GQ magazine calls the late rapper and activist Nipsey Hussle “the Light of Los Angeles.”
Before he was gunned down outside his clothing store on March 31, 2019, Hussle (born Ermias Joseph Asghedom “was deeply committed to shaping his hood the way he wished when he ran these streets as “‘Neighborhood Nip,’ and it’s what motivated him to open his Marathon Clothing shop in the very strip mall where he spent years hustling mixtapes—before buying the entire strip. It’s why he opened Vector90, a coworking space and STEM incubator for inner-city youth,” GQ reported.
He pushed for art-centric beautification projects like Destination Crenshaw and he wasn’t above getting his own hands dirty as he personally helped renovate World on Wheels, the legendary roller rink on Venice Boulevard. “He was not confused about who he was and what his mission was,” his life partner, Lauren London, told GQ. “And it was the upliftment of us, as a people.”
Now, L.A. — and the rest of his fan base –are feeling his loss. “Hussle’s passing was an enormous loss, the depths of which are especially crippling to those who saw him not as a rapper or community activist but as a father, son, brother, lover, and friend. This is his story, told by those who knew him best,” GQ reported.
Still, for all the positive Hussle was doing, he had his distractors and haters.
“I was very worried about my brother. My cousin Adam [Andebrhan] would have conversations with my brother like, ‘Do something positive, because we’re not gonna last out here. Nobody lasts out here like that,’” said his brother Samiel Asghedom, who recalled how it all started for Hussle.
“When we first put an album out independently, he printed business cards that said ‘Slauson Boy Records.’ We put up posters and paid money out of our pockets to get radio advertisements,” he said. “He had everybody in the whole neighborhood putting up posters and volunteering for him. The people rallied around him. It motivated him.”
The music industry came knocking, inducing platinum-selling rapper Rick Ross who offered him a deal with his Maybach Music Group imprint. Hussle turned it down.
“I met Nipsey back in ’09. I told him, ‘I see the impact you will make on the world.’ I always knew he would be bigger than just music. I saw it from the beginning,” recalled Rick Ross.
But Hussle wanted to stay independent and do it his way.
“Nip was just so concerned with doing it ‘the Nip Hussle way,’” said J Roc, his bodyguard. “Other people might have taken shortcuts or scammed. But he always did things the right way.”
“Nip wasn’t just trying to make music to get money or be famous. He understood that through his music, he would be able to get his message across. And he was very big on his purpose with God. He knew who he was with God. He knew the mission that God and the purpose that God had placed on his heart,” London said.
Written by Ann Brown