It has been a little over three years since Grammy-Award-winning rapper Nipsey Hussle was shot and killed outside of The Marathon, his clothing store in Los Angeles. His alleged shooter, Eric Holder, was arrested by Los Angeles police in April of 2019 and on July 6, 2022 was found guilty of murder.
Nipsey Hussle (nee Ermias Asghedom) was more than just a rapper. Yes, he was a Grammy-winning artist, but his main concern was to uplift Black people. For many years, he had been trying to broker peace between rival gangs in Los Angeles. Hussle was associated with the Rolling ‘60s Crips, and with the help of Bloods-affiliated rapper Game, he sought to bring the two factions together.
After his death, a cease-fire jumped off between gangs in South Central LA. Sadly, Nip didn’t live to see his main goal come to life. “[The ceasefire] created an opportunity for conversations to happen, for communication to happen, for leadership to happen that maybe wouldn't have happened otherwise in the memory and spirit of Nipsey Hussle,” Anne Tremblay, director of the Gang Reduction and Youth Development program in Los Angeles, told The Associated Press last year.
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During Nipsey’s funeral at The Staples Center, thousands came to pay their respects and hear the heartfelt eulogies celebrating Hussle’s life. Snoop Dogg told a story about “getting pushed up on” by Hussle when he was just starting out and trying to get the veteran rapper to listen to his mixtape. A letter written by Barack Obama recounting how his daughters, Sasha and Malia, introduced him to Nipsey’s music was read, and Stevie Wonder expressed his hopes that Hussle’s would inspire people to do something about gun violence.
After the funeral, hundreds lined the sidewalks as a 25-mile procession made its way through the streets of Los Angeles passing by places significant to Hussle’s life, including his childhood home. Rival gang members turned up to watch, something that never would’ve happened in the past because gang members don’t travel to areas controlled by others.
Beyond brokering peace on the streets, Nipsey promoted keeping money within the Black community and helping Black people find ways to pass on generational wealth. He made sure to employ neighborhood people in the clothing store and fish market he owned.
Having initial success putting out mixtapes, Nipsey created an independent record label called All Money In, which partnered with Atlantic Records in 2018 to widen distribution just before the release of his debut album Victory Lap.
Many fans of Hussle’s music viewed the rapper and his girlfriend, actress Lauren London, as a power couple. The two had a son together and were raising his teen daughter.
“The Day Of Ermias’ transition changed the course of my life forever,” London wrote on the two year anniversary of his death. “Two years and it feels like yesterday and an eternity all at the same time. Grief and Healing have been constant companions on this journey. In Honor of His life and demonstration... May all of Heaven exalt Your name for all You did on Earth and beyond. Brave and Beloved Soul, Ermias. You are missed deeply. You are loved immensely. You will forever be. I love you eternally. Your Boogie”