Copyright © FARRINHEIT Entertainment & Media 2019
Analyzing one that resembles living a purpose-filled life, Ermias Asghedom known to the world as Nipsey Hussle is a testament of that. Today he's known to have shifted the world as a servant, an educator and change agent, but the true shift of Nipsey Hussle's life impact did not happen overnight. Over the years he's displayed how majestic life can become when you unlock your purest self, tap into your potential, and share it with the world for the betterment of it. Hussle created 'The Marathon;' a figurative motivational race that represents more than just a brand that coincides with his career as an artist, but a life module filled with wisdom, hope and realistic gems to achieving your best self. The Marathon spearheaded by Nipsey Hussle invited us all and was advertently crafted for a body of people to connect to a movement that felt authentic.
"Find your purpose or you wasting air..."
Nipsey Hussle is 1-of 1. A fusion of factors from the foundation of his upbringing, high intellect, inquisitive mind, leadership, triumph, experiences, fearlessness, to his daring innovation attributed to the makeup of becoming a legend of his own. Whether you've been paying attention to his moves throughout his career or not, it feels like Hussle mastered these abilities while still craving knowledge.
Moreso, Nipsey Hussle understood that vision is what establishes legacy. The Marathon positions you to travel through life at your on your own pace and prepares lessons along the way. It symbolizes humbleness, giving, humility, love, respect, a code of honor, strength, successes and failures, teaching and learning, sowing and reaping, manifestation, perseverance, representation, family, ownership and freedom. The Marathon has had a building momentum as people have pledged their own journey to "Hussle and motivate."
For Nipsey Hussle, the marathon was a spiritual and introspective journey. His accomplishments in addition to his shortcomings, were all aligned to his calling. He was in touch early on of a divine purpose. Hussle not only was raised and influenced by both parents (in separate households), his grandparents and older brothers but also by his community. His community reflects a bigger portrait of a world where black people suffer from oppression by a national system designed to keep people trapped not just in their low-income areas or locked in prison, but in a dangerous mindset that doesn't enable individuals to prosper.
"I know I'm still great in spite of my mistakes...I knew I was drummin' to a different beat. Felt it in my stomach, I was just unique...I knew self destruction ain't the only way. Sometimes perfect timing feels like I'm too late, but I know you're still great in spite of your mistakes. Before you run your race you gotta find a pace. Just make sure you cross the line and fuck the time it takes."
Like many, Nipsey's awareness of his uniqueness did not stop him from imperfection and mistakes. His older brother Blacc Sam recalled a time Hussle built a computer at the age of 12. The forces of the outside world failed to prevent a brilliant adolescence like himself from becoming a product of his South Central environment -indulging in gang activity, falling trap to criminal justice system, inheriting the the street life. Transitioning into young adulthood Ermias Asghedom felt the weight of nature vs. nurture and how that related to people like himself. Essentially that revelation saved his life. Tapping into a childhood dream of being an artist birthed Nipsey Hussle. As an artist, Nipsey Hussle was praised for his storytelling. He shared a series of life events that pushed a young Ermias from LA to morph into a man like taking his first trip to Africa at 18 to discover his Eritrean roots, recounting swimming in the Red Sea that Moses parted, becoming a father, bearing a witness to crime and death, incarceration, self educating and trying to make something out of nothing by hustling. The makings molded a now famous rapper, Nipsey Hussle.
Nipsey Hussle's heart, soul and the imprint of his life resides in the Crenshaw/Slauson district on the westside of Los Angeles, California. For those that didn't grow up in LA, black culture connected to the Crenshaw area from visuals Love and Basketball or Moesha. A younger generation might credit Nipsey or Jhene Aiko for introducing them to their home. His music reflects not just the 60th block, but west and south LA in a post "Straight Outta Compton" era. Nipsey's era was the mixtape era, where he came up selling CDs out of the back of his trunk before receiving larger recognition with the evolution of the blog/digital era. By the time Nipsey Hussle's notoriety expanded, he was at the forefront of the fresh voices of LA including Dom Kennedy, Kendrick Lamar (K. Dot), Casey Veggies, Ab-Soul, Jay Rock, YG, Tyga, Odd Future, Pac Div and Vince Staples. At the top of 2018 Hussle released his debut album Victory Lap, which was deemed an ironic debut because in reality he was already considered a veteran.
