I am not a die hard Nipsey Hussle fan. If I’m being completely honest, you probably couldn’t even call me a soft fan.
If you ask me to name five Nipsey Hussle songs, I cannot. And yet, since the moment I heard about his death, I haven’t been able to escape this fog of sadness and heartbreak that is being felt all over the world by this loss. And I’m not talking the "post one R.I.P. photo and move on" type of sadness. I’m talking the sitting in the dark, contemplating life, wanting to text everyone in your contact list, listening to Adele type of sadness.
Truthfully, I really only fell in love with Nipsey Hussle on Friday, March 29, 2019. I was bored at work scrolling through YouTube videos and one of my suggested videos was a GQ couples quiz featuring Nipsey Hussle and his wife Lauren London. Like almost everyone else, man or woman, the notoriously private London will forever be the OG woman crush, so I clicked the video eager to get a peek into her relationship. I rewatched the video five more times.
In that eight-minute clip, you could see what they had was a once in a lifetime, soulmate, intimate kind of love. He killed the questionnaire, getting almost every single answer correct, showing just how much he really knew his woman. But what I loved the most about the video was his calm confidence. He didn’t feel like he had to prove to anyone how much he knew her, he just did. After watching the video, it was the first time I searched for “nipseyhussle” on Instagram, where I spent a couple minutes looking through his photos before I went to stalk Ms. London a little more. And then two days later I heard the news that he had been shot.
I’ve seen the comments from the “real” Nipsey fans: “You people didn’t support Nipsey when he was alive, why are you sad now?"
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But I have asked myself the same question as well as: “Am I a fraud for mourning the death of a man whose work I did not purchase or support during his life?”
As I scroll through Instagram, I see posts and comments from my friends who I also know have probably never listened to a Nipsey Hussle record, mourning his loss. So why are we all now so affected and crushed by this loss? What about this incident is resonating so deeply all over the world that people are calling it as tragic as the loss of Tupac?
I think at the basis of it, it’s the senselessness and audacity of how it happened. And that it happened to a man, as I have come to learn, who wanted nothing more than to inspire and uplift his community. He was shot repeatedly in front of his own store and in his own city, a city that he repped so hard for. It’s the fact that he was only 33 years old and after years of grinding in the music business, he was finally truly gaining the accolades and attention he deserved, receiving his first Grammy nomination in 2018 for album Victory Lap.
In the last two days I’ve read numerous posts from people who knew him and I have noticed a consistency — they all agree that Nipsey Hussle was a man of the highest caliber, who supported up and comers, who inspired new generations, who loved genuinely and who wanted nothing more than to become a better man for himself, his family and his community.
I believe this sadness we all feel, whether you were previously a fan or not, is due to the fact that Nipsey Hussle was such a great representation of a good human being, but was killed so violently, anyway. If we are to believe the Law of Attraction, which is that you attract whatever you put out into the world, he was the least deserving of such a violent departure from this world. In every video I’ve watched and interview I’ve read over the last two days, it is easy to tell that he was all about promoting peace and positivity. And yet, he got the complete opposite. So how does one wrap their heads around that? What is there to learn or take from this experience?
Personally, I think the lesson here is about legacy and the importance of how you will be remembered once you pass away. No one is writing about how much money Nipsey Hussle had, how many followers he had on Instagram or whether or not he was the greatest rapper alive. He is remembered for the way he loved, the lives he changed and the messages he promoted. I think situations like this make you take a step back and think about your individual legacy and whether or not you’ve made an impact or a difference in the world, or touched people's lives in any real way.
The truth is that when we all leave this earth, the things that we are so concerned about now, things like popularity, money, looking cool etc., will mean nothing. Seeing the way people that truly knew him are mourning him and are deeply broken by his passing, not for his money or his fame, but how he truly had a genuine and unique relationship with every single person, is inspiring.
In conversation with a close friend, I asked her something I always wonder when people pass away. I asked, “Do you think Nipsey Hussle knew how much he was loved?” And she responded by saying, “That’s the beauty of Nipsey I think, he didn’t give a fuck if people loved him and he didn’t do the things he did for people’s approval. He was just being himself and people loved him for it anyway.”
And I think if there was anything to be learned from who he was, this is it.
Two days ago I did not know any Nipsey Hussle songs, I didn’t hold karaoke sessions in my car or run out to buy his album on the day of its release, but I am still deeply saddened by his passing. Does this make me fake or a fraud for feeling the way I do? This was a question I asked myself, but I have come to realize that I am allowed to be touched and moved by the legacy he left behind. I am allowed to be inspired to live a better life based on the way he led his. And I am allowed to now go and purchase and download every Nipsey Hussle mixtape and album released, which I also encourage you to do, as his family directly benefits from his work.
Granted, I may not feel the loss of Nipsey Hussle at the same level as someone who can quote his lyrics word for word or someone who has grown up feeling understood thanks to the words in his music, but the things I have learned about him over the last two days, and the senselessness of the act, has left a mark on my life and so many other people who may have not otherwise been a die hard fan. My thoughts and prayers are with his entire family and all that loved him.