Nipsey Hussle is survived by his years of work as a community activist in the South Los Angeles area. Even before his death, he was revered as one of the community's most involved leading figures whose entrepreneurial spirit motivated those he touched.
A recent Los Angeles Times feature credits Nip's visit to his father's homeland of Eritrea as the exact moment that shifted the late rapper's perspective from aspiring rapper to community leader.
Hussle — real name Ermias Asghedom — bought a plane ticket in 2004 to visit the small country in eastern Africa and stayed for three months. During his time there, he connected with family he never met prior to his trip and saw people in power who looked like him. This culture shock is what the publication credits for his then intense passion for community building.
"The world was suddenly bigger than the Crenshaw district of South L.A., where he grew up with his mother and grandmother, and where neighborhoods often determine gang ties," the article said of his return to the U.S.
The rapper, himself, told Complex magazine in 2010 that the visit filled a void in him and further aided in him learning who he was.
"If you don't know your full-throttled history, the whole story of how you came to where you are, it's kind of hard to put things together," he told the publication. "That filled in a blank spot for me, as far as understanding myself."
Nipsey's admiration for the Eritrean people is mutual as, following his death, the country's minister of information, Yemane G. Meskel, as well as several Eritrean immigrants in the United States commemorated his life in their own ways.
Minister Meskel took to social media to offer his condolences and share a few kind words about Nipsey while members of the Eritrean diaspora held vigils, around the country, in his memory. Los Angeles, which stands as one of the largest enclaves of Eritrean immigrants in the United States, saw several events being held in his honor, including a spiritual healing session at an Eritrean church.
"Hussle's death has left many in mourning. But for lots of Eritreans, it's as if they have lost a son," the article explains. "To them, he was the embodiment of the dream for those in the Eritrean diaspora who hope to secure a better future for themselves and their children."
Rest in power, Nipsey Hussle.
(Photo by Scott Dudelson/Getty Images)