Time for reflection. Rewind a spell to the time of the vaunted issue of XXL Magazine’s Freshmen Class 2010. The “new” acts eagerly awaited the opportunity to show and prove to the world that they were selected for good reason. In retrospect, this proved to be one of the better collections, featuring chart toppers the likes of J. Cole, Wiz Khalifa and Big Sean. Also featured in that class was an emcee that in industry yardstick measures probably fell a little short of those just mentioned; his stature in adulation has eclipsed them by far. From the outpouring of emotions that have been exuded since his untimely demise, something has been overlooked about Nipsey Hussle. This is the very rare occasion where a musician is more known for who he is and not a signature song per se. That in and of itself speaks volumes. But as cool as the man we lost is perceived, his skill sets on the mic were COLD!!
When the police asked for the truth, I told lies
And when I finally got in this booth, my soul cried
Once you off the stoop it’s through, you no child
Ain’t make no excuse for your youth, or no size
See me, I graduated these streets in ’05
When Hussle left the streets alone for good, he unleashed the pain of what he observed and experienced. The no-nonsensical yet soulful flow did not supplant the content. He flooded the game with product (“Slauson Boy Vol. 1” and the three part “Bullets Ain’t Got No Name” series).
I come through fly (check) no co-sign, I ain’t need radio to do mine, I done fine
And I take my time (check) and take my tribe
Every level that I crossed in this game like state lines
It was visionary, either I’m genius or you n@##’s scary
Maybe it’s both and this balance I deliver daily
Airplay on radio historically wasn’t much of an option for that type of hip-hop, so for Nip that trend stayed true. Somehow, however, the sound leaked through and the streets got hooked. Not just for the struggle…
How long should I stay dedicated?
How long ’til opportunity meet preparation?
I need some real n@#^a reparations
’Fore I run up in your bank just for recreation
Nor the jewels…
This ain’t entertainment, it’s for nias on the slave ship
These songs just the spirituals I swam against them waves with
Ended up on shore to their amazement
But also the present and aspirational success…
Made my first mil’ on my own, I don’t need your help
All black Tom Ford, it’s a special evenin’
City Council meetin’, they got Hussle speakin’
Billion dollar project bout to crack the cement
So one of our investments had become strategic
Summer roll ’18, man it’s such a season
We got one album proper!! Damn!!! Who would have thought that Victory Lap would be the final lap? It matters not. A very select few can reach the core of folk like that even with millions of streams and sales. Reals ones got you and will keep you. With every deposit and/or acquisition we make into our neighborhoods for the betterment of our future, a debt is owed to your example. Sleep well my dude!!
Perhaps we need a little levity. If so head to the Barclays Center as Power 105.1 presents April Fools Comedy Jam on Friday, April 12. The show is headlined by Sheryl Underwood and features performances by Michael Blackson, Lil Rel, Bill Bellamy, Affion Crockett, Luenell, Tony Roberts, A.J. Johnson, HaHa Davis, Majah Hype, with MTV comedian Rip Micheals playing host.
Over and out. Holla next week. Til then, enjoy the nightlife.