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RIP Nipsey Hussle: Why it’s okay to mourn those we don’t know

Nipsey Hussle is dead.

As terrible as that statement sounds, the 33-year-old Grammy-nominated father of two was pronounced dead Sunday after receiving multiple shots outside his South Los Angeles apparel store, The Marathon Clothing.

Upon first hearing the news, I was in complete shock.

Nip can’t be gone. There’s no way. Then, a slew of emotions —  ranging from shock to anger then confusion — overtook my body as I received a text message about his fatal gunning.

I’ve experienced grief before — my Grandfather passed a couple of years back and I’ve lost classmates — but never has a passing of an individual I never met hit me this hard.

Eventually, I began to question myself with questions like: Am I overreacting? Is this extra of me? Am I caught up in the moment? 


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#ripnipseyhussle | June 2018

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But, later my feelings were validated after I threw on his 2013 mixtape, Crenshaw and realized that no: I am really mourning his loss; I am actually hurt by this, my emotions are valid.

Nipsey Hussle was a man of the people who made music and moves for the people. So it was natural for me, a person of ‘the people’, to hurt.

Much like millions of people who mourned Mac Miller, Uncle Phil of The Fresh Prince of Belair, Biggie, and Tupac, Nipsey Hussle’s death touched us because they reached us, not because we knew them. And that’s totally okay.

Nipsey was, in his short 33 years on earth, impactful. Yet, it was really where he was going that caused a large part of the collective grieving.

After 12 mixtapes, Nipsey had just released his first studio album, Victory Lap, last year, making his sound globally renown for the first time.

Also, in 2018, Hussle opened a STEM center and a co-working space called Vector 90 in his neighborhood Crenshaw District all in hopes of breaking the systemic cycle of poverty and disenfranchisement.

He preached investing in communities, buying back the block, financial literacy and was even one of the first rappers to invest in cryptocurrency, a variation of Bitcoin.

He boldly sold his mixtape at $100 a pop. In fact, the one and only, Jay-Z bought 100 copies. It’s obvious, he was different in every right.

Right up until his death, he and Roc Nation officials were planning a meeting with LAPD to talk about ways he could help stop gang violence. He wanted to help us help the youth.

His head space was never solely on the glitz and glam of rap life. Everything he did was with the intention to do something greater.

How could you not connect with an individual of that magnitude? You don’t even have to like rap to mourn a human like that.

You didn’t have to know Nip to feel Nip; you don’t have to be from L.A. to understand his impact, and you didn’t even have to listen to his music to sympathize with his life.

Nipsey Hussle was the embodiment of overcoming and giving back. All it takes is being human to want to mourn.

Rest in peace Nipsey Hussle. The Marathon Continues.