Rest Well, Neighborhood Nip’

When I was Music Ed. Asst. at VIBE back in the day, one of the things I did was essentially host new artists. If you were a new act in Hip-Hop/R&B and your label/team knew right, they’d plan a meet-and-greet with our staff.

In 2009 Nipsey Hussle visited our office a little after we moved to Wall Street. I got him situated in the conference room. Wrangled staff to come listen to “this LA rapper with a Snoop feel.” (I was trying to sell jaded staffers on leaving their desks to hear new music.)

Once I loaded his CD into the boom box and hit play, everyone acted like being there was a decision they didn’t make reluctantly. Lol, he was dope! I remember liking “Hussle in the House.” But what I loved was the brief Q&A I had with him in the conf. room when the music stopped.

I’m not going to lie to y’all and act like I remember specific words from that chat. But I do recall being impressed with him because listening to him speak and hearing his accent, slang, and such… you’d think he was just another around-the-way LA hood cat. Wrong.

His ideas were elevated. He talked about investing in real estate being a goal. He talked about how being in the studio was the key to leaving the mess of his old life behind. He talked about wanting to put his people on.

In the years since it was a joy to see Nipsey hustle and win. Especially last year. His album Victory Lap was as good of a business move as it was musically (And musically it was great!). I enjoyed his press run for it, too.

In interviews he talked about getting his body and mind right. Manifestation/visualization. Being a true businessman. You could tell he’d taken The Turn. Like he had ascended and become a true hero of our culture that was doing good in our community with his actions. Inspiring!

I think that’s when our stars become most dangerous. When they’re connected and communicate their success blueprint to their community. When they’re not greedy and try to lift more of their people up by using their voice to share. Nipsey seemed like that dude.

Neighborhood Nip. I loved that nickname.

His death hurts. I just hate it when it looks like the bad guys won. They took one of the good ones. Took a guy that people could feel because he literally could still be touched. He was still in the hood. Not stunting or showing out.

Doing business. Bringing money into it. Lifting it up. Showing people the way daily. Ugh. I don’t have a thoughtful finale to this chain. It sucks that he’s gone. He was good for us. He was good.