VIDEO: Snoop Dogg & Others Pay Tribute To Nate Dogg
The annual “Respect The West” show at SXSW in Austin, TX is usually chock full of the finest talent the West Coast has to offer. This year was no different with artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Pac Div, TiRon, Dom Kennedy and others filling out the lineup. But this year’s show—thrown by VIBE House and Cashmere Agency—took on a new life after the passing of legendary G-Funk crooner Nate Dogg last week. With Warren G and The Dogg Pound already on the bill, what was expected to be an amazing show became a moment in hip-hop history.
With the anticipation of the show reaching a ridiculous high prior to the doors opening, things got even more hectic as word spread around town Snoop Dogg was flying in to take part of the epic West Coast performance. SXSW badge holders, fans, journalists and artists flooded the venue once the doors opened and were treated to a bevy of performances all paying homage to Nate Dogg in some kind of way, but nothing would prepare them for what was about to take place as the clock closed in on 1 a.m.
“It’s just special to be part of something like this,” Kendrick Lamar told us after he performed with Jay Rock and Schoolboy Q earlier in the night. “[Nate Dogg] will always be a legend.”
Other artists such as Pac Div, Shawn Chrystopher and Skeme also chimed in on the significance Nate Dogg had on the West Coast and the G-Funk era. Even though Kanye West was set to perform not too far away at the VEVO show, a healthy crowd stuffed Venue 222 from the floor to the upstairs VIP area as everyone from Rap Radar’s Elliot Wilson and Houston’s Devi Dev from 97.9 The Box to Sha Money XL waited to bear witness to the Nate Dogg tribute.
As a collection of journalists and artists gathered backstage and shared their memories of Nate Dogg and discussed their anticipation for the headlining act, security notified everyone to clear the hallway. Warren G, Kurupt, Daz and Soopafly strolled in followed by the one and only Snoop Dogg. With the collective that defined the sound of the West Coast in the early 90s draped in white t-shirts adorned with an image of the late crooner filing in, you could feel both sadness and excitement hover the backstage area like a cloud of chronic smoke.
Snoop immediately retreated into a private area surrounded by security as Warren G walked into the green room to discuss Nate Dogg with the small amount of press allowed backstage. With Kurupt and Daz talking song choices and order (mind you, this show was literally thrown together at the last minute), Warren G peered from behind his glasses and uttered to the MTV cameras, “I honestly don’t know how this is going to turn out.” You could sense the struggle that Warren was dealing with. All of the memories, songs and recalling how this was not just a fellow musician he lost; Nate Dogg was like a brother. But it was showtime as a cloud of smoke followed Kurupt, Daz, Soopafly and Warren G to the backstage area.
Posted up on a wall, Daz inhaled the lingering smoke from his blunt as he addressed how much this show meant for his fallen friend.
“It was just so unexpected,” Daz told us right before he hit the stage with Kurupt. “We’re just going to rock this right now and show everybody how we do it for Nate Dogg.”
The Dogg Pound opened things up with classics from their Dogg Food album to warm up the crowd right before Snoop hit the stage. It was almost like a movie as Snoop descended down the steps backstage, leaving a trail of smoke in his wake. The crowd erupted as the surprise guest joined his former Death Row family and got the tribute into high gear as they ripped through “Let’s Play House.” Shortly after, they were joined by Warren G and rocked the house with the classic “Ain’t No Fun (If The Homies Can’t Have None).” The crowd provided all of Nate Dogg’s cameo vocals while everyone on stage grooved in appreciation. It was an instant reminder of how much Nate Dogg meant to the West Coast, as songs like “Xxplosive” and the classic “Regulator” blasted through the speakers. With the crowd in a frenzy and the clock nearing 2 a.m., the crew closed the show with “The Next Episode.” As the weed smoke created a fog, the audience chimed in on one of Nate Dogg’s most famous lines: “Hey, hey, hey, hey…smoke weed every day!”
It was a fitting tribute to a man whose voice will always be remembered for helping shape California’s hip-hop movement. One of the greatest hook masters of all time was sent off the only proper way his friends knew how to—with music. He’ll forever be missed.