Apart of Hip-Hop's extensive west coast lineage, with "Slauson Boy" tatted on his back, Nipsey Hussle made sure everyone knew where he was from. He often referred to himself as his generation's Tupac and was compared to Snoop Dogg. It wasn't hard for people to compare Nipsey to Pac, as both young men held profound perspectives and at heart were radicals. As a millennial raised in the 90's, Nipsey seemed wise beyond his years. His name held weight in every hood in LA, the by the OGs, the gangs and the LA legends. He acquired the nickname "Nayborhood Nip," as a man of the people. Larger than being well-respected in his neighborhood and in music, Nipsey Hussle's real name speaks volumes of its own. If you didn't know his name, did you realize you saw it every time you looked at him? "God Will Rise," inked on the side of his face translates his African name Ermias. It was not until Hussle was in his late 20s that he discovered the meaning of his name which further pushed him to his destiny. One key characteristic Hussle possessed is self-identity. Many African Americans lacked true self identity as many of us don't know where our lineage originated from often stopping at grandparents. He was proud a black American and African where he could directly connect to his origins.
Crenshaw, the 2013 mixtape collaboration with DJ Drama is what set Nipsey Hussle apart from other artists. It proved that his efforts for self educating and becoming a business man could really pay off. Only reading the first two chapters of the book Contagious, Hussle had a light bulb moment. Nipsey Hussle no longer wanted to rely on rapping to pay the bills. He wanted to create a niche to dive deeper into broadening his enterprise. After succeeding his "Proud 2 Pay" campaign selling 1,000 of his Crenshaw CDs for $100 each, Nipsey's team honed in on taking things to the next level. Hussle and his brother Samiel have been transparent of facing years of adversity like being arrested for selling merchandise and loosing a retail space but in 2017, they achieved opening their flagship store The Marathon Clothing on the corner of Slauson and Crenshaw Blvd. In celebration of Hussle debuting his first major release Victory Lap under his label and Atlantic Records, he announced they are now owners of the plaza The Marathon store is housed.
"So one of our investments had become strategic
Summer roll '18, man it's such a season
'Bout to make my partners look like fuckin' geniuses"
The culture of Hip-Hop turned their heads to Nipsey Hussle, especially after Jay-Z purchased 100 copies of his Crenshaw mixtape. Nip was Hip-Hop's next mogul. The intellect he possessed, people now paid attention to what he was teaching through his actions. Coming from the South of Wilshire Blvd, Nipsey wasn't motivated to become a mogul by contributing to Hollywood. He built in his community. He understood his value and didn't fold. Rarely do you hear "I" from Nipsey speaking business. Even as an artist Nipsey Hussle always articulated "we." He was a team player and prioritized to continue with the solid people he started with.
He connected and sought mentorship from people outside of his childhood friends and learned to invest in businesses outside of music. Despite getting outside counsel, at the core of his businesses is family. Hussle employed and partnered with those whose opportunities may have been stifled due to their socioeconomic oppression. It's also important to note Nipsey Hussle surrounded himself with a tribe of strong black women from his personal to his business life. He took pride in raising two young black children, a daughter and son. Hussle talked about the lessons his father engraved in him and the things he intended on passing down to his children. Vision establishing legacy surpassed his life's work of evolving the territory of Crenshaw/Slauson and empowering a body of people. Being a good and active father to his children as well as leaving something for his family is the foundation he set to lay. Nipsey Hussle's hands, money and mind are included in a plethora of businesses:
All Money In No Money Out (label), The Marathon Clothing (the world's first smart store), a Marathon OG (marijuana dispensary), The Marathon Agency (marketing company), Follow Coin (a Amsterdam-based cryptocurrency company), Our Opportunity which first launched Vector90 (STEM program and co-working space), Steve's Barber Shop, World on Wheels Skating Rink, Elite Human Hair, Fatburger, Baba Leo's (restaurant), a The Virgin Las Vegas (hotel/resort), the plaza at the intersection of Crenshaw/Slauson. He's involved in a district project "Destination Crenshaw" to stimulate the area's economy with more opportunities for local businesses and LA's city expansion to the area. Hussle also talked to tap into the film/TV industry. Producer and writer Lena Waithe shared that he auditioned for role in her show The Chi. Additionally, he was a brand ambassador for Puma and had recently joined forces with Roc Nation. Nipsey dreamt of making $100million and being apart of billion dollar industries. He had heart to take risk and faith to believe. Hussle named his daughter Emani, which he revealed means "beautiful faith."
