The Rap-Up: R.I.P. Nate Dogg

Here’s a quick round-up of noteworthy happenings in the rap world throughout the last week. The loss of rap’s most famous singer, a potential assassination attempt and a tribute to the birthplace of rap make the list this time.

Long Beach’s Finest: Nate Dogg Dies

The rap game lost its No. 1 hook master March 15, when Nate Dogg died due to congestive heart failure. Complications from the singer’s previous strokes, which he suffered in 2007 and in 2008, contributed to his death, according to reports.

I first interviewed Nate Dogg in 1998 and met up with him several times during the next several years. Although his persona as a singer was larger than life, he was a laid-back guy who seemed to enjoy letting his more famous collaborators, most notably Snoop Dogg, enjoy the crush of attention from fans and media when they would appear together.

But there’s no denying that some of rap’s most famous artists clamored to work with Nate Dogg, as evidenced by his memorable collaborations with Eminem (“Shake That,” “’Till I Collapse”), Dr. Dre (“The Next Episode”), 50 Cent (“21 Questions”), Ludacris (“Area Codes”) and Fabolous (“Can’t Deny It”).

Of course this is an abbreviated list, as Nate Dogg appeared on dozens on songs during the last 15-plus years. With Nate Dogg gone, the rap game has lost some of its soul.

Wyclef Jean Shot In Haiti

In 2004, Wyclef Jean released “President,” a song in which he imagined himself as president. In the song, the former Fugees frontman said he’d get elected on Friday, assassinated on Saturday, buried on Sunday and back to work on Monday.

While visiting his native Haiti during the country’s presidential elections over the weekend, Jean was reportedly shot in the hand. Now, there are conflicting reports about whether or not Jean was actually shot Saturday March 19.

A police chief in Haiti later said that Jean was not shot, while other reports have said that he was cut with a piece of glass and is using the alleged shooting in order to drum up media coverage. Regardless of what happened, Jean certainly has gotten a bump in media.

The last several months have been tumultuous for Jean, who in 2010 declared his presidency for Haiti, only to have the country’s electoral commission rule him ineligible to run because he was not a resident of the country.

Regardless of whether or not Jean was shot, he has brought more awareness and positive news coverage to Haiti than anyone else during the last 20 years, and for that he should be saluted.

Trinity Gives The Bronx Gets Another Anthem

The Bronx was the birthplace of hip-hop culture, something the Trinity champions throughout its thumping new single.

The trio – AG (of Showbiz & AG), Sadat X (of Brand Nubian) and DJ Jab (owner of Fat Beats) – pays homage to the borough, shouting out an assortment of sport, music and film figures who were raised in or became famous while residing in the Boogie Down.

Rap fans longing for music whose sound and feel echo the Golden Era of Rap should eagerly await Trinity’s debut album, which is slated to arrive later this year.

For more from Soren Baker follow him on Twitter: @SorenBaker

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