LOS ANGELES — The spirit and music of hip-hop hook messiah Nathaniel "Nate Dogg" Hale was alive and strong at the 2011 DUB car show and concert on Sunday at Los Angeles Convention Center. Thousands of fans flocked to the trendy downtown district to catch a glimpse of the city's elite toys, brought out by automobile connoisseurs as well as a number of high-profile rappers, including Lupe Fiasco, the Game, Lazy Bone and Waka Flocka Flame.
The show took place the day after the funeral for Nate Dogg, who died two weeks ago following complications of two strokes. And though it wasn't an official memorial to the Long Beach singer, his music was celebrated during friend DJ Quik's set. The producer introduced Nate's son Nigel for a performance of his dad's smash record "Regulate."
"It's just a lot of positive energy in there, man," said Power 106 radio host Big Boy, who also spoke at Nate's funeral. "Of course, yesterday it was Nate's memorial service and that was Nate's 15-year-old son right there. It's paying homage, man. We shared Nate Dogg with everyone around the world, so it's definitely up to us to make sure that we honor him. He opened up a lot of doors, man; he gave the world a lot of music. He loved where he was from and we loved him. It's like our honor and duty to make sure that we continue to honor him."
Snoop Dogg's longtime mentor, Archbishop Don Magic Juan, also reflected on Nate Dogg's legacy. "One thing about it is, we gonna miss our hook man," Bishop said. "But we know he up in glory, doing some hooks for the lord. He gonna be at a better place. So we're thankful that we had the time to enjoy with Nate. That's what we should remember, the time with Nate. Not the time that he's gone. We gonna continue to uplift him. He gonna continue to live, not only in music but in our spirits. Snoop Dogg fainted at the funeral, right by his casket, but we can understand that 'cause that's what they call a real homeboy."
While Nate's passing was a consistent theme highlighted by patrons — some wore "R.I.P. Nate Dogg" shirts, and his music blared throughout the convention center — another West Coast legend was also remembered at the car show.
"We came out here to honor Eazy-E and his legendary legacy," said Bone Thugs N Harmony's Lazy Bone. "[I] came out here for Eazy-E, Nate Dogg and everybody just to tell them, 'Rest in peace.' It's been 16 years yesterday since Eazy-E passed. He gave us all this opportunity. We at the DUB Show, and I don't think it would be poppin' without Eazy, Eric Wright."
The showroom was packed wall to wall with jaw-dropping vehicles, ranging from an Escalade with "suicide" doors emblazoned with animations of the Hulk to a 1969 Chevrolet with a cut-out back that served as one half of a hot dog stand, and dozens of trophies were handed out to the auto stakeholders at the end of the event. As the cars exited the venue, the consensus was that the show's unofficial tribute to Nate Dogg was just the first of many events in his honor.
"Nate's legacy is gonna continue, 'cause Nate made great music, man," Big Boy said. "We got so many anthems, and there's so many people — not just with the music, but people that loved Nate — that's still here to make sure that we grab that banner and keep running up that mountaintop for him."