"I taught all my niggas how to fish. Some caught more than others. Some said they rather be fed. Some past me up in the process, but at the end of it all. I know I ain't hide the game from my people, and I'm Real for that."
Aside from being a serial entrepreneur, (that at times he was publicized and popularized for more than rap) Nipsey Hussle Tha Great is an artist. He is Hip-Hop. His street mentality and rags to riches story is Hip-Hop. He admired and emulated the greats hence "Eric B by the rope chain." He appreciated the art of storytelling and a soulful sample. Writing and rapping is embedded in his identity traced back to childhood. As an artist, his goal is to make music that inspired an emotional reaction. Nipsey Hussle's music speaks against complacency and campaigns to execute your goals.
Prior to his debut release under a major label, Nipsey had released a little less than a dozen projects independently. Victory Lap stayed in the conversation as the best album of 2018 and was awarded a Grammy nomination. Victory Lap's timeless production and lyrical content will for sure add itself to the Hip-Hop classic album list. It is reflective to an evolved Nipsey Hussle and shouts black empowerment. Through his music, interviews, and business moves Nipsey Hussle dug deep into the genetics of blacks and pulled the roots for intellectual understanding. He spoke on violence, racism, privilege, mental health, police brutality, poverty and wealth. He quoted "the highest human act is to inspire," and internalized that responsibility. What made him relatable as a leader and an artist is his known Nipsey laid back, confident, asuring, humble demeanor with mixings of humor and gold flashiness.
"I'm so proud of everything he accomplished, and everything that he meant to the people. People that he motivated on so many different levels. And just his attitude, his spirit. Staying humble at all times and giving so much of himself to everybody...He never hesitated to educate. He led by example and he was real big on education. He always educated himself. He said it was about empowerment. He spoke about how empowerment and opportunity helped him at a young age and paved the way for him to achieve his destiny; for him to see what life had for him. And anything that he learned he always brought it back to anyone who was willing to listen." - Samiel "Blacc Sam" Asghedom (Complex, 2019)
During an interview with Rap Radar in late 2018, Hussle was asked what is the finish line of 'The Marathon' for himself.
"At the end of life. It's not limited to music, that point of view. It's not about making music, it's about a mentality in my opinion and how to take your lumps in life. You gon take your L's and gon have your ups and downs. A philosophy or point of view of how to look at the journey, you know what I mean? You got where you're at and where you trying to be and you got all this shit in between that won't even matter when you get here. It was a way of inspiring myself also, it was like a pep talk I was telling myself while i was in a vulnerable moment. [The Marathon] it don't stop. I been doing this."
On March 31, 2019, Nipsey Hussle's earthly run was stolen from him. That day his eternal marathon began. An eerie feeling lingers through the spirits of millions of people around the world. The vibration of Los Angeles has altered. The impact of Ermias Ashgedom's life was felt immediately and a gut wrench of void was initiated. In sadness, there's a warm feeling that fills hearts knowing he did what he was put here to do. He taught, he loved, he fought, he changed, he created, he lived. Nipsey Hussle once said "when you leave the only way you gon be fulfilled is if you gave everything you had and you emptied yourself here. You left it all here because cause its temporary and you got a moment."
Nispey Hussle Tha Great won at life. The took victory lap he took was with so much energy and grace. We all learned how to do so much with little. We learned how to be flawed and still impact with valuable teachings. We learned how to set our price high and sell our own dream. We learned that you will never be perfect, but you can always change your life. We learned to hustle, the Hussle way. We learned to trust the process. We learned to stay down with your people, but also surround yourself with those that make you level up. We learned to level up our own. We learned that you don't have to be a billionaire to buy the block. We learned to pay attention to who's really "doing it for the culture" and who's not. We learned that not even the streets can stop a divine purpose. We learned the importance of finding and staying connected to our roots.
So many of us are still in the race, therefore The Marathon Continues!