On Sunday, March 31st, news hit that Rapper, Nipsey Hussle, was shot six times outside The Marathon Store that he opened in L.A. in 2017. My immediate reaction was that he was going to be fine. Rappers get shot or shot at and are able to miraculously pull through, and I already knew that Nipsey would be one of the lucky ones; But the world was stunned with the unexpected passing at only 33 years old rapper and father.
Nipsey Hussle was widely respected in the hip-hop world, not just for his musical contributions but for the hustle ethic and mission to educate people in the black community about financial independence, health, and the downfall of gang violence. He overcame the obstacles of an unforgiving environment, made famous by generations of West Coast rap legends, to become one of the most beloved and inspirational figures within the culture.
Being raised in the tough streets of South Central, L.A. Nipsey eventually became a member of the Rollin 60’s, a sector of the Crip street gang. Yet he rose to prominence by legitimizing his street hustle and using that entrepreneurial drive to create economic empowerment in his marginalized community.
When it came to music, Nipsey’s name started to make rounds around the industry when he separated from his label, Epic Records, and became independent by selling his second mixtape, Crenshaw, from the trunk of his car. At a time when many artists were being told by the industry to give their music away for free, Nipsey went the other way. Jay-Z, one of many fans he won over with his music and marketing savvy, bought 100 copies of the mixtape, and It became the model for his career as a self-starter. When he returned to a major label, it would be in partnership with his independent label, All Money In.
His 2018 album, Victory Lap, earned him a Grammy nomination for best rap album. But most importantly, was praised by critics and fans alike.
Towards the end of his life, Nipsey was working on a documentary on the controversial Herbalist, Dr. Sebi, who claimed to have the cure for HIV/Aids.
Nipsey Hussle was more than just a rapper. He was a man that not only used his words to spread knowledge but backed it up with his actions. Nipsey Hussle may be gone in spirit, but the gems that he dropped and the influence that he has had on young black males will forever live on.