Nipsey, Black Millennials Will Make Sure Your Legacy Never Dies
Why we’ll never forget the Tupac of our generation.
It's been almost two weeks since Nipsey Hussle was taken from us, and moments before his memorial where over 20,000 prepare for the rappers final victory lap, the culture is still processing. California rapper Reason TDE's tweet said it best: "yes we're still talking about Nipsey."
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We weren’t old enough to remember the impact of Pac and B.I.G’s death. Our parents did their best to make sure that we understood their mark on hip-hop culture as we nodded our heads in the backseat to their music, but with Nipsey - this hits differently.
Critics will say that many only acknowledged him once he achieved mainstream success with his Grammy-nominated album Victory Lap, but now that he’s gone, it really doesn’t matter how you came to know him. So, whether it was the hundred dollar mixtape, Lauren London, the Dr. Sebi documentary, or you became a fan without even realizing it was happening because he's all your man listened to, here's what you soon realized - there will never be another like Ermias Asghedom.
Photo: Stephen Carr
As teenagers, we rapped the lyrics of B.I.G and Tupac's lyrics with pride. But now, our hearts hurt as we listen to Nipsey because we understand what we lost, and we know, that he was just getting started. We stream his music, but it hurts to hear his voice. We still aren't ready. We hear his determination on Victory Lap knowing that he had finally shown mainstream what he was capable of since his first mixtape Slauson Boy.
Beyond the music, we lost so much more than just a rapper. Emani and Kross lost their father, Lauren lost her husband, Black Sam lost his brother, Angelique and Dawit lost their son, and the culture lost a true leader. Nipsey left a legacy at only 33 years old. He was a leader who invested in his community and had plans to expand his STEM program Too Big To Fail across the country. A hip-hop activist who did far more than just talk about change, he was at the helm of it. In a time where being woke is trendy, his consciousness spans back over a decade.
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Instagram archives show a young Hussle sharing his views on colonialism, investing in real estate, and the importance of Black people returning to Africa to discover our ancestry. He was our Tupac, and he understood that once he had the ear of people like him, he had to do far more than just rap. So, he told us the importance of ownership, addressing post-traumatic stress due to gang violence, and leading by example by buying back the same strip mall he used to sell mixtapes in front of.
Months from now, when mainstream media has moved on, and when Twitter hashtags change, we won't forget you. We will love and lift up Lauren as our parents did Faith, and years from now we'll play your music for our children with pride as we tell them "you don't know nothing 'bout this"- and they'll know how you left your mark on the culture, and the world. Our grandparents had Dr. King and Malcolm X, our parents had Tupac and Biggie, but Nipsey is ours. His legacy means something to Black millennials because he's one of us - and we'll never forget that.