Nipsey Hussle - Exceptions exist for a reason.

Photography: Nipsey Hussle

Photography: Nipsey Hussle

Nipsey Hussle was a rapper from L.A who tragically lost his life on Sunday 31st March 2019 at the tender age of 33.

Nipsey Hussle, who’s real name was Ermias Asghedom, was of Eritrean descent, but was raised in Crenshaw, which is south of Los Angeles, California, USA. He was a rapper like no other of his generation. Nipsey was somebody who didn’t have the controversial reputation, arrogance & animosity that is usually associated with many hip hop artists, therefore, this immediately made him stand out from the crowd & both people in the industry, music related or not, as well as listeners, quickly realized that.

I first heard Nipsey Hussle in 2013 when an old school friend of mine, Faisal, was keen to play me some of his music, so I already had a feeling what I was about to hear was going to be good. Before I knew it, Nipsey’s voice reverberated all over my car & was stuck in my mind from that moment onwards. Whether I liked the song I was played or not, it was his voice and words that caught my attention. He was clearly someone that just had ‘it’. When Faisal told me about where Nipsey came from, how he came to be, what he had invested in to be where he was, the entrepreneurial spirit he possessed etc. I was drawn to him, not only as an artist, but as a person.

What I eventually grew to learn was that Nipsey Hussle was a man who didn’t just have music on his mind. He also wanted to give back to his community, look after his people & help inspire/motivate them. As the years rolled by, he made it to the top, among the big name artists & this was undoubtedly achieved through his hard work, perseverance and his belief that he could still succeed without the need for someone above him, i.e., a record label/boss. Everything about his life, or what some people refer to as his ‘come up’, was genuinely impressive, especially as he was someone who was raised in a violent/gang laden area with little to no money. He proved that with the right mindset, dedication & commitment, you can get to where you want to be in life, should you want it enough.

One project from Nipsey that resonated with me the most was Mailbox Money, which was released in 2014. This was an album filled with great songs from top to bottom & I couldn’t listen to it enough. Every single song invoked some form of emotion and/or feeling & his overall message was to stand out from the crowd, be an entrepreneur & work hard. This was something that clearly stuck with him throughout his incline & was something that was a part of him since day one. It never felt contrived or manufactured. He was clearly a sincere & genuine person with a good heart. I never met him, but it was obvious he was a man with selfless intentions & lots of love to give & with zero negativity/hate. He was the type of person we need more of in this world.

Unfortunately, on the last day of March 2019, Ermias Ashegdom was fatally shot on the grounds of his parking lot, outside his clothing store, where he had hired ex-convicts/people with criminal records to work, so he could help them, as he knew they couldn’t get jobs elsewhere.

I suppose no matter what the speculation suggests or regardless of peoples best efforts to give us an explanation as to the feud these two people purportedly had, we will never really know what had happened prior to the events of the shooting by the alleged accused, Eric Holder. However, whatever it could have been, it surely did not need to come to what had taken place. Shooting someone, especially over what reports suggested to be a petty argument/disagreement, never, ever, needs to end up involving a gun.

If you have that much of a problem with someone, calmly ask them if it’s okay to talk & tell them how you’re feeling. Or, if that’s not possible, write them a letter, send them an email, drop them a text. Walk away from the situation if you have to & come back another day, when you’ve calmed down. Perhaps say your 2 cents there and then & get it off your chest. If you’re unable to simply accept what someone has said to you, then vocally exhale what has bothered you. Whichever method you choose, you must never forget that communication is key & letting things build up inside you will cause harm to both the person in question and the person who it is you have an issue/s with. Fortunately, not all situations like this will end in the same fashion, but that’s not the point. The lesson that needs to be learnt from this is that violence doesn’t solve a thing & murdering someone in cold blood, is, 100% , not the answer.

At the end of it all, no matter how I feel about the situation, a 33 yeard old man known as Nipsey Hussle to his fans & Ermias Asghedom to his family/friends, has tragically and unnecessarily lost his life. He was widely accepted as a prolific entrepreneur, rapper, activist, revolutionary, inspiration & all the other great things he was and was known for. Every time I see his picture, I’m reminded, both at the same time, of his great music/incredible aura & the tragedy that he faced of his life being taken away from him at a moments notice. He had so much to live for still, so much more to give, so many more people to inspire/help. All he was doing was talking with his friends on that Sunday, outside his own shop he had bought in the poverty stricken area he decided to stay in, to help the people he didn’t want to leave behind.

Nipsey Hussle was taken far, far too soon & under circumstances I cannot comprehend and probably never will. I hope his legacy continues to live on, his music played for years to come & a memory we will continue to see embraced.

Finally, I just want to say thank you for your spirit, energy & soul, Nipsey. You reminded me of 2pac in many ways & just like him, you will never be forgotten. You are forever in my memory & I will always remember the times your music brought me up when I was down. I like to think you’re in a better place than this & I’m truly sorry you had to go so soon.

Rest In Peace & thank you for everything you had given, not only to me, but to people all over the world who’s lives you have changed for the better.