Why Nipsey Hussle's Death Feels 'Particularly Cruel'

'He was more than a rapper'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 1, 2019 12:46 PM CDT
'He Was More Than a Rapper'
A sign for rapper Nipsey Hussle is left by candles set up across from a clothing store owned by Hussle in Los Angeles, Sunday, March 31, 2019.   (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Nipsey Hussle's murder has rocked the hip-hop community as well as the rapper's own community of South LA, where a banner for his Grammy-nominated label debut, Victory Lap, has been stretched across the exterior of a mall for most of the year. The 33-year-old was shot dead Sunday, putting an end not just to his future music but to the other plans he had for himself and his community. "He was more than a rapper," explains Gerrick D. Kennedy in a Los Angeles Times column. He "became an entrepreneur, community organizer, activist and mentor as he transformed into a rap star. His death in front of the strip mall he was redeveloping a few blocks away from that celebratory banner feels particularly cruel." See Kennedy's full piece for more on the rapper who never shied away from the struggles he dealt with, and whose music as a result spoke to "the street hustlers and those of us struggling to make ends meet." Related:

  • Background: NPR has background on his life, from his childhood dreams of becoming a rap star to his stint in a gang and breakout success in the music industry. "He overcame the obstacles of an unforgiving environment, made famous by generations of West Coast rap legends, to become one of the most beloved and inspirational figures within the culture."
  • A nation: Also paying tribute to Hussle: the nation of Eritrea, where his father was from. "Extremely saddened," wrote its information minister, posting a link to an interview from when Hussle visited last year. In it, Hussle spoke of how much he loved the nation and wanted to reconnect with relatives there. CNN has more on that.

  • Focus on gangs: Putting an end to gang violence had become one of the most important causes to Hussle, and he was set to meet with police leaders the day after he was killed to discuss how to tackle the problem. The Washington Post has more on that.
  • Celebs: The tributes to Hussle are rolling in. "This doesn't make any sense!" Rihanna tweeted, while Drake wrote of his plans to collaborate on a song with Hussle over the summer. People has those reactions and many more from the entertainment world.
  • Athletes: Meanwhile, Sports Illustrated rounds up reactions from LeBron James and other NBA players who were devastated by Hussle's death. "This is so painful!" wrote another famous athlete, Colin Kaepernick.
  • Romance: In February, GQ did a feature on Hussle and his "storybook romance" of five years with actress Lauren London, with whom he has a son. "He's gotten more of a platform to be really clear about his message, because before he was just making rap gang-bang music," said London of Hussle's music in the article. "But I think he has a purpose in all the raps, and that's coming to light."
  • Details: TMZ, which is posting updates on developments in the case, notes that Hussle left behind another child as well.
  • Music: Hussle released his first mixtape in 2005; Wikipedia has a full discography. BET notes that in 2013, when he released a limited run of his Crenshaw mixtape for $100 each, all 1,000 copies sold out on the first day. He talked about that move on 106 & Park; watch the interview here.
(More on the circumstances surrounding Hussle's death here.)

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