Today we are reminded once more that life is short. Each breath we take brings us closer to our expiration. Even in knowing that solemn truth, it doesn’t ease the pain that we may feel for those that have transitioned before us. Today is no different.
As I take the time to reflect on the life and legacy of Ermias Joseph Asghedom, professionally known as Nipsey Hussle, there is no comfort in the icon’s absence. There is only a reminder that we must continue the marathon and push forward, not only for ourselves and our communities but for Hussle’s family and his love. To allow Hussle’s efforts to become stagnant is to say we do not appreciate all that he has done and was trying to do.
Hussle’s legacy is one of rebirth and awareness. It is one of empathy and dedication. When it is said that we, society, have lost an icon, the depths of that statement have not been explored. To understand the statement, we must understand Hussle in his totality- Hussle, the artist, the man, and the humanitarian.
Hussle was bigger than his artistry. While his music is what initially garnered many of us as fans, it was his dedication to educating all those who listened. From interviews to track listings, buying back the community, and eradicating the entrapment of poverty was the prolific message. It was embedded in Hussle. Before he ever sold a mixtape for $1000 (Mailbox Money) or even $100 (Crenshaw), go back to his Slauson Boy 1 days.
Hussle was dedicated to shedding light on the issues that arose in certain socioeconomic communities. That message continued as his music progressed. It is no wonder why he was able to sell mixtapes in an era of streaming and free downloads.
That speaks to Hussle as the man and visionary. Hussle encircled himself with some of the industry’s best that aligned with his visions. A devout reader and seeker of knowledge, Hussle’s end game was to improve in every aspect of his life. And that he did. He was a spiritually grounded man who understood his purpose and role as a man, a father, a lover, and a provider. Hussle transitioned from the “streets” to an artist and humanitarian. He was a devout father and life partner, a refuge for those around him. It is evident in the way he carried himself, spoke about his family, and conveyed the necessity for what he envisioned doing. Hussle was well beyond his time.
Vector 90 was one of the many things Hussle was working on. The “co-working space, cultural hub, and incubator” (Vector90) was just the tip of the iceberg. Hussle, along with his business partner, David Gross, were adjunct professors at Loyola Marymount University. The pair taught an advanced marketing class, MRKT 4598, in the Spring of 2019. This course was designed to use the collective knowledge the pair had gained through experience and pour into the next generation of business leaders. It is one thing to speak of doing something, but it is another to work fervently at it. Hussle worked at being the change he wanted to see.
The Marathon store was housed in commercial real estate that Hussle owned. He and his team began gentrification on his community, employing those others wouldn’t employ. His vision was to create economic opportunities as well as provide an alternative narrative to those who come from where he was raised.
It is my belief that if Hussle was physically here with us, he would have transformed the landscape and narrative across the country, thus sparking many more to begin work within their communities sooner. Although his physical body is absent, Hussle is still with us. He is energy. Energy can neither be created or destroyed. It can only be transferred or changed from one form to another (Law of Thermodynamics). In remembering that, let us continue to progress ourselves and aid in the progression of others. Let us take this opportunity of abundant time and further ourselves by continually acquiring knowledge and applying what we have learned.
The words of comfort and prayers that were extended to Hussle’s family, friends, and life partner are still needed.
The marathon continues…