Who was the go-to hook singer for just about anyone who made a rap record for about a decade starting in 1994? Nate Dogg. Born Nathaniel Hale, the monotone crooner with the most expressionless face in pop music history went from being a classmate and groupmate of Snoop Dogg and Warren G. in 213 to a man that was capable of challenging Mary J. Blige for most appearances singing the chorus of rap records. Starting with his first truly memorable performance on Snoop’s “Ain’t No Fun (If the Homies Can’t Have None” back in ’93, Nate rang up hooks as dependably as your postal worker brought the mail, collaborating with not only his homeboys like Snoop, Warren, Dre, Xzibit and Eminem, but also providing hooks for Ludacris, Fabolous, Mos Def and Jadakiss, among a host of others. Even after being slowed down by a pair of strokes, Nate made appearances as recently as 2009’s “Holiday” with Twista.

R.I.P. Nate Dogg-hip-hop’s secret weapon.

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