Hussle & Motivate: Celebrate The Life Of Nipsey Hussle With These 10 Tracks From The Emcee, Entrepreneur & Activist

From the West Coast rapper’s debut mixtape to his first major label album Victory Lap, we look at the best joints from his legendary catalog.

Airmiess Joseph Asghedom, known to the world as Nipsey Hussle, left a lasting impact on both his native city Los Angeles and the world at large before dying at 33 years old. Since dropping his debut mixtape Slauson Boy Volume 1 in 2005, the West Coast emcee would release a handful of projects including the groundbreaking mixtape Crenshaw and Grammy-nominated major label debut Victory Lap.

This doesn't even consider his humanitarian work and innovative entrepreneurship that placed a technologically progressive Marathon Clothing Store off Slauson and Crenshaw.

However, for many fans of the late rapper, it starts with the music. On the anniversary of the Los Angeles native’s death, we look into some of his greatest musical moments over the past decade.

  • Racks in the Middle

    Released a little over a month before Hussle's death, "Racks in the Middle'' is a joint collaboration with one of his first big co-signs Roddy Ricch alongside Grammy Award-winning producer Hit-Boy. The record has the rapper/entrepreneur discussing all of his success with classic bars like "Another million dollar bail, that's just some regular shit/ See my granny on a jet, some shit I'll never forget / Next day we flew to Vegas, with my Puma connects." The record would earn Hussle his first Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance a year later.

  • Ocean Views

    Hussle’s final commercial mixtape release Slauson Boy 2 dropped on August 15, 2016, which was also his birthday. The project featured guest appearances from Snoop Dogg, Young Dolph, Mozzy, Dave East, Young Thug and a host of others. One of the most popular tracks from the project was the mixtape opener “Ocean Views.” An aspirational track with the chorus starting with “Ocean views, small circle, it's a chosen few / I wrote it down then I followed through” was all about executing one’s vision.

  • FDT

    Hip-Hop has always served as a voice for the oppressed. Between overt racism, misogyny, classism, anti-immigration rhetoric and everything in between, it made sense for Hussle and YG to link up for “FDT.” Standing for “F**k Donald Trump,” the single was released at the height of the 2016 election that Trump would eventually win. If the song didn’t do anything, it proved that the culture wasn’t a fan of the reality star and mogul turned politician.

  • Hussle & Motivate

    When it comes to aspirational messages Hussle wrote in his rhymes, there isn’t a better example than Victory Lap track number seven, “Hussle & Motivate.” Since its release, “It’s all I’m tryna do, hustle and motivate” has become a saying that’s reverberated throughout the culture. Mike & Keys, Rance, Brody Brown, Street Symphony and D.O. Speaks produced the track alongside featuring additional vocals from Lauren London.

  • Checc Me Out

    It’s safe to say that Hussle’s Crenshaw mixtape would forever change the way artists packaged products with project releases. Through his Proud2Pay campaign, 1,000 hard copies of the project featured a concert ticket and other incentives. Jay Z had reportedly purchased 100 copies himself. That doesn’t dismiss the project's musical quality, including the mixtape highlight “Checc Me Out” featuring Dom Kennedy and Cobby Supreme.

  • Status Symbol 3

    Hussle recruited Compton emcee Buddy for track number eight on Victory Lap titled “Status Symbol 3.” The track, produced by Mike & Keys, has both rappers driving through the streets as they remember everything that got them to where they were at. Rhymes like “Always had the passion, n-gga, this a classic / How we came from nothing, went and got established” further drive home the point.

  • Killer

    According to an interview Hussle did with VladTV in 09, “Killer” was initially recorded after Drake blew up with his breakout So Far Gone mixtape. Released in 09, the track has become known for being one of the standouts during the blog era. Beyond the web, the record even got some radio love as well.

  • Grinding All My Life

    Another Victory Lap standout, “Grinding All My Life” has become one of those Hussle mainstays within his catalog. Most recently the third film in Michael B. Jordan’s Creed franchise had Jonathan Major’s character Dame walk out to it. “Grinding All My Life, Sacrificed, hustled, paid the price” is a mantra that’s relatable to anyone trying to get it.

  • What it Feels Like

    Featured on the soundtrack for the Judas and the Black Messiah after Hussle’s death, “What it Feels Like” is a collaborative joint with Jay Z himself. Similar to many other tracks from Hussle, there’s a militant vibe that fits right in line with the film about Black Panther Fred Hampton with lyrics like “Young Malcolm, I’m the leader of the movement out this bitch.”

  • Last Time That I Checc’d

    “Last Time That I Checc’d” may be the fourth Victory Lap track on this list, but it’s definitely one of the most significant. Whether it’s the video showing gang unity with featured rapper YG, the Rams making it their entrance theme for the 2021 NFL season including the Super Bowl or the hundreds of times it's been played during sports highlight reels, the track itself is pure West Coast bravado that only Hussle could provide.

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