It was a cool Cali day, feeling the wind in my hair, rolling low-key with the windows down. I remember my dad blasting ‘Mailbox Money’ by Nipsey Hussle on the speaker, the soundtrack to my Christmas vacation. We get out the car, smack dab in the middle of Slauson to see The Marathon, the store that will change the history of Nipsey Hussle’s neighborhood and life. Fast forward two years, March 31, 2019, Nipsey Hussle was shot in cold blood in front of the same store, in the same community he was trying to change. The Marathon was in a location that was near to the rapper’s home, on the corner of Crenshaw and Slauson. He grew up in this area, bought the space for his store, bought the whole plaza, and soon after his death, this is where vigils would be held for his life.
It’s been a few weeks since the death of one of the greats. Not only is the Hip-Hop world shaken, but the world as a whole. We have lost Nipsey Hussle, a 2Pac of our generation and, what some may perceive as controversial, “Our Jesus” said Hussle’s sister Samantha at his homegoing service. The death of Nip has been on my heart since the news first broke, and it’s something I still can’t fathom. This is one of the oddest spiritual pains I’ve felt since the death of my uncle. He too was someone in my life I looked at as a “G” in his prime. His life was also cut short by the evils of gun violence. Losing Nipsey was almost like reliving this moment again in my life. I can’t fully express my love for this man’s work ethic and music since the first time I heard ‘Mailbox Money’ on my Christmas vacation. From that moment on, I gained a new respect for Nip’s music, and he became a legend I grew to respect and love.
Nipsey was a true reflection of what Hip-Hop truly was and what is supposed to be in this life. Aside from all of the drugs, corruption, and sex in present day “weirdo rap,” as he stated in his song “Victory Lap,” Nipsey was the truth. Nipsey was the light in the dark and the true meaning of success and dignity. He mentioned himself as being “prolific” (which was tattooed on his face)” and “so gifted” on his album. Teaching us to claim our destiny, come into your greatness, and most of all support one another. Nipsey was a true Don and like he said, “A master of his fate.”
The death of Nipsey was what I chose to call an assassination. I call it this because of the brutal and surprise attack on such a prominent and important figure of Nipsey’s status. In the midst of the interaction of Nipsey and his killer, Eric Holder. Holder shot Nipsey three times, once in the head and twice in his body. Then he proceeded to kick the rapper as surveillance had shown. This was a surprise attack that no one ever should endure. However, Nip did and is no longer here.
So young and influential in the rap community, with an even more fruitful life ahead. In his song “Racks in the Middle” he says “How you die thirty somethin’ been bangin’ all them years?” That’s a true reflection of the 33-year old rapper’s death, and only to die at such a monumental time in his life. He shouldn’t have left this earth this way, and he should still be here today. He should be here with his children, the love of his life, and all of the family he had to leave behind. This is a true loss and should be a reminder to all of us how to carry on from this situation. A reminder to gang culture, rap culture, and every grey area in the middle. Most of all to our present administration to reform gun laws and change who is able to obtain guns in America. It is evident the amount of damage that violence, specifically gun violence, that ravishes through America.
The senseless violence must stop! We must put the guns down, use our words, love on one another! Realize that the anger we feel is not an excuse to harm one another. Life is not something that can be re-done, thus we must cherish our lives and the lives around us. Nip should still be here today! His rhythmic rhymes, beautiful spirit, and brilliant mind should still be here today. There is no valuable explanation as to why this man’s life had to be taken away from us, and there will never ever be.
Having done so much in the world already with things like his Too Big to Fail STEM initiative or the work he did in his community of Slauson by buying back the shopping plaza where his store is located. About to do even more in the world, Nip was to make a documentary on Dr. Sebi, the doctor with the supposed cure for AIDS. He united Crips and Bloods through his music. The rapper was apart of Los Angeles’ Rollin 60s Crip gang; however, his song “Last Time That I Checc’d” features Blood-affiliated rapper YG. He was up for the freaking Best Rap Album of 2018 Grammy, for his Iconic album ‘Victory Lap.’ He was a jack of all trades capable of so much; however, his life was cut short. This is an unacceptable and tragic end to a man’s life that only had only been seen by half of the world. But more will know now, and they will understand the beautiful life he lived, and the lessons that he had to show us all. He was a magnificent human that we all got to witness and like his now widow, Lauren London thoughtfully stated, that we got to “experience.”
Nip, we won’t forget the life that you lived. We recognize the true essence of your life, that is royalty. As for me personally, I will continue to “hussle and motivate” as you once said, blast your music, and promote the legacy that you left. You were a true representation of your community and the change you wanted to see in the world. The world will be a better place because of you, and will never be the same. You are remembered. Your hussle continues, and surely THE MARATHON CONTINUES.