“I’m prolific, so gifted.” —Nipsey Hussle
At the time of me writing this article, the Hip-Hop Community and the world in general will have lost a very prolific member of society. Ermias (translated as “God Will Rise) Asghedom, better known to the world as rapper Nipsey Hussle, was gunned down in the very same neighborhood he was raised in and where he was once known as an active member of the Rollin’ 60s Crips. The same community he had been successfully using his fame and fortune to rehabilitate and unite. The place where he employed members of the neighborhood.
What makes this loss so iconic to us is that Nipsey represented the “American Dream” for ghetto children/adults all over the world. His “come from nothing into something” story—communicated in his lyrics, movement and more importantly his redemptive actions—was the type of artistic impact we all wish to have. Through his philanthropy, selfless commitment to reshape the minds of former felons/gang members to realize their true potential, acquiring property in his neighborhood and creating value, he was able to transform his life as well as motivate and inspire others in a way traditional systems and institutions could NEVER. And it was working…
Often times visual artists like myself who are inspired specifically by Hip-Hop Culture lose themselves in the music and testimonies of those who talk the language. The poetic rumblings of those who speak about an environment condemned by many, supported by mostly none of those doing the condemning and never experienced by even more, become our playing grounds to harness creativity. They become outlets to our pain. Art becomes the vehicle to express it.
Because of his influence, many artists within my creative family paid tribute to Nipsey Hussle’s work and legacy. I found it important to share these visual expressions, and a little bit about the person who was the source of inspiration.
Rest in peace Nipsey. The Marathon Continues and we’re gonna kick up dust on the Victory Lap.
Peace and Power.