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'Idol' Contestant -- The Nate Dogg Connection

3/16/2011 3:59 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Years before Jacob Lusk became a finalist on "American Idol" ... he formed a very special relationship with the one and only Nate Dogg -- a bond, TMZ has learned, that formed in an L.A. gospel choir.


Sources tell TMZ, Jacob auditioned for the gospel group called "InNate Praise" in 2007 -- formed by Nate himself -- and he ended up landing the part ... and we're told, it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

According to sources, Jacob and Nate's relationship blossomed over the next two years ... as Jacob performed with the group at churches around L.A. County.

In the video -- shot back in 2007 -- Nate and Jacob are both hanging out in Nate's studio in North Hollywood. Earlier today, Jacob tweeted the following about Nate's death:


As we previously reported, Nate passed away yesterday -- and his family believes his death was caused by complications stemming from two strokes he suffered over the last few years.


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1325 days ago


@ 11 Who did he rape, shoot, buy drugs from, or kill? Since you are such an expert on his life.

1325 days ago

Davey Boy    

There are far too many people who "screech" through their songs and this dude is one of them. SING the damn song, dude. This guy and Pia get on my nerves.

1325 days ago


Iam so upset the Nate I gone. there was very few rapper back in the day that I like and Nate was one of them. He was just wonderful. I want to let the family know I will be praying for them. I know what it feels like to lose a love one.

1325 days ago


wow that report sounded so gay.

1325 days ago

Snoski Roc    

I hope we all laugh at your deaths when they occur you *******s.

Long Beach represent! Rest In Paradise Big Nate Dogg!!!

1325 days ago


RIP! Thank you for all your music. We’ll miss you.

Everyone, please help add to the memorial of Nate Dogg my friend created:

1325 days ago


Well if you love him honor him by winning American Idol and you can do that by stopping singing a God Damn Gospel Song every time you idiot.

1325 days ago


#25 ,
"Nate Dogg was arrested in Arizona in April 2002 and was charged with firearms and drug offenses.[5] He pleaded guilty in May 2002 and was subsequently sentenced to probation and community service.[6] He was also ordered to attend drug counseling sessions.[6]
"In case you were considering this course of action, think it through first - it's probably not the best idea to chase your girlfriend / fiancee / wife down I-405, repeatedly telling her you're gonna kill her."
"Dogg was arrested on April 18, 2002 after police stopped his tour bus for speeding and searched it after smelling marijuana. They found marijuana and two pistols, one that had been reported stolen. Dogg later pleaded guilty to the drug possession and all other charges were dropped. He received a fine of $4,400, one year probation, 24 hours of community service and eight hours of drug treatment. This was not his first brush with the law."
"In June 2000, he was arrested in Pomona, CA after he held his girlfriend against her will inside her home, then allegedly assaulted her, and torched her mother's car. Charges were dropped after his girlfriend refused to testify. He also received a gun possession charge when police discovered a gun in his house at the time of his arrest.
He pleaded guilty to the gun possession charge and all other charges were dropped. He was fined and placed on three years probation.

"Many popular rappers, in particular West Coast rappers, have close ties to Crips gangs in L.A. County. Snoop Dogg is a former member of the Rollin' 20 Crips in Long Beach (as are Warren G, Nate Dogg,"

oh, yeah, and the lyrics of Shake That warms my heart, too.

What was your question again?

1324 days ago


man, i dont know bout dis comment page. such disrespect for the dead by name calling and da "good riddance" crap. what the hell was the page long rap sheet of nate dogg? so what? this country is fool of hardened, selfish, disrespectful, ignorant idiots. a man has died. a family has lost nate, their loved one. man, back the hell off da dude.

1324 days ago


so sad, nate was one of most original voices in hip hop. i stopped watching idol years ago so don't know bout all da "idol" crap but i feel bad for the young man. they mustve been close.

1324 days ago


Reading through TMZ comment pages never fails to disgust me. Even the loss of a human life is not enough for you ignorant, racist pricks to keep your disrespectful comments to yourselves.

But alas, stay behind the comfort and security of your computer screens and comment away because at the end of the day, you're far too spineless to voice any of these "opinions" out in public.

1324 days ago


Jacob Lusk has a wonderful voice and seems like a nice, spiritual person on American Idol. I didn't know Nate Dogg or his music but if he was friends with Jacob Lusk, that means something. RIP, Nate Dogg.

1324 days ago

Bandana Black    

To all of you keyboard "gangsters" who wanna disrespect the dead. We know that your nothing but a bunch of white-bread suburbean sheltered nerds who never seen the parts of anything real. This is why you cowards sit in your living rooms, feeling safe to make racist and arrogant comments. The web is full of yall. See me in real life,,.,in Long Beach California 360... fourth street near the corner of fourth and Atlantic. NONE of YALL would pop this stuff! NONE. I garantee!

1324 days ago

Bandana Black    

Long before there was a T-pain, or a Akon, there was a voice that could be heard with hevy rotation, on every station, across the nation. Nate Dogg was the T-Pain of his era. Although not as sucessful on his own solo projects, it was garanteed that if you put this mans voice on your tracks, it was gonna blow up. As time goes on, it will dawn on people as to how many songs this man was actualy on. The whole LBC is gonna party tonight. Last stop at the eastside motel,...heaven with clouds of green smoke in the air. RIP DPG!

1324 days ago
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