The energy of the internet has had a collective shift over the past couple of days due to the passing of Nipsey Hussle. A leader in the West Coast rap scene, Hussle was an artist with the mentality of a businessman. With a career that spans 14 years he told his story through his music and the elevation of his career gradually rose with each project that dropped and every strategic business move he made. March 31st, Sunday afternoon Hussle was fatally shot in front of his The Marathon Clothing store by Eric Holder. On Tuesday LAPD Chief Michael Moore reported, “Mr. Holder walked up on multiple occasions and engaged in a conversation with Nipsey and the others that were there. He left and subsequently came back armed with a handgun, and purposefully and repeatedly fired, striking and killing Nipsey Hussle.”
Death is never easy to handle but when the cause is unjustified, the aftermath is sobering and every party involved has to reflect on the life that was lost and the life they have to keep living. The outpouring of love and support Nipsey’s partner Lauren London and his family have received has been boundless and will continue long after Holder’s fate has been decided and our “fast food type” news driven society moves on to the next headline. But this article isn’t a digital condolences card for the internet. Nipsey Hussle’s death is so much bigger than rap. When the Grammy nominated star released his influential eighth mixtape Crenshaw on October 8, 2013, the limited first edition of 1,000 copies were sold for $100 each, shifting how people valued mixtapes. In a era where countless mixtapes where being dropped on Datpiff and Soundcloud daily, Nipsey figured out how to stand out from the crowd, build his own blueprint and start a multiple ventures in his career that only got more lucrative over time.
When listening to Hussle’s music he unpacked every chapter of his reality. From being a Crip in the Rolling 60’s, legitimizing his business moves with the Marathon Clothing line to investing in tech coworking spaces and real estate. Hussle’s West Coast roots and African, Eritrean background influenced his outlook on life. Even in early interviews the Victory Lap mogul didn’t narrow his focus on what life had to offer him. When you live the life that is rapped about in your songs… death feels inevitable so it’s essential that the legacy an artist leaves can impact generations to come.
Some think Hip Hop was the cause of this untimely death. When songs “glorifying” drugs and violence are the staple of the genre, it’s inevitable that those stories play out in real life. But for the artists that pour their truth into their music, those records aren’t just catchy songs that are destined to go up in clubs and chart on Billboard, It’s their reality. It’s the reality for fans who can relate to not knowing if their death will stem from guns or the systematic oppression cultivated against them from the womb of their ancestors. The culture grown from Hip Hop has become a business where record labels, streaming platforms and publications can profit off of rappers, dead or alive. Music and the decisions made while alive are the main things that stay on this earth when an artist dies.
One of the last projects that Nipsey was working on before he passed was a documentary on Dr. Sebi’s trial in 1985. Sebi is infamous for New York newspaper ads claiming he had the natural cure to AIDS, Cancer and other diseases. His death in 2016 led to conspiracies that he was executed by the U.S. Medical Corporations to keep him silent but his story is powerful and relevant in an era where people are dying from processed food, cancer and not being able to afford healthcare. Nick Cannon has taken on the task of making sure Hussle’s documentary gets released to the world and the rest of his family and friends will keep his ventures, music and most importantly name alive. In terms of his vast catalogue available on streaming, sales have surged 2,776 percent in the U.S., according to early predictions by Nielsen Music. Since the late rapper owned his masters, the revenue from his music will continue to go to his family and fans will be able to enjoy music from an artist gone way too soon.
To the fans (old and new) of Nipsey Hussle, Hip Hop and this headline driven world we live in, stand for something. Build your own legacy and let Hussle’s energy toward life remind you that anything’s possible. The reckless person you were in your youth can evolve into a self-aware person that wants to leave a positive imprint in this world. Revisit Hussle’s catalogue and get inspired, here’s a head start:
“I prayed for blessings as a young nigga/Not to learn the hard lessons of a drug dealer/Triple life with a gang enhancement/The judge triple white and he hate your Blackness/Slam the gavel with a racist passion/Got you waitin’ on appeals but your patience passin’/All you’ve got to offer is a fight/It’s too late to run to Christ once you caught up in this life” —Nipsey Hussle, “Face The World”
Rest in power Ermias Asghedom aka Nipsey Hussle
Article By: Marcel “The Messenger” Jeremiah