Ermias Asghedom, otherwise known by his artist name, Nipsey Hussle, was an influential Los Angeles rapper, activist, and entrepreneur who used his platform to better his community up until his untimely death. He was a role model to many young men and women and his music as well as his life story shows the world that a young kid from one of the most dangerous places in America has the ability to make it out successfully. Even though he was taken from the world prematurely, Nipsey Hussles’s influence on the world keeps his memory alive. Thus, the marathon will forever continue.
Early Life (The Marathon)
Nipsey Hussle was born on August 15, 1985 in Los Angeles, California to an African American mother and immigrant father. His father, Dawit Asghedom, immigrated to the United States from Eritrea to flee the civil war happening in Eritrea at the time. Growing up in Crenshaw forced Nipsey to grow up early, thus, when he was just 14 Nipsey dropped out of school and joined the rolling 60’s crips. He was not excluded from the trauma, violence, and danger that came from being in a gang. Before making music, he was deep into street life, however he was still able to use his knowledge to make legitimate sources of income. In his very first interview, viewers are able to see just how intelligent Nipsey Hussle was at a young age. He expands our knowledge about topics such as materialism, police brutality, and relationships between black and brown people in America. He also spoke about his Eritrean heritage and how the values of Eritrean culture shaped his life.
Nipsey released his first mixtape, Slauson Boy Volume 1 in 2005. He was just 19 years old and heavily involved in gang life when this mixtape dropped. The names of the songs on the mixtape such as On The Block and Grams and Gold Chains emphasizes the influence of the Rolling 60’s in Nipsey’s life. As a natural businessman, Nipsey Hussle knew the value of his work and charged accordingly. He would sell his mixtapes out of his truck all over Crenshaw. Even though other rappers were selling their mixtapes for around $5 at the time, Nipsey would charge $100 per mixtape. While this caused Nipsey to fall victim to criticism, his business skills were recognized by the right people such as Jay-Z, who bought $10,000 worth of mixtapes from Nipsey. Nipsey Hussle continued to pursue multiple sources of income, thus turning his motto, The Marathon Continues, into a clothing brand. This brand has become somewhat of an extension of Nipsey’s legacy. Each piece is curated specifically for his fans, allowing them to feel a personal connection to Nipsey Hussle. His clothes, music, influence, and intelligence keep the memory of Nipsey Hussle alive both in his hometown and across the country as well.
Rap & Other Endeavors (All Money In)
As Nipsey Hussle’s career continued to develop, his knowledge for business and entrepreneurship developed as well. At the age of 18, Hussle took a trip to Asmara, Eritrea. He fell in love with the birthplace of his father, he exclaims, “I love to be here. The people, the food, the culture, and the lifestyle are extremely good.” Nipsey Hussle’s connection to his Eritrean roots influenced his music, lifestyle, brands, and the overall image of Nipsey Hussle. Nipsey Hussle’s discography specifically contained a wide variety of rap. His lyrics ranged from street stories to melodies meant to uplift and encourage listeners. His affiliation with the Rolling 60’s failed to keep Hussle from achieving everything he was able to in the 33 years he was alive. Before his untimely death, Hussle became an advocate for the end of gang violence in Los Angeles.
Nipsey Hussle is a father to two children, Kross Asghedom and Emani Asghedom, one of which he had with his partner, Lauren London. His legacy continues through London and his children, who keep his memory alive every day. They continue to run Nipsey’s “marathon” alongside the numerous people who look up to him. “The Marathon” was more than just the name of a clothing brand or a mixtape for Nipsey Hussle; it represented his way of life, his unrelenting quest for greatness, and the perseverance needed to face challenges day after day. Hussle was adamant about entering the winner’s circle with his entire community because he was determined to win the race to success on his own terms.
The Marathon Continues (Victory Lap)
Nipsey’s music remained largely underground for the majority of his career, however, his final album, Victory Lap, skyrocketed his fame and earned him a Grammy nomination as well. After his death, he received multiple nominations as well as 2 Grammy wins. This symbolizes just how influential Nipsey was during his lifetime. His death shook the world, however, it did not erase his memory. When it was discovered that he had passed, the world was even more shocked that he had been murdered. A few hours after he tweeted about having “strong enemies,” he was gunned down outside his Marathon Clothing business in South Los Angeles. A Los Angeles County jury found Eric Ronald Holder guilty of first-degree murder in connection with Nipsey’s passing more than three years later. According to Reuters, he was also found guilty of attempted voluntary manslaughter.
- Ralph, Michael. “Higher: Reflections on the Life and Legacy of Nipsey Hussle (Ermias Asghedom).” Transforming Anthropology, vol. 27, no. 2, 2019, pp. 81–84., https://doi.org/10.1111/traa.12157.
- Dyson, Michael Eric. “Nipsey Hussle and Loving Blackness.” Auctr.on.worldcat.org, https://auctr.on.worldcat.org/oclc/8059983452.
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- Greenburg, Zack O’Malley. “Nipsey’s Never-Ending Hustle.” Forbes, vol. 202, no. 9, 2019, pp. 19–19.
- McFerguson, Marquese and Durham, Aisha (2021) “Higher Hussle: Nipsey’s Post Hip Hop Literacies,” : Vol. 16: Iss. 1, Article 4. Available at: https://digitalcommons.fiu.edu/communityliteracy/vol16/iss1/4
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