Nipsey Hussle: What The Game Has REALLY Lost
My First Experience Of Nipsey Hussle
It’s been so hard to sit down and start this post. I promised Facebook that I would write this the day after Nipsey passed. Every time I would sit down to start, I would psyche myself out. Nipsey Hussle was a true legend, he is everything your favourite rapper/young mogul wishes they were. Nipsey Hussle was living proof of the capabilities of a human being, regardless of poverty, location or any other demographic that people hide their lack of heart and drive behind.
In 2005, whilst listening to a radio interview from The Game, when asked about talent to watch out for he dropped Nipseys’ name. He likened him to himself, Dr Dre and Ice Cube ‘rolled into one’. Remember, The Game was still the number one rapper on the West Coast and for him to make a testimony of another rappers’ greatness, was a big deal.
With some research I found myself immersed in Nipseys’ World. My first thought was, wow, he really looks like Snoop Dogg – which intrigued me to really look into him. I discovered ‘Slauson Boy’, which as far as I know was his first commercial mixtape. This was as West Coast as it got, authenticity was dripping from him. As well as his mixtape, he had a bunch of music videos out and it would take anybody a few seconds to see that he was really a gangster, was really in the streets, really had goons and really had money.
Growing Up With Nipsey Hussle
It didn’t take long for me to become obsessed with his music, his brand and his movement. Throughout the next dozen years I would listen to him walking to and from college. I would listen in the car when I learned to drive, when I got home, when I worked out, when I was busy and when I was chilling. Slauson Boy, The Bullets Aint Got No Name volumes, The Marathon, TMC, TMC X-Tra, Crenshaw, Mailbox Money and the list goes on.
In honesty, I got an education from Nipsey Hussle. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t live in the hood, I don’t identify with the lifestyle but I believe there is something for everyone contained in Nipsey Hussles’ brand. Some examples of the things I have learned from Nipsey Hussle are:
- Don’t let where you come from determine where you are going.
- You don’t need the middle man, go direct.
- You don’t need the major players to co-sign you.
- People will pay anything for something they value enough.
- Don’t be afraid to take big risks.
- Find your way ahead of the curve.
Nip Hussle The Marketing Genius
Nipsey Hussle was a marketing genius and was never shy to tell anybody the amount of reading he did. Always recommending books when he did interviews, it was the book Contagious that gave him the idea that led to him getting his first mainstream viral moment.
His mixtape Crenshaw was about to come out and he came out with an ingenious idea. That idea was to price it at $100 in a music climate where people had stopped buying music and opting more towards both piracy and streaming from platforms like Spotify.
First impression to a closed eye would lead someone to believe that it was an awful idea. When you really thought about it you realised a few things about how smart it was.
- Nip was allowing you to get it for free too, so nobody missed out.
- He packaged the offer, giving tickets and merchandise to buyers to validate the price.
- It got attention on every rap platform, talking about his ‘ridiculous’ price point.
Even Jay Z had to hand it to Nip and he did so by buying 100 copies, dropping a cool $10,000 as a nod of respect for such an incredible move.
As long as I can remember Nipsey Hussle had been pushing his marathon brand which included Marathon Clothing. The idea that success is a marathon and not a sprint was wearable, supporting his clothing meant supporting that idea. After a huge success in this venture Nipsey rented out the store on the lot where he used to sell his CD’s, starting his flagship Marathon Clothing store. In the future, the police would look to get Nipsey out of that store by pressuring the owner of the lot. The owner flipped the tables by selling the lot to Nipsey.
Not only did he have the clothing store, he went and decked the store out with groundbreaking interactive technology. This technology allowed visitors to interact with the store on their smartphones, another example of Nipsey Hussle being ahead of the curve and a marketing genius. Again, he had worldwide new coverage as the one of the first to implement such technology in their business and store.
Other businesses Nipsey invested in and ran include, Realty, Co-Working Spaces, Ambassadorship, Weaves and hair extensions and more.
The Marathon is real, over the years, Nipsey made investments and completed personal goals. He was never obsessed with the fame and celebrity and kept his composure. Many of his peers were controversial and more famous. Nipsey was not about that life, he knew longevity was the key. A true entrepreneur in an industry of desperate pretenders.
The Empowerment Of His People
Nipsey was an activist in it’s truest form. He understood that marching and protesting was never going to have the effect people wanted from it. Whilst these things can bring about minor legislation changes and small shifts he knew that the empowerment of the lower class black community took action. Specifically in Crenshaw & Slawson, he went about lowering the unemployment rate and creating opportunities for people who had limited options.
In his many businesses he looked to train and employ people like who he used to be. He focused on building independent black businesses and opportunities because he knew, when you give a man a fish, he eats for a day but when you teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime.
This attitude and mode of operation made it surprising that he was killed in the way he was. He looked out for his people and did everything he could to help provide them with a better future. I understand some say the killing was out of jealousy and others lend to a conspiracy theory but that can be argued all day either way.
The fact is, regardless we have lost a true agent of change.
The Death Of Nipsey Hussle
On April 1st, 2019 I woke up, logged onto Facebook and saw several updates about Nipseys’ death. At first I had figured it was an April Fools prank. I started googling the official platforms to have the news confirmed, I can’t even explain how it felt for me. Being a huge fan since 2005, hearing everything, rocking my Crenshaw beanie until I looked like a hobo in it, I was dumbfounded.
I lost my hope in the evolution of rap. Look at the climate nowadays, all the shock and awe, the controversy, the fuckery. I was able to pay it no mind because I knew Nipsey Hussle was coming, I knew that one day, Nipsey would be on top, he’d be the richest, with the biggest fanbase and he would set a new standard.
Unfortunately, we are never going to see the man he would become in the end. Someone robbed him and us of seeing what the Marathon would have really looked like at the end. These aren’t empty words because you can ask anyone who has a from-the-mud fan of his that his journey was incredible and growing momentum every day.
To be honest, I can barely get involved in social media since his death. The bullsh*t seems a little more sh*tty and the big talk seems a little more empty. We lost an ICON, not a rapper and whilst someone will come around in the future and bear resemblance to Nipsey Hussles mindset and hustle, it will never be Nipsey and we will never have the same history.
The Marathon Continues
The Marathon Continues, whilst we may have lost Nipseys’ physical influence we certainly haven’t lost his spirt or mentality. I’m sure he has plenty of more music, videos and content in the chamber. A man like that doesn’t leave without a nest-egg. Survived by a son (Kross Ashgedom) & a daughter (Emani Ashgedom), his spouse Lauren London, his brother Blacc Sam and countless family and friends, Nipsey will have his legacy upheld.
Not to mention us, his fans and supporters who have every day since, played his music and sang his praises. Let’s not let this last a few weeks or months. It’s up to us all to make sure the game never forget Nipsey Hussle, the legacy he has built and his vision for the future of the music industry.
I had planned to write a lot more but honestly, this is the most emotional i’ve ever been whilst writing a blog post. Rather than write out every detail here I urge people to go out there and do their research so you can find out what kind of man Nipsey Hussle truly was.
Nipsey, we miss you and will never forget what you did for us and the world.
Rest In Peace!
I’d liek to leave you with his brother Blacc Sam speaking about him at his funeral, because Sam, more than anyone alive can probably tell you who Nipsey Hussle was best:
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