"Define who you are and what you are, and be clear on that. Meditate on that and then, live and die by that.”
On Sunday, March 31st, the world of hip-hop was left without a champion. The talent, knowledge and — most notably — the humanitarian efforts of the late rapper ‘Nipsey Hussle’ (né Ermias Joseph Asghedom) will forever be etched across the hearts of loving fans and celebrities. Rooted in the neighborhood of Crenshaw, Los Angeles, Nipsey Hussle embarked on a vision that forthcoming generations would live to see-through.
Now, 19 weeks after Nipsey Hussle’s death, family, friends and fans are honoring him once again for what would have been his 34th birthday this week. Lauren London, the late rapper’s girlfriend penned a heartfelt message on Instagram in honor of his life, “Long live my other half, my beloved King, Ermias. Nip Hussle Tha Great! I miss you, I love you. Still here holding it UP!”
And London really is holding up her late partner’s legacy by continuing the notable groundwork that Nipsey laid out for his community. Before gaining mainstream success, the underground hip-hop rapper had plans larger than his music career. “The vision is to launch franchises” Hussle told Forbes. In 2017, Nipsey and his investing partner Dave Gross, brought out his LA neighborhood plaza located on West Slauson and Crenshaw avenue. From selling his very first mixtape Slauson Boy, to being dubbed ‘Nipsey Hussle’ for the first time, and having built his first retail store, The Marathon Clothing, the LA plaza became the epicenter of his entrepreneurial career. Hussle and his investor partner, Gross, had larger plans for the LA plaza. “There’s such a narrative to this parking lot— that’s a part of my story as an artist.” Nipsey explained to Forbes. Earlier this month, London announced to the public that the south Los Angeles plaza will begin its early developmental stages to bring forth the ‘Nipsey Hussle Tower.’ His legacy lives on.
Hussle’s philanthropy was ingrained in empowering black and brown youth not only in the south side of LA, but also across a number of cities. One of Nipsey’s next ventures after the release of his Grammy-nominated album Victory Lap, was to develop STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) programs in partnership with Vector90, an inner city co-working space built for entrepreneurs and creatives that Gross had founded. In an interview with Big Boy Tv in March 2018, Hussle shared insights on how the first initiative, Too Big To Fail would impact the youth: “It will be a bridge between Silicon Valley and the inner city.”
Nipsey was truly a man of the future by way of carving out the blueprint for the advancement of the Black community. On the day of his death, the Los Angeles Police Commissioner Steve Soboroff informed Twitter that himself, Nipsey and the LAPD Chief were scheduled to meet the day after this death and discuss ways to end gun violence and protect the youth.
Nipsey had also geared up for major plans to push for real estate development in his community. Forbes reported that Nipsey and Gross were working with LA local city council members to carve out 100 units inside the south LA plaza, which the duo would later hope to become residential units.
The entrepreneurial spirit that lived within Nipsey rightfully earned him his name since his early teen years. Nipsey epitomized the idea of building both spiritual and financial freedom. Nipsey illustrated that the power communities of color hold is larger than life when we’re willing to selflessly serve and uplift one another. Since the unshakeable death of urban visionary Nipsey Hussle, the world of hip-hop and beyond continue rally and celebrate his impactful legacy.
From the south side of LA to listeners of the rhymes of his rap all over the country, the greatness of Hussle’s work as an artist and entrepreneur has created a wave of inspiration for change in many.
“The best thing you can do for a person is to inspire them. That's the best currency you can offer: inspiration. So, when a person can rely on you for that, that empowers them in every realm of their life. Being inspired. It empowers them in their relationships, in their business, in their art, in their creativity. It empowers them because without inspiration, you're dry."
In honor of Nipsey Hussle's birthday this week, loving fans are honoring his notable contributions to his community. Nipsey continues to shine bright and will continue lifting people up far into the future.