I am a freelance writer with a BA in Communications from the University of Toledo.
Nipsey Hussle was a California-based rapper who recently rose to fame because of his Grammy Nomination for his first studio-produced album, Victory Lap.
The nomination catapulted Hussle onto the mainstream stage and gained him national attention. Before that point, his fame had been mostly centered in California, specifically Los Angeles. Although Hussle had been rapping and producing mixtapes for over a decade, his fame had stayed centered around his South Central Los Angeles roots.
All of that changed, however, when he signed with Atlantic Records and produced his album Victory Lap. Almost immediately, he was thrust into the bright lights of mainstream rap music and, as the saying goes, "the rest is history."
On the Rise
Nipsey Hussle had been doing what his last name stated for over ten years . . . hustling.
From the early 2000s until his big break with Victory Lap, Nipsey made his money the old-fashioned way, hustling on the street corners of South Central L.A. He sold mixtapes out of the trunk of his car. He sold T-shirts and socks from a table he and his brother Samiel set up in the parking lot of a local strip mall. Basically, he did whatever he needed to in order to make money.
Not everything he did was legal, and on one occasion he was arrested and spent a short time incarcerated. After getting out, however, he turned his attention to strictly doing things above board, which included rapping.
In his heart of hearts, Nipsey wanted to be a rapper, and he devoted himself to achieving his dream with laser focus. Gradually he moved away from other activities and focused the majority of his energies to establishing a rap career.
Within a short period of time, Nipsey began to gain attention from established artists in the rap community, including Jay-Z, The Game, and Snoop Dogg. Before long, he was sharing the stage as an opening act with several rap icons.
Nipsey was a very gifted rapper and lyricist, which helped him to leapfrog to the upper registers of the rap community, culminating in his nomination for a Grammy on his first studio-produced album.
The Grammy nomination signaled that Nipsey had arrived and had nowhere to go but to the top.
Nipsey's rise in popularity changed the landscape of his life forever. Now he was known nationally and even internationally. Truly his life had changed dramatically.
With recognition comes responsibility and, unfortunately, those who are jealous of your achievements. With Nipsey, it was no different. His fame and success created haters who were envious of his rise in popularity. But in contrast to those who envied him, Hussle remained humble and always gave credit to those around him, realizing he didn't achieve success by his own efforts alone.
As Nipsey rose in the ranks of celebrity, it became necessary for him to adapt to his newfound position. Bodyguards and security became necessary which clashed with Nipsey's free-wheeling style of going wherever he wanted whenever he wanted. He was known to travel into rival gang neighborhoods, which was dangerous especially being that he was a past member of the Rolling 60's gang. But moved about without fear which unfortunately probably was a contributing factor in his murder.
A Fateful Event
On March 31, 2019, a day before it was reported he was to meet with the Los Angeles police to discuss reducing gang violence, Nipsey Hussle was gunned down himself in what police called a gang-related shooting.
Within hours, police had the name of the alleged shooter and a description of him. Two days after Hussle was killed the Los Angeles police had Eric Holder in custody. They charged him with murder and attempted murder and booked him into the Los Angeles County jail.
Since his arrest, many things have occurred, one being the release of a surveillance tape from a gas station that is adjacent to The Marathon Clothing Store where Hussle was shot to death. The video is grainy and unclear and appears to show a man who police say is Holder shoot a male in a white headdress that we are told was Hussle. It is impossible to identify anyone in the video, which leaves us with some serious questions as to the identity of both the victim and the assailant.
Is Nipsey Really Dead?
Because of the unclear video footage, many conspiracy theories have surfaced, including some that claim Nipsey is not dead. Others make the claim that that it is not Eric Holder in the video. Whatever the case two things are for sure: We haven't seen or heard from Nipsey Hussle since that day, and police are holding Eric Holder for Nipsey's murder.
But therein lies the suspicion. Did Eric Holder really shoot and kill Nipsey Hussle? From the gas station video we cannot make out anyone clearly and this has fueled suspicions as to who shot Nipsey.
In the video, we can see someone walk up to someone else wearing a white headdress, but we can't tell with any certainty who the individuals are. And if this is all the video the police and district attorney's office have of the incident, they have a very weak case. And in that instance it leaves the door wide open for Eric Holder to walk away a free man.
Then there is the question that even if Eric Holder did shoot Nipsey Hussle, did he do it on his own or was he a hired assassin? And if he was a hired assassin, who hired him?
A lot of unanswered questions surround this incident that, unless answered, may leave Nipsey Hussle's murder unsolved. And that in and of itself would be a crime.
Looking back nearly 3 months later, I believe it is safe to say Nipsey Hussle was shot and killed in front of his beloved clothing store on March 31, 2019. He left behind two children, a brother, a sister, grandmother, mother, and father. The real tragedy in all this is that Hussle had turned his life around from a gangbanging past and was on his way to stardom, wealth and becoming a pillar in his community and an icon and role model for millions of youth across the country.
Nipsey Hussle will not only be missed by his family and friends, but by the millions of other people whose lives he touched through his music and his social activism.
This is but another tragic story in America that ends with a gun.
God help us please.
The $64,000 Question
© 2019 Tony Daniels