Rapping plays a significant role in US culture because it has a huge number of fans. In their texts, artists tend to reflect on the current issues and contemporary situation in the country. Sometimes, rappers become well-known for their contribution to the local neighborhoods. Nipsey Hussle was not only one of the quite famous rappers, but he was also a successful entrepreneur and a notable community activist.
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Nipsey Hussle was born on August 15, 1985, in Los Angeles, California. His real name was Ermias Joseph Asghedom, and he was widely known in the neighborhood for being a rapper, entrepreneur, and community activist. His mom, Angelique Smith, is an African-American woman, and his dad, Dawit Asghedom, is an Eritrean immigrant. Asghedom also had a brother, Samiel, and a sister, Samantha, and their family house was in the Crenshaw neighborhood. Asghedom dropped out of Hamilton High School, and, at the age of 14, he left his home. Then he became a part of the local sub-group – Rollin 60’s Neighborhood Crips. The period of time he spent as a member of the gang tremendously influenced his future life.
In 2005, the rapper released his first mixtape – Sauson Boy Volume 1. The local community liked it, and he was able to sign to Cinematic Music Group and Epic Records. His following work contributed to the continuous increase in popularity. Eventually, he did a few collaborations with such famous artists as Drake, Snoop Dogg, and Problem. However, in 2010, Epic Records was going through financial problems, and Asghedom decided to leave the label.
The rapper chose to become an independent artist, and he founded his own label called All Money In. During years of hard work, Asghedom released many tracks with such quite famous artists as MGMT, Kokane, YG, Dom Kennedy, Blanco, and Rick Ross. In 2013, the artist performed at the Paid Dues festival.
He was considering joining a major label but could not decide which one to choose. He decided to stay away from becoming a part of a bigger name because it would reduce the freedom of creativity.
Hussle announced his mixtape Victory Lap to become the debut album of the label. Prior to the release of the album, the rapper created the new mixtape, Crenshaw. One copy of this artwork cost $100, and Hussle sold 100 of them in less than 24 hours. In 2014, the rapper released another mixtape, Mailbox Money, and after that, in 2016, there was one more mixtape, Famous Lies and Unpopular Truth. Finally, in 2018, Hussle released his album, which quickly became popular. It was nominated for numerous awards and remained in high positions on many charts. Hussle even had a chance to try himself in acting. In 2007, he starred in the movie Tried, and in 2010, he played a role in the film Caged Animal.
Besides building a career as a musician, Hussle was also successful in entrepreneurship. Since their early years, he had worked so he could pay for school necessities. After he established the label, he used creative marketing and sales strategies. In June 2017, the rapper was one of the partners who helped to found the Marathon Agency, which was a brand for various groups of clients. In 2017, Hussle, his brother, Carless, and Civil opened the “Marathon Clothing” store. This was a unique place where people could access the records created by rappers.
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On March 31, 2019, at the age of 33, Asghedom was shot to death near his clothing store in South Los Angeles. Hussle was planning a meeting with officials from the Los Angeles Police Department to deal with the dangerous behavior of the local gangs for the next day. Eric Holder was identified as a suspect due to possible personal matters. Many celebrities expressed their condolences over social media when they found out about Asghedom’s death. Impressively many people gathered in the neighborhood for the funeral procession, which could be an indicator that the local community valued him.
Hussle had a tremendous impact on the society of the area. When he was a child, Asghedom, his younger brother, and his father traveled to Eritrea, which is located in South Africa. This trip inspired the future artist to become a philanthropist and successful entrepreneur at the same time. As the years were passing, the rapper moved towards the goal. In his texts, he spoke up about his past when he was a part of a gang as he aimed to be open about gangster culture. His music was a reflection of that period of his life, which was very difficult because the members of these types of groups often ended up in prison or on drugs. This raised awareness about the issues of violence and the problems coming from it in the neighborhood. It also could contribute to attracting the attention of the government to the issue.
Moreover, Hussle wanted to bring improvements to the local schools because he wanted to increase opportunities for black men to achieve personal goals. Hussle’s clothing store promoted commerce in a lower-class area and provided chances for development for the underprivileged groups of youth. He was able to become a leader and a role model for many young adults whose parents could not afford a decent education that would lead to a rapid career path. He was encouraging children to study sciences and math, which will eventually allow them to move towards their wishes.
To increase awareness about this figure, in March 2020, the book The Marathon Don’t Stop about Hussle’s life is going to arrive. The book will consist of interviews with friends and family. The author, Rob Kenner, said that the main goal of this text would be to give Nipsey Hussle “his rightful place in the history of hip-hop, Los Angeles, and America” (Skelton). It might help the local youth to continue getting inspiration from this community activist.
To make the memory of the rapper vivid, the intersection of Slauson Avenue and Crenshaw Boulevard was renamed Ermias “Nipsey Hussle” Asghedom Square. Marathon Clothing store is located there, but it has been closed since the rapper’s death. The new name of the place forms a legacy and honors the rapper and his contribution to the neighborhood. After Hussle’s death, many people from the local communities came to arrange the memorial.
To conclude, Asghedom was definitely a notable person because he managed to become an affluent businessman and also made a significant investment in the development of the local communities of South Los Angeles. He gave hope to the young black people who are vulnerable to the violent impact of the gang culture. Hopefully, his contribution from the past will remain influential to society.
Skelton, Eric. “Exclusive: Nipsey Hussle Biography ‘The Marathon Don’t Stop’ Is in the Works.” Complex. 2019. Web.