RIP, Nate Dogg. As I'm sure most of you know by now, hiphop's all-time-greatest hook man (and if not him, who then? TJ Swan?) has passed away. Reports and common sense say that his death was due to complications from the three strokes he suffered a few years ago. What's fucked-up is that it was recently reported that Long Beach's Dogg Pound Gangsta Crip with the honey-butter voice was actually making progress in his recovery. He was 41, only 10 years older than I am, far too young, which we always seem to say when we lose our legends—and make no mistake, Nate was just that. As part of 213 with his childhood friends Snoop and Warren G, he was an integral part of a new generation of West Coast artists who smoothed out the ferocious gangsta rap Dr. Dre pioneered with NWA. Nate's work on The Chronic brought forth a new sort of pop archetype, the gangsta crooner, which was recycled and bit relentlessly to this day. (Butch Cassidy, I see you.) Nate's gospel upbringing brought the Ghost into even the most salacious of hits (who else could have a clubful of girls screaming along to "And you even licked my balls"?), but gave his more meditative moments (such as one of my all-time Nate songs, "Friends" off of the slept-on double disc G-Funk Classics, Vol. 1) a slow, spiritual sway that could be heartbreakingly tender. He will certainly be missed, especially by his homeboys—and people will be singing his words forever (unless grandma's around, that is). RIP, Dogg, RIP.
If you haven't noticed, the South End's premier venue, the Columbia City Theater, has become a hotbed of the earnest, beardy folk that is as hot as wool sweaters and funny little Civil War– reenactment caps—however, the club's still smuggling in some top-notch hiphop and has found much success with Dyme Def in particular, throwing Fearce, S.E.V., and Brainstorm into wild mixed bills. These musical worlds collide on Friday, March 25, at the CCT as Dyme Def headline a show with a couple members of shit-hot local folkies Ravenna Woods pulling support. Get your two-set on, but do it sincerely! Also: Check for the leaks and videos DD and BeanOne have been steady dropping, such as "Mega Man," the crunchy eight-bit number that came out last week.
Wednesday, March 30 (Jesus fucking Christ, it's spring already), brings Talib Kweli to Showbox at the Market. I know I've slagged off Talib's weak flow and all in the past, but I am appreciating the kind of over-it swagger that he's using as he gets older. I hear Grynch is opening up—what a jerk.
In all seriousness, though, my thoughts and prayers are with the people of Japan, and all of my friends and family with friends or family there during this horrible destruction. We're witnessing some intense shit in our lifetime. Sometimes, I think these are the times they talked about once, but I don't really think it's the end. All I know is we need to hold tight, especially to one another.