The death of Nipsey Hussle was a tragedy that has left both his fans and the rap community in general in shock. Not only do people feel like a promising musical career was cut short, his vision for the future was something that cannot be understated. His loss was a huge blow not only to his neighborhood and to Los Angeles, but to the entire Black community and to music as well.
Who Was Nipsey Hussle?
Nipsey Hussle was born Ermias Joseph Asghedom to an African American mother and an Eritrean father in August of 1985. He was an artist, rapper, and activist in the West Coast hip hop scene as early as the 2000s, and he made a name for himself with his music. His early life, just like so many of his fellow rap and hip hop artists, was extremely difficult and influenced both his voice and his perspective in his music. His family life was difficult, and he did not end up graduating high school as he left home at fourteen to join the Crips. However, he did take a trip with his father as a nineteen year old to his father’s home country of Eritrea. This trip instilled in him a profound sense of entrepreneurship and a desire to better the lives and communities around him.
His Music and Legacy
Nipsey attained a point in his musical career where he was able to successfully blend the experiences of his past and the emotions of his present to create a perspective that was both unique and effective. His audience connected with him on a personal level as well as on a practical level, reading into his lyrics and noticing meanings that they did not originally see. He conveyed meanings and spoke on topics that got deeper with every listen, and he really put his personality into his work.
His musical career debuted in 2005 when he independently released his first mixtape, Slauson Boy Volume 1. It received some moderate local success and actually led to him being signed to Cinematic Music Group and Epic Records. Being signed and having a moderately successful mixtape grew his fanbase although it was mostly all local recognition, but it helped him to get his name out into the world. A few years later in 2008, he released his next mixtape, Bullets Ain’t Got No Name in a series of three installments, which helped grow his audience on a much larger scale.
The first time his name really got out on the big stage was due to a 2009 collaboration with Drake on the song “Killer” and another collaboration with Snoop Dogg on Snoop’s song “Upside Down”.
These collaborations combined with Nipsey’s individual releases helped him be able to leave Epic Records and create his own record label, All Money In. His first independently produced mixtape was The Marathon, and he released a sequel a year later titled The Marathon Continues. Nipsey used the opportunity created with these mixtapes to feature all kinds of local rap talent and this kind of local connection helped Nipsey stay true to his neighborhood audience while still creating music for the masses.
He also won a few awards, all posthumously. He was awarded two posthumous Grammy awards, one for Best Rap Performance for “Racks in the Middle” and one for Best Rap/Sung Performance for “Higher”. He also won a BET Award for Humanitarian effort in 2019.
The concept of “marathon energy” or “marathon mindset” is something that will be revisited later in the article in terms of his impact that is still felt today.
Circumstances of his Murder
On March 31, 2019, Nipsey Hussle was shot to death in front of his own clothing store by former friend and colleague Eric Holder, who was later arrested in connection to the murder and charged with several crimes, including murder in the first degree. Suge Knight actually put out a statement from prison, saying that he thought that it was Nipsey’s loyalty to his neighborhood that made him vulnerable and eventually led to his death.
Nipsey sustained several gunshot wounds in broad daylight in South Los Angeles and was pronounced dead upon arrival to the hospital nearby. Witnesses said that the cause of the shooting was most likely due to a conversation about snitching that had happened previously with Holder and his associates. When Holder pulled the trigger, witnesses heard him utter the words, “you’re through”, further adding to the idea that the shooting was an act of violent revenge.
Quotes and Hidden Messages
One thing about Nipsey’s life is that his legacy lives on through the words he so carefully chose to communicate with his audience. Here are some of his most famous quotes:
- “The most important thing, number one, is you gotta get rid of doubt. If you got doubt in what you’re doing, it’s not gonna work and the way to do that is you have a plan. ‘Cause if you got a plan, it’s not just like a pipe-dream, you have a step-by-step list of things to do to get to your goal. If you don’t have that, it’s very hard to really have faith in what you’re doing ’cause soon as something pop up, it’s gonna look like the end-all.”
- “You’ve got to have faith in what you’re doing and not take no for an answer.”
- “My thing is that I don’t give no person that much power over my path that I’m walking. Not one person can make or break what I’m doing, except me or God.”
- “The best thing you can do for a person is to inspire them. That’s the best currency you can offer: inspiration. So, when a person can rely on you for that, that empowers them in every realm of their life. Being inspired. It empowers them in their relationships, in their business, in their art, in their creativity. It empowers them because without inspiration, you’re dry.”
All of these quotes offer some deep insight into who Nipsey was, what he believed in, and what he thought his responsibility was to the world he lived in. He truly aspired to believe in himself, to work hard, to fight his ego, and to empower others with every decision he made. His music, his personal life, and his celebrity vision for the world all demonstrate this. He believed that life was going to test him and that he needed to be prepared for every hurdle, and he lived this way, taking everything he could into consideration and trying to pave a way for others. He even planned on fighting gentrification in his neighborhoods and around the United States as a way to give back to the people that loved listening to his music
Nipsey Hussle’s murder was truly tragic, and there is no doubt that he would have had a remarkable career if he had had more time. However, even in spite of the fact that his life was cut short, his legacy lives on because he so carefully cultivated his attitude and left so many messages behind for his fans to hold onto.