The world mourns the loss of a hero; a kind-hearted, genuine soul who spread nothing but positivity and stressed the importance of unity and giving back. Ermias Asghedom, known as Nipsey Hussle, was a philanthropist, entrepreneur, community activist and father who used the money he made from his music to give back to the community he grew up in. On Sunday, the Grammy-nominated artist was tragically shot and killed outside his store, Marathon Clothing.
He was only 33-years-old.
A first generation Eritrean-American from Slauson/Crenshaw district and member of the Rollin’ 60’s Neighborhood Crips gang, Hussle was more than just a rapper. He was a brilliant young man with a vision for his people, both Africans and Black Americans and he put everything he had into lifting his community up along with him. In his very first interview, he talks about investing in real estate and obtaining assets instead of spending money on diamonds and jewelry, which he called “liabilities.”
In the rap game since he was 18, Hussle gained his stage name as a joke from one of the older people at the studio he was working in; his work ethic and non-stop hustling earned him the respect of many beginning in his teenage years. His hunger for acquiring black wealth, not only for himself and his family but also for his people in the community, was admirable and resonates in his music, his message strong and clear.
Hussle made $100,000 by selling only 1,000 copies of his mixtape Crenshaw for a hundred dollars apiece (Jay Z bought 100) and used the money from that to build his own record label, All Money In Records. “The marketing for the mixtape was that we only made a thousand units…” Nipsey explained in a GQ interview. “It was a scarcity model.”
Hussle also owned a strip on Crenshaw where he had a clothing store, barbershop, burger joint, and fish market that was run and managed by locals he hired directly from the community. He went from, “being shot at by the police in that parking lot, getting taken to jail, getting raided in that parking lot, to actually owning that building.” He recounts in a Genius video interview, “I remember the owner of the Master Burger didn’t allow members of the community to hang out at all. He removed the seats so people had to order their shit and go. I remember that being young and feeling like, ‘How dare you?’ and now he’s our tenant. He pays us rent every month.” Hussle and his business partner Dave Gross had plans to knock everything down and rebuild it as a six story residential building atop a commercial plaza.
“I remember the owner of the Master Burger didn’t allow members of the community to hang out at all. He removed the seats so people had to order their shit and go. I remember that being young and feeling like, ‘How dare you?’ and now he’s our tenant. He pays us rent every month.”
We (@LAPDChiefMoore and I ) were meeting , at the request of @NipseyHussle with him and @rocnation tomorrow at 4pm to talk about ways he could help stop gang violence and help us help kids. I’m so very sad https://t.co/rcGtvw9c6L
— Steve Soboroff (@SteveSoboroff) April 1, 2019
Barely 24-hours before his death, Hussle was scheduled to meet with LAPD and Jay Z to discuss ways to stop gang violence and help kids. From buying shoes for every student at an elementary school in Hyde Park, to funding upgrades for playgrounds, Hussle was constantly trying to provide and help bring change to the inner city by focusing on its youth. He was also a part of Destination Crenshaw, a museum honoring African-American artists as well as Vector90, which provided kids the opportunity to take STEM classes.
“Growing up as a kid, I was looking for somebody — not to give me anything — but somebody that cared,” He told the Los Angeles Times last year. “Someone that was creating the potential for change and that had an agenda outside of their own self interests.”
Hussle’s death is haunting. Not only from the impact of his absence rippling across America in different communities, but also from the cruelness of it. Murdered in cold blood in front of that very parking lot he tirelessly worked for, his death is a cruel reminder of the cold hatred that plagues this world. “How you die at 30 something after banging all them years?” he raps in honor of his best friend Fatts in his single, “Racks In The Middle.”
Now, thousands tweet the same lyrics in honor of him. The marathon continues. R.I.P Ermias Nipsey Hussle Asghedom.
A man who understood the importance of ownership, individuality and equity, Hussle owns the masters to all his music. Listen to his albums on all streaming services and continue to support his legacy that will transcend for generations to come.