credit besides Dre. The track’s melancholy piano keys perfectly underscore Dre’s pain.
Like Kurupt, Finesse’s decade of excellence was the ‘90s. In fact, though he released three albums from 1990-96, he hasn’t released one in more than two decades. He has popped up only occasionally, though he probably would have done more producing had his Diggin’ in the Crates collaborator Big L not been killed in ‘99.
Finesse is best known to millennials for suing Rostrum Records and DatPiff over Mac Miller’s sample of Finesse’s “Hip 2 Da Game” on Miller’s 2010 track “Kool-Aid and Frozen Pizza” (The lawsuit was settled for an undisclosed amount in 2013). Still, Finesse remains plugged into the culture, not only with his active Twitter presence but also by the endless love that pours in from his peers and those who came after him. Last month, Mass Appeal ranked him No. 16 on its list of the top 25 rapper-producers. No. 1 was Q-Tip. Not bad company to be in.
Six 2: The Fort Worth OG
Contributions: Adding nasally-voiced distinction to guttural cuts “Xxplosive” and “Bitch Niggaz.”
If there ever was a rapper who defined the term “15 Minutes of Fame,” it might just be Six 2. While “I got these freaky hoes clappin’ they hands, stompin’ they feet” on “Xxplosive” might be one of the most outstanding starts to a verse ever, he never made good on the promise of that single bar. Yes, he appeared on multiple tracks on The D.O.C.’s Deuce, released the awesomely-titled Mac-A-Roni and G’s in 2005, and dropped Affiliated three years later. However, much of his success was in helping others get (or rather, stay) famous.
He has ghostwritten for not only Dre, but also Timbaland and The Pussycat Dolls. The spotlight may have alluded him but he made sure that bitch stayed shinin’.
MC Ren: The Day 1 Homie
Contributions: If Dr. Dre was going to stage a return to form, he was going to need to get back to basics. Nothing is more grounding than inviting those who started your journey with you to the party. Dre enlisted fellow N.W.A member MC Ren to perfectly intro “Some L.A Niggaz” for others to tear to shreds. That’s exactly what Ren did, proving once again why it’s foolish to underrate him.
A year after 2001 dropped, another N.W.A cohort, Ice Cube, recruited Dre and Ren for “Hello” off his album, War & Peace Vol. 2. The dedicated Ren joined the Up In Smoke Tour just to rap his verse on the song. He stayed active in entertainment, producing, writing and directed the straight-to-DVD movie Lost in the Game. He also hopped on “Hard Truth Soldiers” and “Raw Shit” for Public Enemy’s 2006 album, Rebirth of a Nation. In 2009, he released Renincarnated, which moved a little more than 3,000 units. He tweeted in July that he’s still working on his Rebel Music EP, to be released on his record label, Villain Entertainment.
In 2015, Straight Outta Compton hit theaters. As usual, MC Ren was shoved to the back and the light went to Dre, Ice Cube and Eazy-E. Ren tweeted that he thought the cast and crew did a “great job of telling our story,” but also said his role in the group was misrepresented. “True fans know my role in the group as far as lyrics are concerned,” Ren tweeted. “Don’t let the movie fool you about my contribution to the group.”
Anyone who has ever heard Ren rhyme couldn’t possibly have a misconception about his value to N.W.A.
Mike Elizondo: The Bass
Contributions: Strumming some licks here and there.
Where would 2001, arguably the most potently produced Hip Hop album ever, be without bass? Can imagine driving around in the car to a bassless Xxplosive? GET. THE. FUCK. OUTTA. HERE. That’s like watching the cable TV version of Scarface. Elizondo, the musical juggernaut who makes every genre his bitch, is not credited with writing any songs but was the in-house bass player for 2001.
What has Elizondo done since then? Oh, not much, besides creating utter brilliance in pop, R&B/Soul, Hip Hop, indie-rock and heavy metal, just to name a few. He also co-wrote “The Real Slim Shady,” co-produced Em, Dre and Fif’s “Encore,” and was an integral part of this one song called “In Da Club.” He’s made music for Maroon 5, Alanis Morissette, Natasha Bedingfield, and Avenged Sevenfold.
So, you know, not a whole lot.
Hey-eyyy, all you that thought we were gonna leave the late, great Nate Dogg out, take a seea-aattt.
Nate Dogg: The Hook Zen Master
Contributions: If you were a West Coast rapper in the ‘90s, you really weren’t shit if you didn’t have a Nate Dogg hook. That’s because Nate was the king of the chorus, the royal refrainer, the man who deserves the head chair at the table in the hall of hooks. Dr. Dre recognized this, of course, and had Nate Dogg bless him with the unforgettable coda of “The Next Episode.” Not to mention his infectious crooning on “Xxplosive.”
Nate was more than just a guy who hopped on a track and sang a little ditty, though. His 2001 album Music & Me sold 400,000 copies. Even though his final album, Nate Dogg, received little attention, that was in part due to bootlegging and also because of a lack of promotion from Elektra Records (the album was initially only available in digital form at a time when physical copies still reigned supreme).
Meanwhile, Nate still dominated the hook game. He provided treadmill jockeys a hype-up anthem with Eminem’s “Till I Collapse” and helped 50 Cent show off his soft side on “21 Questions.” Following a Grammy nomination for “The Next Episode,” he received Grammy nods for Ludacris’ “Area Codes” and Eminem’s “Shake That.”
Nate Dogg was not without a dark side — he pled guilty to trespassing and battery in 2008 stemming from an incident in 2007 in which he violated his restraining order. Around this time, he suffered multiple strokes. In 2011, he died at the age of 41 from complications following his strokes. In his time on earth, though, he was a legendary singer whose personal touch made classics for multiple generations in Hip Hop.