This will definitely be an “I remember exactly where I was when....” moment in history, for those of us deeply connected to hip hop culture.
Reports out of Los Angeles are confirming that rapper Nipsey Hussle has been shot and killed. He was 33 years old, and leaves behind a mass of followers who have been inspired by his hustle (no pun intended), and his strong stance on sticking his middle finger up to “the man”.
This is a shock to say the least, as he is one of the few artists who stood his ground, and didn’t conform to the “formula” that many do, in exchange for their 15 minutes of fame. Not only did he manage to build a large and loyal fan base as an independent artist, but he also captured the minds of so many of us, and encouraged us to keep pursuing our passion no matter how hard shit gets.
I first heard Nipsey Hussle’s music in 2008, when he did a song called “Hussle in The House”. It contained the same sample from Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back”, that Kris Kross used in “Jump”. It was just slowed down a bit to match his smooth, Rollin 60’s gangster persona, and I fuckin’ loved it!
I’ve been a Hip Hop fan for 30 years now, and I remember exactly where I was when I heard the news of Eazy E, 2pac, Biggie, Big Pun, Ol Dirty Bastard, Jan Master Jay, Phife Dawg, and now Nipsey Hussle’s death. As a true fan of the culture, they all hit me heavy in the heart as if I knew them personally.
I even remember where I was when I first listened to Victory Lap, which was Nip’s debut studio album (nominated for 2018 album of the year Grammy). I was hustlin’ when I heard it.
I was in the gym pushing through a grueling workout, and his courageous delivery helped me push through, when I just wanted to go back home and rest. I carried that motivation with me outside of the gym too, and the feeling I got from listening to that album stuck with me as I conquered some of the most important goals of my life over the past two years.
I‘ve been a DJ for almost 15 years now, and during that entire timeframe, I aspired to make my own original music as a producer. I was a late bloomer to the world of making beats, but right around the time when Victory Lap dropped, is when I took that leap to start the process of experimenting with my own sound. Nip’s voice and cadence was regularly at the front of my mind, as I imagined artists I would love to hear over my joints. His message in his music and interviews wasn’t lost on me either, when I questioned whether or not it was even worth it for me to start making beats at age 33. Thanks for the push Hussle!
Nip also did a damn good job at showing us how you don’t have to sacrifice your soul to “make it”. From what we could see, he kept it 100 all the way through. He was a highly respected philanthropist in the community too. He was known to provide opportunities and hope for a lot of people who unfortunately get looked over by a large percentage of society.
Being authentic is one of my most prominent core values in life, and Nipsey embodies that in all that he did. And for that, I felt a powerful connection to him and his music.
As KRS One once said “stop the violence in Hip Hop, Y-O”
I know I’m not alone when I say that we will continue to bump his music loud, proud and unapologetically! We will keep standing for what he stood for, which was not conforming to the status quo, hustlin’ hard, and getting what we know we deserve in life.
Special shoutout to my lil bro Das, who is the biggest Nipsey fan that I know. This definitely hit him hard.
This stings a lot 😔