On Sunday March 31st, community leader, entrepreneur and rapper Nipsey Hussle was murdered outside of his Marathon Clothing Store in the Hyde Park area of Los Angeles. Nipsey was LA’s self-made legend who crafted his own space into the music industry, business and philanthropy by living by the “G Code”, or honoring the code of the streets.
The LA gang member dropped his debut album in February 2018, after 10 years of making mixtape music that translates into more of an audio journal than a music catalogue. Nipsey Hussle’s discography is something beautiful that I’m not sure can be said of any other artist. From his debut in 2008 Bullets Ain’t Got No Names vol.1, to his debut and final album Victory Lap, his music serves as a biography of a drug dealer’s transition into a community leader, a multi million dollar business plan, and beautiful sociological study about the life of a black man in South Central Los Angeles.
In the wake of the tragic shooting Nipsey Hussle, his impact is being felt in waves, starting with a community crying and a city mourning, leading to people acknowledging his commitment to his people even earning admonishment of our first black president. Who would’ve imagined, getting a letter from Obama for sticking to the G code, but of course Obama has the G code in his DNA as well. As a black man we are almost bred with the street code into us, death before dishonor, loyalty, respect, and ride for your squad. As we age we are taught how the game is incapable of showing us love, that eventually these streets codes will betray us, that if you wish to escape the pitfalls of our urban communities you must adapt to this rigged world. Black men are taught to change our vernacular, be sure to dress in ways to distinguish ourselves from those around us, to make sure to get grades that show we are an exception and will play by the rules of capitalism.
The code of the hood has been degraded, a rustic sign missing letters that’s been neglected so long we forgot what the “hood” stands for. The hood stood for our neighborhoods, our communities, and our people. That they G code is built on the remains of the infiltrated and dismantled Black Panther party. The G code is the reminder of when we still believed in and supported our communities, when our pride had no price and we still supported one another.
It’s been over a week and I keep thinking about when I was in my dorm room blasting Hussle in the house, and forcing anyone who would kick it, how he’s homies with my homies, and how everyone would immediately question my “hood status”. I would simply say he was “the truth” but now I think I understand why I always felt his message so hard. I know that he was how I was seen whether I liked it or not. He was everything black men were feared to be, everything the cops assumed I was before I flashed my college ID, before I prepare my diction to let them know I am different, but knowing that at any moment you could fall from grace. At any point we can get reclassified as volatile, angry and violent, but Nipsey showed that some of us aren’t different. Some of us aren’t the special seeds who sprouted out of the cracks clutching at sun. Underneath the paved roads oppression that a tree of brotherhood can still take root breakout and create space for communities to flourish that we can still flip the system from the bottom that we don’t have to make it to the top and reach down.
Nipsey Hussle was a hero, to his people, community and to me personally, and it should be understood that these words are more for me than any other person because there are no words that capture his energy better than his own.
“See it’s a couple niggas every generation
Who wasn’t supposed to make it out, but decode the Matrix
And when they get to speak, it’s like a coded language
Reminds niggas of all they strength in all the stolen greatness”
Ermias Asheghedom is a testament to our power, our economic power, power of brotherhood, the power of family, the power of love and the power of our Nayborhood!
Rest In Peace Nip Hussle The Great.