It’ s been a year since rapper Nipsey Hussle untimely death (31 march 2019). Read here a blog post inspired by his devastating death last year that never saw the publish light.
May he continue to rest in perfect peace.
Unless you have been living under a rock or on a lost island somewhere, I’m sure you’ve heard of the tragic passing of hip-hop artist, Nipsey Hussle (Born Ermias Asghedom on 15 August 1985), fatally shot in Los-Angeles on April the 1st
The news of his death sent a shock wave throughout his worldwide community of fans and hip-hop lovers.
The social media frenzy around his death has sparked so many questions and conversations about him, his music but also general topics like the public reaction’s (overreaction some says) to celebrity deaths, how we pay respect to people only after they die, leaving the rest of the world wondering “who is Nipsey Hussle”?
But what is important is that the world has been able to discover the impact of his legacy, that of a conscious rapper, community activist and entrepreneur.
So here are lessons I learnt from his life and career that has impacted millions of young fans.
- Stay authentic, it is a major key to success
In every interview, numerous tributes about him, either by fellow artists, fans or friends, he is always described has “A real one”. Nipsey has undeniably stayed true to himself and his beliefs. Nipsey was an already known and established West Coast rapper for 15 years, with acclaimed mix-tapes and impressive body of work. His slow progression from underground to mainstream artist is a testament to this. He always made it clear that he will succeed, but in his own way. This is one of the quality traits that has earned him a worldwide, yet underground, cult following.
- Stay consistent, even if others don’t understand your plans
In 2013, Nipsey was mentioned in Complex Magazine (A prominent american man magazine dedicated to hip-hop culture and urban culture) list of 10 Most underachieving rappers. According to them, after a promising debut, Nipsey was struggling to breakthrough and establish himself, basically declaring him a has-been artist. Not only Nipsey rubbished their critics in a very interesting follow-up interview, but he stayed consistent to his music, his passion for authentic hip-hop that resonated with his life, and by consistently doing things in his own way and according to a clear mind map. Fast forward to 2018, after 14 years of consistent underground grind, he started getting the recognition he deserved by his peers, legends of the industry, media and the bigger public. He dropped his very first album project at 32 (almost retirement age for most rappers) rightfully titled Victory Lap.
Nipsey’s mindset clearly taught us that you’re the only one who needs to understand the game plan to your life and passion projects. Others will catch up, eventually.
- Celebrate your roots, they are your strengths
Nipsey is of Eritrean origin from his father. In every interview and lyrics, Nipsey was always celebrating his roots. Going back to his fatherland a few years ago, meeting his dad’s relatives has shaped his artist’s identity. At his memorial, his family and the Eritrean community made sure to highlight this very important aspect. Knowing where he came from gave him a bigger purpose in life. Nipsey, like many US artists of second-generation African immigrants are building a bridge, fostering a dialogue and redefining African identify in the US and worldwide
- Give back to your community
Now I think this is why Nipsey Hussle’s death shocked his community in Los-Angeles so much. Nipsey dedicated a huge part of his life to working towards improving the lives around him. He was part of numerous initiatives that positively impacted his area of Crenshaw such as: A barbershop, a public art space (Destination Crenshaw) set to honor black heritage in L.A, a clothing and apparel clothes shop, the Marathon store (a partnership with Puma was signed earlier), a STEM academy to support Math and Sciences literacy among the youth and a co-working space hub for entrepreneurs plus investments in property to revitalize the neighborhood. His investments into all these lifestyle, tech and community ventures, investments and donations have been estimated to 210 413 500 US millions and have impacted approximately 41 000 people in his neighborhood. (source: https://moguldom.com/195988/go-figure-nipsey-hussles-distribution-of-wealth/).
- Be Inspirational. Have a bigger purpose in mind
His mindset and life has shown his commitment to a bigger picture. As he said it through numerous interviews he was not there for a quick shot at fame, nor money. But because he really wanted to make a long lasting impact, flip the script on what a rapper’s career is supposed to look like. Being a successful rapper to him was second to owning his intellectual property, creating generational wealth that would benefit his family and community. Hence his beloved tagline, “the Marathon’’, to illustrate that he was in there for the long race, the bigger picture and not a short shot at fame. His rap lyrics are really inspirational and true to his beliefs and values.
It is truly sad that Nipsey’s life has been cut short (and even more sad in the same community he was working at improving), just when he was about to blow up, get the recognition he deserved and share his enormous potential, knowledge and gift with the world. Ermias Asghedom quit a life of teenage street gangs’ affiliations to educate, uplift and motivate the youth around him. May his posthumous legacy bring in the real changes, light and love he tirelessly advocated for.
RIP Nipsey. The Marathon continues.
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