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In Memoriam: Nipsey Hussle

On Sunday, March 31st, rapper Nipsey Hussle was murdered outside of his clothing store, The Marathon, in the Crenshaw neighborhood of Los Angeles. To put it simply, his untimely death has sent shockwaves through all segments of the entertainment industry, as well as the community that Nipsey spent so much of his life giving back to. His legacy as an artist and as a Black entrepreneur and community leader cannot be understated, and his passing has rocked fans, such as writer Logan Kenny. Here, Logan details his relationship with Nipsey’s music, illustrating the broad reach that the rapper had.

My relationship to Nipsey Hussle’s music came through an unconventional path. As an autistic teenager, I found solace in films and other media to help me cope with some of the isolation I felt on a daily basis. I played a lot of video games, leaning towards games where I either made decisions to feel a modicum of control, or where I could drive around—the simulation of driving was very soothing to me. I fell in love with GTA V, despite its many faults, because of how stimulating it was for me to get in a car, turn the radio and spend a couple hours losing myself in a virtual road. As a rap fan trying to get into music, I leaned towards those channels and fostered a lifelong love of artists like Freddie Gibbs. One of the songs that clicked with me was “Hold Up,” a song featuring a verse by Nipsey, and I immediately latched onto his voice. I listened to it a lot in my normal life, as well as in the game, but never looked into his discography.

I heard his verse on “Fuck Donald Trump” years later and it brought me solace on the day he was elected—I blasted it on repeat for hours. When Victory Lap came out last year, I went on a deep dive through his discography and found a lot to love. I never immersed myself in every track, every bar, the way I did with other artists, but he was a presence that boosted my life whenever he was there, and a comfort from the turbulence of my adolescence that I didn’t truly recognise the importance of until his death. There’s a part of me that feels guilt for not being able to appreciate him more while he was breathing, and that’s something I have to live with whenever I blast a song of his and feel emotional about how there won’t be any new ones. But there will always be the memories of a young kid feeling relaxed because of him, and those feelings come back every time I hit play. I’m not gonna speak of him as a person, I never knew him, but he had an effect on me. He still does.

Nipsey is survived by his partner Lauren London and his two children.

For those in the Los Angeles area, Nipsey Hussle’s team will host a memorial service on Thursday, April 11th, from 10 am to 12 pm. More information can be found on their Instagram. Tickets are available through the Staples Center website.

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