OC Hip-Hop Community Mourns the Loss of Nipsey Hussle

RIP Nip (Credit: Norberto Garcia)

A revolutionary, a legend, an icon. In the wake of his tragic shooting death yesterday, OC remembers the life and times of slain-Hip Hop superstar Nipsey Hussle.

News of the unexpected death of the platinum-selling recording artist spread like wildfire Sunday afternoon (March 31) as he was reportedly shot and killed outside his South Los Angeles clothing store, Marathon Clothing. The 33-year-old was shot six times by an unknown gunman and rushed by a paramedic to a nearby hospital where he was then pronounced dead. The night before the shooting, Hussle was sitting courtside at the NCAA March Madness tournament game featuringTexas Tech vs. Gonzaga at the Honda Center in Anaheim. His last story on his Instagram account shows a photo of fireworks going off in the area after the game.

Born Ermias Joseph Asghedom, Nipsey Hussle earned worldwide notoriety with his Atlantic Records debut, Victory Lap. The album debuted at #4 on Billboard charts in February 2018, including hit singles, “Last Time That I Checc’d”, “Dedication” and “Hustle & Motivate”.  He has also shared the mic with his longtime friend and fellow emcee YG on “Fuck Donald Trump” 2016’s unofficial West Coast rap anthem. Highly respected for his signature style of songwriting and great business mind, Nipsey Hussle’s musical resume included collaborations with huge names like Drake, Childish Gambino, and Diddy.

Early in his career, Nipsey developed a strong connection with the OC. Foreseeing his greatness in infancy thanks to his successful mixtape series. Before his debut, appreciating his early works Bullets Ain’t Got No Name, Crenshaw, and Mailbox Money. Respecting his many monikers like Money Making Nip and Neighborhood Nip. Throughout his years of touring, Nipsey always made sure to schedule a date to host a show at the established Observatory.

The Santa Ana venue took a moment to remembered the star Sunday (March 31) in a retweeted of a 2015 fan video performing Crenshaw fan-favorite, “Checc Me Out”. Live Nation also remembered Nipsey with a touching tweet, “An inspiring voice, gone too soon. #RIP Nipsey Hussle”.

OC legends, mainstream, and underground flooded social media to honor the fallen with memories of his journey, wisdom, message. One of the first to issue condolences, Anaheim-native and Warner Bros recording artist Phora tweeted in disbelief Nipsey’s legacy will live on forever. “Still can’t believe the news… damn. Rest In Peace Nipsey.. they don’t love you til you’re gone, but being from California – I’ve respected you since a kid and you inspired me and everyone around me. Your memory will live forever.”

“Prayers for someone that has done so much to give back and taught me what all money in means,” San Diego-bred, former Atlantic Records recording artist Snow Tha Product captioned. “IM FUCKING SICK! this shit ain’t got no rules no more.. people don’t give a fuck how much you do for your community.. this shit hit home!”

Nipsey new recording home, Atlantic Records issued the following statement:
“Words can not express our sadness. Nipsey was not only one of the greatest artists we worked with but an amazing father & leader in his community. One of the kindest & brightest stars in the universe, he was inspiring to all. We will miss him, his music & everything he stood for.”

Santa Ana own and Tune In radio personality DJ Carisma posted several photos of her times with Nipsey throughout the years via social media with captions paying her last respects. Both known advocates of the Young California movement. Carisma was one of the first supporters of the West Coast King. Nipsey mentioned her influence on West Coast Hip Hop and the intraschool role that she played in his career in a 2014 DJ Vlad Interview. “Miss You Nipsey Hussle,” she captioned. “I NEED EVERYONE TO STREAM Nipsey Hussle AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE, SUPPORT HIS BUSINESSES AND THE BLOCK HE LEFT BEHIND. LETS MAKE SURE HIS KIDS ARE GOOD YALL! Thank you @nipseyhussle for all your talks and advice throughout the years. The definition of a KING.”

Last month, Nipsey Hussle revealed he was currently working on the release of his highly-anticipated sophomore album. In February, the Grammy-nominated (Best Rap Album) released a collaboration song with Fontana-superproducer Hit-Boy, titled, “Racks in the Middle”. Hit-Boy appeared in the song’s music video along with Compton-native and Atlantic Records recording artist Roddy Ricch. Hit-Boy and Nipsey previously collaborated on Nipsey’s debut album title track. Hit-Boy has yet to comment on the passing of his longtime friend.

Upon death, Nipsey Hussle had a large number of business affairs. Brand partnership with Puma that involved the rebuilding of inner-city basketball courts. Heavy interest in technology and real estate development. Nipsey was apart of a development group known as Destination: Crenshaw and opened a workspace for creators with business partner David Gross called Vector 90.

Nipsey Hussle recently purchases the same shopping center in which he was slain. A landmark for the mogul as it was the same exact location he began his music career. Promoting his music on the corner of the Hyde Park shopping center and eventually leasing a storefront that turned into the official Marathon Clothing store.

In a 2013 interview with the Weekly, Hussle mentioned wanting to create a similar type of business venture with his Marathon brand, a notebook, novelty and stationary store with a recording studio component, something he compared to an “Urban Sanrio.”

We want to do a store, and inside the store is a recording studio, so they can come in and witness the process while they shop for the Crenshaw sweaters, the Crenshaw beanies, or their ashtrays or keychains or calendars or whatever it is, because it’s the idea they really believe in. It’s moreso the idea than the product. When I said the ‘urban Sanrio,’ I think Hello Kitty’s the idea, the brand people connect with. Little girls connect with it, and it represents something. The pencil’s tight, the backpack’s tight, the paper’s tight. So, I think we’re doing the same thing with the Marathon concept, people are just inspired by it. It can’t be downloaded, it won’t be the victim of this digital revolution.”

Moments before his untimely death, Nipsey Hussle tweeted a now-eerie self-made phrase, “Having strong enemies is a blessing”.

Hussle’s words will be forever immortalized through music and fans. Known to educate the culture with life lessons through self-education. One of Hip Hop’s biggest role models for his entrepreneurial spirit.

“I try and put my art first, and I think that people get that I try and put my message first,” he told the Weekly. “Form follows function, and the function of what I’m doing is I want to connect to people; I want them to feel what I’m saying and relate to it and be inspired by it. That’s what I want to happen first, and then being successful is secondary.”

In his final days, Nipsey Hussle was a beacon of light everywhere he’d go. He was last seen publicly in Anaheim, enjoying the annual March Madness Tournament as he sat courtside for Texas Tech/Gonzaga. Seen through Texas Tech basketball player Brandone Francis‘ Instagram account, Nipsey enjoyed the evening fireworks, taking photos with fans, signing autographs and touching everyone he encountered with positivity.

He is survived by his two children Emani Asghedom and Kross Asghedom. Son Kross, he shared with longtime girlfriend/actress Lauren London.

OC Weekly would like to offer our condolences to the friends, family, and fans of Nipsey Hussle. A Hip Hop legend who will be sorely missed, right hand to God.

At press time, Hussle’s murderer is still at large with a manhunt underway. If you have any information regarding the whereabouts of the suspect(s), please contact the Los Angeles Police Department at (323) 846-6547.

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