The Hussle: For Us, By Us

“These songs just the spirituals, I swam against them waves with/Ended up on shore to their amazement” -Nipsey Hussle

If you watch the videos and read the articles people are posting, Nipsey Hussle was other level, he changed the culture and was in the process of changing his community. This guy was the child of an Eritrean immigrant, he grew up in one of the most dangerous hoods in the country. He was a gang member, largely by necessity. He grew up in the trenches, Crenshaw and Slauson. Yet… he saw hip hop as a way to build for us by us…

“We bought a pro tools and a microphone/Studio was far from plush but the lights was on/Couple hunned thousand stashed at my momma’s home/Real estate in Atlanta but ain’t nobody know”

Hip hop is 100% ours. We, Black and Brown people in America, crafted, created, lived, loved, breathed, and died for it’s power. We infused into it African, Caribbean, and West Indian influences that made it a true product of the African Diaspora. And while it’s no longer Run DMC, Kool Herc, and Grandmaster Flash… it is the single most influential body of art in the world. A Black boy discovered the break beat… that beat is what the world dances to 40 years later. We did that.

The hip hop generation.

Black Americans from urban centers born between 1965 and 1984 are the hip hop generation, as defined by Bakari Kitwana in his book The Hip Hop Generation: Young Blacks and the Crisis in African-American Culture. For most of us, hip hop was not just music but a culture. It was the way we spoke, dresses, danced, walked, and experienced the world around us. Having our voices and our lives explained and celebrated on such a grand stage opened us up to opportunity and experiences we otherwise would have never had it never taken. It put Black creativity, innovation, intelligence, and hustle on the map… it was the soul of the Black Bottom, Paradise Valley, Black Wall Street, and East St Louis riding underneath the heartbeat of the South Bronx, Queensbridge, Compton, Houston, and Atlanta. It’s Ermias Asghedom getting his Hussle on.

So when I see posts that this young man, who changed the business of hip hop, and used his earnings to purchase land in the same community he grew up in, is someone we didn’t know … we being the generation of hip hop… I don’t understand. 🤷🏽‍♀️

My grandfather ate slept and breathed jazz, because it was his, ours. He owned emotional and financial stock in it. He lined his walls with it. So often we turn our backs on us… treat each other worse than the most abhorrent racist… by ignoring each other, putting back breaking expectations on each other. What we do is only good enough if it’s some celebrity deity we’ve anointed. We gotta do better. We should be aware of who our real life change agents are and we should open our eyes, ears, and hearts so we truly stay woke.

So often we crown our Kings and Queens based on dumb shit… this man was worthy of the crown. He was the epitome of dedication, hard work plus patience. He gave his music away for free to build his name to generate income in hip hop on his own terms, and refused to take a dime from record labels until he could own a label and hence his product. He is the prototype that birthed TDE, OVO, ASAP Worldwide, and Dreamville, or saw up and coming rappers signing with other rappers who helped them build their own labels. That’s how you keep hip hop money in the family and heed industry rule # 4080.

So read the articles about him, educate yourself, don’t let his death be in vain. Let’s continue his legacy by buying property in our community and finding ways to invest in ourselves and each other. Time to get our Nipsey hustle on.

“I’m not a rapper or a poet, I’m a poem nigga/Ain’t it amazing how I’m standing on my own nigga” … we saw you Brother, we’ll continue to shake shit up!

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