Remembering Nate Dogg: A Long Beach Legend

Last week West Coast hook legend Nathaniel "Nate Dogg" Hale passed away after a long battle with the effects of suffering two massive strokes over the years.

Nate Dogg introduced a hybrid style of singing and rapping, parlaying his signature voice and flow on various records with acts such as the iconic Snoop Dogg and fellow group member Warren G along with other notable acts such as Eminem and Mos Def. Nate became a reliable choice for guest appearances on some of the most high-profile rap records.

Today (March 25), family and friends remembered the man who put his G-Funk stamp on the genre. He will never be forgotten. Nate was truly one of the best to do it and his vast catalog of work speaks for itself.

From the world famous VIP Record Store on Martin Luther King Ave and Pacific Coast Highway to the New Hope Baptist Church just blocks down the street where hundreds of family, friends and fans gathered to pay their respects to Nate Dogg it was apparent that the legendary crooner, who along with Snoop Dogg, Daz, DJ Battlecat, Warren G and more all put the LBC on the map, clearly never forgot their hometown roots.

The parking lot of the VIP Record store was littered with Rest In Peace T-Shirts that read "You Will Be Missed" and close friends such as Daz was seen hugging members of Nate's family, including his cousin Dee Dee who was emotionally distraught over Nate's death. Just inside VIP Records, which now doubles as a Bail Bonds location, was where all the magic happened.

It was producer and DJ Sir Jinx who was scheming on a then young Dr. Dre's MPC, that convinced the now owner of VIP to purchase studio equipment that Snoop, Nate and the rest of the Dogg Pound gang all used to record their first vocals in a back room. Fast forward years later, Nate and crew would go on to become one of the world's biggest collective of musicians selling millions of records.

VIP Records has seen tons of celebrities at their earlier years come through often to spark their careers. For example, a Young Eazy E sold N.W.A. tapes out of his car in this same location. The record store is a seen as a historic landmark. According to the store owner and mentor to Nate Dogg, VIP will be shutting it's doors soon due to the financially strapped record industry that no longer pays enough dividends to keep the lights on.

Not far from VIP, Nate spent his last days at his mother Miss Ruth's home recovering from two strokes that left him paralyzed on one side of his body and speechless. Although Nate was no longer mobile, his spirits remained high according to a number of friends who frequently visited him up until his last breath.

One man who referred to himself as Nate's "healer" worked closely with the singer's mother to create finances to help decrease the symptoms the stroke placed upon him. A few notable Hip-Hop artists also vowed to donate finances but the promises were never fulfilled. Involved with helping to create multi-platinum selling records, Nate Dogg passed away with mounting medical bills left for his family to deal with.

Gone but not forgotten, locals say Nate's voice will never die. And according to the number of cars packing the VIP parking lot all playing their respective Nate Dogg records out of their booming speakers, it'd be hard to argue.

His music will forever live on.