Over JC on the Beat’s blaring synths, he announces he’s making a transition and there’s no looking back. He firmly announces the first of his priorities. He’s happy that his brother is home and his daughter is taken care of, and asks what else can he ask for.
Speaking to a love for those closest around him makes him human, and it’s clear that the first line of his mission statement is taking care of those closest and dearest to you.
Then he makes it clear that “[he’s] going to keep getting cash…” because his hustle doesn’t stop and he’ll keep moving until he “sees improvement” and that he knows “[he] can’t win em all but [he] can’t keep losing.”
That line stuck with me. Through all my trials and tribulations, that line has been something that’s kept me going and it’s dope because it’s what Nipsey Hussle used to keep himself going.
He explains the lessons he’s learned from his favorites “When Pac showed us that the pain he felt was not exclusive” and “Was in the hood but Shawn Carter showed us no Excuses.” For Nip, all of this seems like the next line in his mission statement. You keep going, you can’t keep losing and you won’t. Just keep working. There’s no excuses, and we’ve got shared pain and our own pain that we’ll fight through. Just keep going.
Through all this, he makes a point to mention how it feels to be considerate of how he uses his influence. Considerate, because he knows the impact he has whenever someone tells him that his music got them over.
He closes by saying this is just where he’s at for the moment, while giving us a taste of who he is and that he’ll keep going. His music is “The Streets Illustrated,” “theme music for young hustlers to get their ends to,” and he’s right. He keeps us going. Reports on where he’s at, and continues to teach and inspire on every record. That’s probably the last line of the mission. To be the greatest influence he can be, and for you to take his message and do the same.
I first learned about Nipsey Hussle when he appeared on the 2010 Freshmen issue. A member of a resurgent class of west coast rappers, he was branded a gangster rapper, so I overlooked his work. Honestly, wasn’t until I found an interview of him explaining why so many hustlers end up stuck, that I started paying more attention.
It wasn’t until 2011, when One Take 3 off the Marathon came on shuffle and really got my attention. It made me listen to the rest of the mixtape and it made me go back to his past projects. I’m glad I did.
By the time The Marathon Continues dropped, I was totally on board and Road to Riches became one of my personal anthems. It’s kept me going when I felt I might not have anything left. Really, it’s a beautiful portrait of one of our leaders.
That’s why it’s the first song on my Neighborhood Nip Playlist. Because it’s the opening ding, a full statement of purpose, that, regardless of your station in life, you can adopt, adjust, and act on.
Losing Nipsey Hussle hurts. We lost him last week because a far lesser man decided that he deserved to die and frankly the air hasn’t returned to normal since. His loss is…a glitch in The Matrix and a disturbance in the Force, it feels wrong in every way. But as a fan, I’ll continue to pray for his loved ones, take his mission statement, and adapt it to my mission…and one last thing…Thanks Nip.
Ermias “Nipsey Hu$$le” Asghedom
August 15, 1985 – March 31, 2019
Rest in Peace
Listen to my Nipsey Playlist on Apple Music.