Nipsey Hussle: Built My Own Lane – By Yonela Diko

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Those who have met Nipsey Hussle say he speaks like a startup geek, peppering his sentences with phrases like “consumer enhancement” and “core values”. But unlike a Silicon Valley wonder kid, his background is as raw as it gets. In the past few years, he’s completed a remarkable transformation, becoming one of the smartest, most forward-thinking artists in rap, with everybody from Rick Ross to DJ Mustard on his contacts list.

I met Nipsey Hustle on the “Fountain of Youth”, one of those signature soulful beats that bring the best of Rick Ross. I was expecting Rick Ross to make another memorable fusion of an excellent beat with his exceptional ability to match the beat pound for pound with wordplay and boy did Ross deliver.

What I did not count on was this nephew Nipsey; why was he even given the last verse, it was not a good move, considering that we always remember a song by its last verse. With no prior knowledge of him, his unimposing physic, and generally not being the most visible man in the room, Nipsey Husslte blew me out of my mind with the kind of confidence of a seasoned rapper, he did with that beat what not many rappers can do; I was immediately taken and had to do what every new fan must do; go out there and find out just who is Nipsey Hustle.

Ermias Asghedom (born August 15, 1985), better known by his stage name Nipsey Hussle (often stylized as Nipsey Hu$$le), is an American rapper from Los Angeles, California.  Nipsey has released several mixtapes, including three installments of his Bullets Ain’t Got No Name series, The Marathon, The Marathon Continues and Crenshaw, the latter of which American rapper Jay-Z, bought 100 copies of it for $100 each ($10,000 total).[2] In 2015, he plans to release his debut studio album Victory Lap, via his All Money In record label.

I needed to listen to more tracks. I needed to go back in time and journey through his music, and study the evolution of Nispey Hustle. I did not expect the kind of personal motivation from such a young fellow and I have never been happier to know an artist.

I decided to start him at the tail end, on Crenshaw. There are certain tracks in my Hip Hop journey that are carved in the walls of my heart in how they stirred me to go out and grind, and ‘u see us’ by Nipsey Hustle, immediately joined that extraordinary list the very first time I heard it.

Crenshaw, its a situation where a mixtape is greater than most of these albums out on the shelves. That is why even though  everyone had already heard every track of Crenshaw, Nipsey had the audacity to package a 1000 CD’s and sell them for $100 each and even get a special order from the one rapper who has no reason to buy anyone’s CD because he’s head it all, Jay Hova; its effectively not a mixtape; but its not an album even. Its work of art. And it takes the first three songs for you to give it that status. Its deeper than rap.

Nipsey Hussle is most definitely beyond just a rapper. He has that golden boy status of a young men told since birth that he is destined to reform the world and his greatness is written in the stars. In fact this point comes accross in his demeanor, the royal air about him, even before he tells you his mother told him he was going to be special. If I am not a prince of this, then I must be President, he says.

Nipsey Hussle comes alive right at the moment he is released from his Music Label contract and instead of searching for a new home, he decides that he had learnt enough from the label to stand on his own two feet and run a label. At this stage, Nipsey becomes a symbol of motivation, proof that talent will always prevail above the politics, that authenticity, belief in ones gift, will be the ultimate decider of where we end up.

After going through trouble with Epic Records, Nipsey was released from the label in late 2010. After his release, he went on to found his own record label, All Money In. On December 21, 2010, he released his first All Money In Records mixtape, titled The Marathon. It was Nipsey against the world.

There is a level of talent that does not allow one to just use it and earn hisself a seat at the table with kings. It pushes one to seek much more, to stand for something. No material could measure what my soul’s worth, croons Nipsey, and here, he had gone on to represent the power of talent to rise above all the bulltshit. We not just here passing by and enjoying all that this good land has to offer, but we have to reinforce the principles that we find important for the sustainability of the world.

Build your own lane, make your own way, never wait for opportunity to come knocking, go out there and create your own. Believe on your own talent and never lose sight of your own worth.

Yonela Diko