By Jihad Hassan Muhammad
Since the inception of hip-hop, the culture has been infused with not just telling the narrative of the downtrodden masses but also making it better for them and the neighborhoods they dwell in. This has been a part of the hip-hop culture from day one, in the South Bronx when DJ Kool Herc and Afrika Bambaataa brought into existence this now global culture called hip-hop. Nipsey Hussle embodied the true function of hip-hop for a generation that some say forgot what true hip-hop is. He spoke of buying up the block where you live and the unity of Black people, in his actions and his music—messages not commonplace in today’s “mainstream” rap music.
His brutal murder in front his Marathon Clothing Store has rocked the hip-hop community and many others alike. The responses poured out on social media. Sean (P. Diddy) Combs, hip-hop mogul had this to say via Instagram: “Nipsey represents change, he represents evolution, he represents everything our culture needs to embrace, Black ownership. Black love. Black wealth.” Meanwhile, rapper TI had this to say about Nipsey: “A true King that will forever live on Rest in peace Nipsey” via Instagram.
The sports world was shaken with hurt and pain for a man who did so much for hip-hop as well. NBA star LeBron James said he and “Nip spoke the other day,” “This One Hurts Big Time,” and “This is so painful!” Former NFL player and activist Colin Kaepernick was also saddened by the sudden killing of Nipsey, saying via Twitter “@NipseyHussle was doing great work for the people. Keep his legacy alive by carrying on his work! Sending love to his family. Rest in Power King.”
As much as the condolences, sadness, and pain greatly circulates and trends throughout social media, the outrage and talk of a conspiracy to kill Nipsey are also ever-present. A meme can be widely found on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with Nipsey Hussle’s words from his interview with Black conscious influencer, Tariq Nasheed. “If I die over this documentary y’all better ride for me.”
The documentary Nipsey was working on was about the 1985 trial in New York, where renowned natural-health “guru,” Dr. Sebi, proved that he cured AIDS in their courts. Sebi, who was first introduced to many by Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, from platinum-selling music group TLC, died under what many called mysterious circumstances in Honduras in 2016. Lopes met an unfortunate death as well. In Nipsey’s last interview with the Power 105’s Breakfast Club, co-host Charlemagne asked Hussle about Sebi’s death.
Charlemagne: “Why do you think they killed Dr. Sebi?”
Nipsey: “Why they kill all holistic doctors, he was short-stopping they grind.”
He further talked about how the pharmaceutical companies do not look upon anyone favorable that stops their money. On Instagram, entertainer Nick Cannon prelude to finishing Nipsey’s work, saying, “It’s a marathon so I’m picking up the baton.” James W. Muhammad of Dynasty Hip-Hop Mentoring Program had this to say of Nipsey’s legacy. “Artists who rise up from the streets and evolve in hip-hop always have a target on their back. To prove it, racism exists on five major pillars: real estate, banking, judicial, education, and media. When our artist transcends on those levels the media’s job is to destroy them so we will not awaken.
The Hon. Min. Louis Farrakhan has said that they made a vow to destroy all avenues that help and awaken the once slave.” Dynasty has for more than 13 years getting youth off the streets with the culture of hip-hop, utilizing it to resolve conflict in St. Louis and now in Dallas. Akwete Tyehimba is the owner of one the country’s largest Black bookstores, Pan African Connection. Nipsey affectionately called her mama on his visits to Dallas where he would share his vision of helping his community and transitioning from the streets to a new person. “About a month ago he came to the store and we embraced and talked about revolution and change for our people. He was so real and authentic. He had a strategy and a plan that he was not forcing down the throat of the people, he was introducing the youth to information that would transform them,” said Tyehimba, adding that Hussle told her how going to Africa changed his life.
Dr. Abdul Haleem Muhammad, of Houston, is the Student Regional Minister of Min. Farrakhan. He expressed that conspiracy may not be the case. “The hip-hop artists are our gold and diamonds, they are our natural resource, that must be protected regardless because they influence millions of people, and when they marry wisdom and action with their message the enemy consider them dangerous. All of our stars that begin to awaken, something happens to them, are we seeing a pattern here, it’s not a conspiracy if it’s true,” he declared. Amin Imamu Ojuok is a community activist and African-centered educator, teaching youth throughout America. Ojuok, of Fort Worth, TX has worked closely with Houston mogul J. Prince, founder of Rap-A-Lot Records. He sees the power in hip-hop when evolvement takes place, and the hidden hands of those outside of the community work to destroy good works.
“Watching Nipsey, and working closely with J. Prince, the true profiteers of the criminalization of the culture are not just the label heads, but the prison system, and now, the gentrifies. There is a renewed sense of ownership and responsibility being promoted, and exhibited by moguls like Mr. Prince and others that absolutely interrupts the economic agenda of those that benefit from Black failure. Unfortunately, those that are fighting to save our communities are painted as the problem, which creates an atmosphere of doubt around them that makes sustaining relationships with the broader movement difficult,” said Ojuok. Hip-hop legend, Nas spoke of the dangers Nipsey had to face, via Instagram. “It’s dangerous to be an MC. Dangerous to be a b-ball player. It’s dangerous to have money. Dangerous to be a Black man … So much hatred. We live like our brothers and sisters in third world countries live. Right in America … It’s so deep-rooted. It’s not an easy fix. Hard to fix anything when kids are still living in poverty. I ain’t shutting up though, Nipsey is a True voice. He will never be silenced.”