Remembering Nipsey Hussle: Why You Should Know His Story

Last Sunday, March the 31st, Rapper Nipsey Hussle was shot outside his clothing store in LA. According to the Los Angeles Police Department, as reported via NBC, Nipsey was standing outside his clothing store on Slauson Avenue when he received gunshot wounds to the head and torso. He was at the store helping out his friend buy some new clothes after their recent release from prison, and they were accompanied by his friend’s nephew, both of which sustained serious injuries.

The artist’s loss came as a sudden and painful shock to the entertainment community; Rihanna, Nas, Tiffany Haddish, Stephen Curry, Daveed Diggs, and many more took to the internet to express their condolences, sadness and respect for the late artist.

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We are at a great loss today. This hurts. Straight to the point. It’s dangerous to be an MC. Dangerous to be a b-ball player. It’s dangerous to have money. Dangerous To Be A Black Man. So much hatred. We live like our brothers and sisters in third world countries live. Right in America. Decisions we make about our own life be based on decisions cuz we might not live. Its so deep rooted. It’s not a easy fix. Hard to fix anything when kids are still living in poverty. I ain’t shutting up though, Nipsey is a True voice. He will never be silenced. He still is A stand up General for the People who never left his people. He is Loved by the people. Prayers for his family. Let’s keep pushing Truth for The Man. Love You King Nipsey Hussle/ Ermias Asghedom Respectfully, Nasir Jones

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Drake also paid homage to the artist during his concert in London on the first of April, expressing his love and appreciation for Nipsey and for his fans.

“Nipsey was somebody that always treated you with respect when he saw you. Somebody that demanded respect when he walked in a room. So, I really just wanna do this shot for Nip tonight and I just want everybody to look around and be grateful and happy that we’re all here together alive and well because life can end at any moment.” – Drake, London’s O2 Arena, via Variety. 

Lauren London, his girlfriend and mother of his child Kross Asghedom, also spoke out about his death, citing that she will keep her head high for her king, a family man who loved his kids and protected his community. His father, Dawit Asghedom, stated that he felt that Nipsey was sent by God to spread love in his community and be a voice of truth and change.

Nipsey was a talented artist, a powerful wordsmith, and an inspiration to many. As we remember him today, let’s take a brief look at what made him great.

Nipsey’s Background And Career

Nipsey Hussle was born as Ermias Asghedom in Los Angeles, 1985. As a teenager, Nipsey grew up surrounded by constant violence and murder, and he commented on how dangerous it is to become desensitized to these conditions or start treating them as the norm. During his youth, Nipsey was said to be involved with the Rollin’ 60s, a gang that is connected to the LA Crips. But, instead of continuing down that path, Nipsey turned to his art and became a community activist, working to improve the quality of life in inner-city Los Angeles. 

“I remember feeling, like, No. 1, what’s the point and, No. 2, maybe I’m tripping. Maybe I’m not even supposed to be ambitious, maybe I’m not even supposed to be thinking this big and thinking outside the box, maybe I should just follow suit. That’s a dangerous thing. I would like to prevent as many kids from feeling like that as possible. Because what follows is self-destructive.” – Nipsey hussle, Via Telegram.

Nipsey was planning to meet with officials from the police department to discuss strategies for decreasing gang violence in the area. The meeting had been originally scheduled for Monday, the day after his death. It is unclear whether that was related to his murder.

Nipsey released his first studio album, “Victory Lap”, in early 2018, and was nominated for a Grammy award for “Best Rap Album” earlier this year. However, Nipsey’s first ever musical release was his mixtape Slauson Boy Vol. 1 in 2005. 

The rapper was also known for being innovative and bold. An example for this is his his unorthodox marketing technique. He makes his music available for free download online, though releases limited amounts of physical copies for his mixtapes and albums at a high price. He believed that when someone is moved by the art, they will want to support the artist behind it, and emphasizing the importance of placing value on your own art. Thus, rather than release abundant amounts of music and copies, he took his time with producing the music, made it available for the public, and still managed to make the same profit as other artists while selling much fewer copies. 

“I JUST THINK THAT’S HOW LIFE WORKS; I DON’T THINK YOU GET ANYTHING TO A MILLION PEOPLE AT A TIME. I THINK THAT’S UNREALISTIC. I DON’T THINK A HUMAN BEING OBSERVED THAT. I THINK THAT BUSINESS INTRODUCED THAT IDEOLOGY. I THINK HUMAN THINGS HAPPEN INTIMATE.” – Nipsey Hussle, Via Kulture hub.

Using this technique, Nipsey sold 1,000 copies of his mixtape ‘Crenshaw’ at a $100 each (A 100 of which were bought by Jay-Z) in 2013. In 2015, he put up hard copies of his album at a $1,000 each, all of which sold out.

His Work for The Community

Nipsey was a firm believer in ownership, copyright and fair treatment in labels, a topic that he had been outspoken about and a part of why he eventually formed his own record label, All Money In No Money Out, which later partnered with Atlantic Records for the release of Victory Lap. Nipsey also owned a number of other businesses, like the Marathon Clothing, which hired community members to encourage employment in his neighborhood. Nipsey was also an advocate for entrepreneurship; he opened his own STEM Center and Co-Working space, Vector 90, to connect his community with Silicon Valley and shine the spotlight on the lack of diversity in Scientific, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics careers, and to offer resources for underrepresented groups.

“Growing up as a kid, I was looking for somebody – not to give me anything – but somebody that cared. Someone that was creating the potential for change and that had an agenda outside of their own self-interests. In our culture, there’s a narrative that says, ‘Follow the athletes, follow the entertainers,’ ” he said. “And that’s cool, but there should be something that says, ‘Follow Elon Musk, follow (Mark) Zuckerberg.” – Nipsey Hussle, via Telegram.

Even in death, Nipsey continues to make the world a better place. The tragedy of Nipsey Hussle’s shooting led to a unique truce among rival gangs in Los Angeles. According to the Daily Mail, the gang members gathered for a march to demand peace in Nipsey’s home neighborhood, Crenshaw. Leaders from different gangs orchestrated the truce for the purposes of the march that started from Crenshaw and all the way over to Nipsey’s clothing store. The truce was the first of its kind since 1992, and was attended by the Crips.

A photo of the congregation of multiple gangs posted on BigU1's Instagram captioned 'For #NIPSEYHUSSLE we Will UNITE........'
Multiple gangs united in remembrance of Nipsey Hussle. Source: The Daily Mail

The march took place on Friday, the 6th of April. 

 

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