Grammy-nominated hip-hop artist Nipsey Hussle received lots of praise since his murder for his community activism, but a group of music and culture critics want us to remember that Nipsey’s rap skills were also amazing.
Music and hip-hop culture writers called for a moment of silence Saturday at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“[What’s] detached from [many] of these tributes is the fact that the dude could rap. Nipsey Hussle was a very good rapper who honed his craft, and the work shows up in the projects. He’s one of those rappers who very palpably got better with every project,” said poet, essayist and cultural critic Hanif Abdurraqib, who was one of several writers on the Drop the Beat panel discussion.
Billboard reported on April 7 that Nipsey’s “Victory Lap” album re-entered the Billboard 200 chart at No. 2 following his death on March 31. The album, which was his debut studio release, surpassed its original peak of No. 4 when it came out in February 2018.
A public memorial was held Thursday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles for the artist whose death touched millions of people, including those who may not have been familiar with his music or activism.
Nipsey has been held in high regard for his community involvement, including hiring felons who couldn’t find work, financially supporting struggling Black businesses and donating to children in the area.
He was shot and killed while standing in front of his clothing store at the intersection of Slauson and Crenshaw in Los Angeles. A death certificate showed Nipsey died over 30 minutes after being shot.
Suspected gunman Eric Holder was arrested soon after and charged for murder, possession of a firearm by a felon and two counts of attempted murder as he shot two other people with Nipsey. Holder has pled not guilty to all of the charges and is now being represented by Chris Dardon, the infamous lawyer from the O.J. Simpson trial. Police have called the shooting a personal dispute and not a result of gang violence.
At the book festival, radio DJ Greg Mack, who was among the first to play rap on the air, said Nipsey was a role model.
“Nipsey was an example of what all people in the entertainment business should be,” the KDAY-Los Angeles radio show host stated. “What I mean is when you reach a certain level in your career, you forget where you came from. And not only did he not forget, but he was a role model in how to give back and he did so much, so much that he gave his life.”