Ermias Ashgedom or better known as Nipsey Hussle who got his name from iconic black rapper and comedian Nipsey Russell, grew up in Slauson, California (Compton). Growing up in a very dangerous part of the world, Nipsey became well known for his gritty street lyrics and Snoop Dog like flow. However, he is better connected to early hip hop kingpin Ice-T. Nipsey was a full member of one of the most notorious sections of the crips gang and it was represented in his music. Nipsey began releasing mixtapes in the late 2000’s and his first “known” mixtape Mailbox Money was released in 2014 and and featured artists such as Trae tha Truth, Rick Ross, Dom Kennedy and producers DJ Mustard and DJ Khalil. In 2016, Nipsey teamed up with YG for the song”FDT” during the presidential election. The song was featured on the Top 50 billboard for hip hop and R&B songs. The same year, he released the mixtape “Slauson Boy Vol. 2” which featured many known artists such as Mozzy, Young Thug, Dave East, Snoop Dogg, G Perico, Young Dolph and more. In 2018, Nipsey released his first full-length album, Victory Lap, which featured guests YG, Kendrick Lamar, Puff Daddy, Cee Lo Green and The Dream. The album debuted in the Top 5 on the Billboard 200 and was later nominated for Album of the Year at the Grammy’s.
Sadly, this would be his only album because on March 31st, 2019, Nipsey was shot and killed in front of his own clothing store. He was at the clothing store because he was helping a life long friend get settled after his friend has just finished serving a 10 year sentence in jail. Nipsey was more than an artist, he wanted to change the environment in his hometown of Compton. He wanted better opportunities for the kids in his community and had a meeting scheduled for the next day with the LA police commissioner about more proper policing in his area. Nipsey’s lyrics were unique and different from other artists, he rapped about street life but he rapped more about someones search to find and be themselves, to be who you are and not to be who society expects you to be or who they want you to be. This was represented through Nipsey’s lyrics such as “I’ve made some mistakes but that’s just part of my search” or “I say self made, meanin’ I designed myself”.
Photo by AFH