Grammy nominated rapper, Nipsey Hussle may not be a household name prior to his untimely demise but it doesn’t change the fact that this community activist/ hiphop rapper has inspired generations to come. Known as a legend in the West Coast rap scene, he was a force to be reckoned with in the SoCal for nearly 15 years. During the release of his first mixtape “Slauson Boy Volume 1” in 2005, Nipsey was just 20 years old and has dedicated himself to living up to the name he has chosen for himself which was “hustle.”
His music style was defined by a deep respect for West Coast gangsta rap of the 1990s. His sound was noticeably different from the pop-related genre you mostly hear on the radio and mainstream playlists in the mid 2000s. Later on in his career, he released an independent mixtape called Crenshaw which was inspired from the predominantly black Crenshaw District in the southern part of Los Angeles — which was where Nipsey grew up. Rap Icon, Jay-Z, reportedly purchased 100 copies for $100 each mixtape in a response to help fuel Hussle’s Crenshaw stunt and raise his popularity.
Hussle was already a rap veteran when he released his first official studio album in 2018, Victory Lap. It took years for him to release an album which says a lot about himself as an artist and what the album concept represents in its entirety. With superstar features such as Kendrick Lamar, Diddy, and more, Victory Lap was appropriately nominated for a Best Rap Album Grammy soon after.
The rapper then wanted to spend his time on giving solutions and inspire young black men like him. He publicly denounced gun violence through his music, community work, and influence. He has spoken openly about his past experiences being a part of the gang culture. Not only has he funded neighborhood improvements such as schools, he has also took the time to spend time with students personally and participated on panels to speak out. He saw that the Crenshaw area was underserved and was afraid that young people would better benefit from communal workspaces such as a center where they can attend classes in science, technology and math.
He remained in very involved in South Los Angeles with his businesses, family and friends, and charitable activities. Most of the locations for his magazine shoots were in the neighborhood, too. Hussle’s personal life remains as peaceful as his ideals, having a child together with long-time romantic partner Lauren London. Then sadly, on March 31, 2019, the rapper was shot multiple times in the parking lot of his store in South Los Angeles at about three in the afternoon. He was 33 years old at the time of his passing.
Nipsey Hussle’s philosophy’s shine bright through his songs like “Double Up” which represents the way he was able to be content with his present and accepted his troubling past. Like all iconic tracks, “Double Up” is all about processing and moving on. This, among many more, are reasons why Hussle has inspired generations to come and to those hearts he has touched. It’s without a doubt that the marathon continues through his legacy.
- PHOTOGRAPHY BY AWOL ERIZKU
- MATT WINKELMEYER / GETTY IMAGES FOR WARNER MUSIC
- Nipsey Hussle speaks to kids at the Nipsey Hussle x PUMA Hoops Basketball Court Refurbishment Reveal event, Oct. 22, 2018, in Los Angeles. Jerritt Clark/Getty Images, FILE