With all due respect to the rest of the West, there’s only one MC that could pay the proper musical tribute to the late great Nate Dogg and that’s Snoop Dogg. Nate’s longtime friend and collaborator took the stage Saturday night (March 19) at the Pepsi Max South by Southwest Festival Lot and dedicated his showcase, Snoop Dogg’s Funk N Soul Extravaganza, to the memory of the G-Funk crooner, who passed away last Tuesday due to complications from multiple strokes.
Uncle Snoop, Warren G, Daz and Kurupt of Tha Dogg Pound, guest singer Mayer Hawthorne and a live band all graced the stage wearing “RIP Nate Dogg” t-shirts. Although The Doggfather started his 90-minute set off with “I Wanna Rock,” when the beat for “The Next Episode” blared through the speakers, the crowd seemed made sure to show their support when Nate’s verse was cued up. A sea of hands rocking from side to side and fans singing the refrain seemed like the perfect way to remember a man heralded for minting his hip-hop hooks.
Snoop continued his lyrical assault on his vast catalog with “Kush,” “Gangsta Luv” and “Bitch Please,” which was another opportunity to pay homage to Nate.
Keeping the musical memorial going with 2pac’s “Hail Mary” and Notorious B.I.G.’s “Hypnotize,” which to everyone’s surprise was the moment that Diddy emerged, who hit the stage wearing the same Nate Dogg R.I.P. tee as the rest of the crew. Diddy remained onstage to sing along to “Ain’t No Fun (If the Homies Can’t Have None)“ from Snoop’s classic debut, Doggystyle.
The biggest tribute moment was left for Warren G, who stepped front and center to perform his joint hit with Nate, “Regulate.” The multitude sang the hook with a heightened fervor and excitement that seemed to stamp an exclamation point on the indelible mark the crooner left on hip-hop and R&B.
Snoop then rounded things to a close with “Sensual Seduction,” “Beautiful,” and the debut single that started it all, “Who Am I? (What’s My Name?),” before exiting stage right to perform at other SXSW events around Austin, Texas that were certainly to be centered on remembering and celebrating the legacy of his fallen brother. —Maurice Bobb
Video and photos from the event, courtesy of Pepsi Max.