Nipsey Hussle was synonymous with real Los Angeles culture we grew up with, not the Hollywood bs many artists tend to chase. Music is medicine for us, probably the reason behind why we attach ourselves to our favorite artists. Songs begin to fundamentally stand alongside times in our lives, giving us a personal soundtrack. For a lot of us, Nipsey Hussle is that soundtrack… Especially here in Los Angeles. Not only did he effect everyone through his music, he played a vital role for his community. From opening up a Fatburger on Crenshaw Blvd. in 2014 – you and your homies knew it as Nipsey’s Fatburger. A fish market, barbershop, and his own Marathon Clothing store on 3420 West Slauson Avenue, Nipsey was known to give jobs to folks struggling just to get by.
We all remember when The Marathon dropped in 2010, a lot of us were impatiently waiting for that DatPiff link. Some of us after school, using any open computer to download and throw it onto your iPod for that ride home. Projects came pretty often with Nip, never a long waiting period. Something you begin to respect considering he’s doing this for us since a label backing was non existent. By The Marathon Continues in 2011, Nip was one of your favorite rappers… Also your girlfriends crush… Guess it makes sense why his music was always on loop.
Now comes 2013! Out of nowhere Nip decided to take arguably the biggest shit on the game anyone had heard of in recent years. He was selling $100 hardcopies of his Crenshaw mixtape at his pop-up and moved all 1,000 copies in less than 24 hours. We were blown away, to top it off Hov showed support and bought 100 copies – it pretty much felt like the Lakers brought home a championship. He was a pioneer for the near future, aligning independent artistry and entrepreneurship, something he continued to teach us throughout the progression of his life. Best part he never changed up.
Nipsey’s mixtapes started to noticeably become more refined, every tape began to mirror albums – Mailbox Money, to Slauson Boy 2, even No Pressure. 2018 without hesitation was a special year for Nipsey and Los Angeles. We’d seen a solid 10 years of work which produced some of our favorite songs, only this time around we were able to see an official debut album, Victory Lap. Bringing back the same emotions, this time you wanted to pop champaign and spray it all throughout Figueroa like the parade. You had that album on repeat throughout the day, played it in your headphones at night, brainstormed to it, cruised to it, hooped to it, went through bullshit with it…
On that note hearing news like this makes you reflect on friends, family, and role models we’ve lost to gun violence. Naturally puts you in a place of frustration. Seems like once again, finding yourself questioning the way society is designed and its repetitions – especially as minorities. Easier said than done, no matter what is in the way keep pushing and moving forward the way Nip exemplified through his work. Going to be missed by all of us, his community, and his family. Sending peace and positive energy in their direction. Thank you Nip for being real, not forgetting where you come from, and being that soundtrack for many of us. #TheMarathonContinues