July 21, 1998
Nate Dogg released his debut studio album, G-Funk Classics, Vol. 1 & 2, through Breakaway Records in 1998. Originally, the album was supposed to be released by Death Row Records in 1995-1996, but was shelved due to legal problems within the label. Due to the delay in release, the release is a double album instead of originally just being volume 1.
By that time the album was released, the popularity of West Coast hip hop had greatly diminished and it only managed to peak at #58 on the Billboard 200 and #20 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. The album, however, did produce two top 40 singles. “Never Leave Me Alone”, which was released in 1996 and “Nobody Does It Better”, which featured Warren G and became Nate Dogg’s biggest hit as a solo artist.
G-Funk Classics, Vol. 1 & 2 is another unfortunate example of how record labels can suppress an artist’s true capabilities; as Nate Dogg is one of, if not the, greatest hip hop hook artists off all time. Had this album released when it was supposed to, it might have been just what it claims: a g-funk classic. Regardless, Nate Dogg evolved into a special niche in hip hop, and will forever be remembered for his jazzy, low voice over numerous classics. RIP (1969-2011)