Nipsey Hussle was a prolific artist, activist, investor and entrepreneur whose death on March 31, 2019, at the hands of a lone gunman sent shockwaves through the world. The impact of Nipsey Hussle's death was on full display during his public memorial and subsequent 25.5-mile procession through Los Angeles on April 11. Though the toll of Nipsey's loss on the culture of hip-hop may not become fully evident until much later, during this time of collective mourning, I take solace in knowing that Nipsey Hussle, born Ermias Asghedom, lived a life filled with, dedicated to and surrounded by love.

I've been struggling with finding the words and coming to terms with the overwhelming sense of sadness I've been feeling. Perhaps because I'm still grieving the loss of a family member, who, in the prime of his life, left us unexpectedly earlier this year. Or maybe it's because of the reality that at 33, Nipsey, in his "Jesus Year" was just getting started. Perhaps it's tied more closely to the way in which he died: gunned down on the land he owned, in the city he loved, on the blocks he refused to leave behind during his ascent.

This loss feels different though, not simply because of the music he created, the activism or emphasis on creating, establishing and maintaining generational wealth, but because for many, and especially for Black creatives who call the worlds of music and technology home, Nipsey Hussle represented our collective hope.

For this generation of Black creatives, making our way to success despite the odds stacked against us, occupying spaces not meant for us and navigating a world hellbent on destroying us, Nipsey's vision for generational wealth, connectivity through technology and emphasis that one part of the whole succeeding means we all have the opportunity to succeed resonated with us on a cellular level. Whether we always agreed with his takes on issues or not, we at least respected his ambition. For many of us struggling to make it out of the circumstances that birthed us, it was a shared vision.

The one thing I've learned about grief is that in order to heal, we need to acknowledge the emotions and allow ourselves to move through the spaces. As the days have turned to weeks, I've been finding the most healing through Nipsey's own words. 

Here are seven lessons I've gleaned:

1. "Find your purpose or you're wasting air."

 from "Victory Lap"

Nipsey Hussle knew his purpose and set about fulfilling it with every action he took. From opening Vector90 in the heart of his community to his efforts to buy back the block, and an extensive investment portfolio, which included real estate ventures and new technologies, it was very clear that Nipsey Hussle had a plan and he wasted no time enacting it. As creatives, we tend to hoard our visions in an effort to wait for the right time, moment or opportunity to present itself. The lesson I'm taking is to release that s**t and be obedient to the inherent purpose we have to create and cultivate our communities. 

2. "Ain't really trip on the credit, I just paid all of my dues."

from "Hussle & Motivate" 

In the stories that have come to light in the weeks since his passing, Nipsey Hussle did the work, often in silence and often without regard for who would get the recognition.  He and his partners did the work because they knew it needed to be done and didn't worry about who would take credit for it. The lesson I take from this is that there will always be moments where the work you're doing may not be ideal, but it shouldn't stop you from doing the work.  When you're sparred by a purpose greater than you, you recognize that it's not about you, and in doing so – it frees you up to take massive action and leave an enormous imprint.

3. "F**k living basic, I'm taking risks. F**k what they saying, I'm saying this. Don't waste your time, it don't make you rich."

from "Hussle & Motivate"

This one is self-explanatory. Life is short and can be taken in an instant, so it's best to take the risks while you can and drown out the noise of those who don't understand.  When you're implementing your vision, there will be a lot of naysayers and people who doubt it, but tunnel vision will allow you to focus on what truly matters: implementing.  Wasting time and sitting on your visions because of another's doubts won't make you successful, but do you know what will make you successful? Going all in on your dream and vision the same way Nipsey did. 

4.  "Dedication, hard work plus patience. Sum of all my sacrifice."

from "Dedication" 

It's going to take a lot for you to reach that pinnacle, but dedication to the craft, unrelenting hard work, and patience through the process is going to ensure that you're ready when success comes.  A thing we can take away from the numerous interviews, songs, and moments Nipsey left us with, is that he knew his purpose and was dedicated to seeing it through.  In many ways, creatives understand the sacrifices we make today aren't really about us, it's about the privilege of impact that will reverberate for generations.  I think Nipsey understood this more than anyone.

5. "Never let a hard time humble us."

from "Double Up" 

You're going to encounter a lot of moments that will bring you to your knees, but you can't allow it to influence you to give up. Period.  As a Black creative, we have a responsibility to pave the way and make the road easier to travel for those who come after us.

6. "… Loyalty and love, in the dream we trust."

from "Grinding All My Life" 

The lesson here is to dedicate yourself to your dreams, surround yourself with love and those who will be loyal to you and your vision.  Nipsey Hussle taught us that the right team going all in on a vision that no one can see but you, will eventually help to illuminate it for the world. So, my advice to Black creatives who are struggling to find their way through the maze of emotions losing Nipsey Hussle has brought forth, is to GO ALL IN, build you team and fulfill the purpose you set out.

7. "… Live your life and grow"I'd tell you, Finish what we started, reach them heights, you know?"

from "Racks in the Middle"

Perhaps the most poignant line Nipsey ever gifted us with was in the last single he released while alive, Racks in the Middle was meant to be an ode to his deceased friend but has morphed into a monument we'll use to honor him for years to come; so, in his own words, live your life and grow! 

As the Preacher so poignantly pointed out during his memorial service, Nipsey's marathon has become a relay.  As we make our way through this grief, it's important to remember that we're still here and still capable of picking up the baton to keep going.  The best way to honor Nipsey Hussle is to continue his work, stream his music, invest in his endeavors and give back to our communities.