Thousands gathered at 10 a.m. on Saturday to pay their last respects at Nate Dogg's funeral, held at the Long Beach Cruise Terminal. The event was supposed to be open to the public, but was limited to 1,000 attendees on Friday morning due to security reasons.
Fans and friends were bused from the Long Beach City College parking lot to the Queen Mary dome to pay their respects to Nate Dogg, whose real name was Nathaniel Hale. There, the Hale family and rap royalty such as Snoop Dogg, Warren G, Xzibit, Dr. Dre, Tha Dogg Pound, DJ Quik and The Game attended a program that paid tribute to the legendary Nate Dogg.
It was an emotional program that emphasized Nate Dogg's life beyond his contribution to popular music. Known to his family as Buddy, the funeral officiant said Hale did not get his melodic chops at Poly High School, where he met Snoop Dogg and Warren G and where the trio formed the pioneering West Coast rap group 213.
Hale's father was a pastor in Mississippi, and as a child, he sang in choirs with his five siblings before he became known as the “King of Hooks.”
In 2007, he went back to his gospel roots and formed InNate Praise, a group of handpicked singers that performed gospel songs he'd written. They were on-hand to perform in between remembrances by family, collaborators and friends.
Two services were originally scheduled: a funeral at 10
a.m. and a musical celebration at 7 p.m. The second event was
canceled on Friday night, and the musical numbers were performed after the eulogy by Pastor Michael Fisher of the Greater Zion Church Family.
1. Warren G
Warren G was so overcome by emotion he could hardly speak when he came onstage. His voice broke as he said, “It hurts me so much to see this–y'all gotta excuse me. We've been through so much; he stayed down with me from the bottom to the top. I never thought I'd be at a funeral for one of my dogs. Me and Snoop and Nate . . . we were balls to the wall in everything we did. I'm gonna miss him and love him forever and ride with him forever.”
2. Snoop Dogg
“What a friend I had in Nate,” Snoop said, recounting the story of how, as a high-school senior, Nate Dogg loaned him money to rent a tux and a hotel room, plus his brand-new car, so Snoop could go to prom in style.
“Music brought us together,” he said. “He was a loving, caring individual, a God-fearing individual. He took church melodies and flipped it with hip-hop. It was still God's work, and it was a testimony of how he was brought up. I was blessed to know Nate Dogg, hang with Nate Dogg, roll with Nate Dogg.”
“Nate Dogg raised me since I was 18; he, Snoop, Warren G and RBX taught me and Daz everything we know. Music was his heart and soul. Without music, there is no us.”
4. LaTonia Hale-Watkins
Hale-Watkins told stories of growing up in Mississippi with her brother: “Who would've thought we were in the midst of celebrity when we were growing up? Who would've thought a country boy from Mississippi would've touched so many lives?” The Hale family has suffered numerous losses in recent months, and she regretted not spending more time with her brother. “If nothing else,” she said, “tell your family you love them right now so you don't regret not spending time with them.”
5. Big Boy
The Power 106 DJ said he was honored to have pressed play on so many tracks that Nate Dogg sang on. “It ain't a hit until Nate Dogg spit,” he said.