What is The American dream? Is it STILL to graduate from a prominent college? Then next it’s landing your dream job at a Fortune 500 company. Now you are working until you save up enough for retirement. Ahh –– the good life.
Often when we talk about coming from the bottom we are referring to the lower-income neighborhoods throughout the country. There are four routes accessible to those dwelling in these types of communities. The basics of making it out rely heavily on the drug game, sports, music or education. Those are the only options.
In the latest edition of our #LessonsFromNipsey series, we take a look into the track “Loaded Bases” off of Nip’s latest album Victory Lap.
Nip spoke about the inspiration behind the song during an interview with NPR saying,
“I remember being 19. I had reached all my adolescent goals. It was 10 years, 15 years ago almost. I had touched two bricks for the first time, and I felt myself getting pulled into a direction. Once you cross these invisible lines, it’s hard to go back. So I felt myself make a decision: ‘What you gonna do, homie?’”
If you can understand what each base entails then you’ve truly mastered your environment. Which base is first? Perhaps its most common in our country to hold education on a higher pedestal in comparison to anything.
But what if you’re from a gang-infested environment? 24/7 all you are hearing are gunshots and sirens. Around you, there are drug dealers and drug addicts. Your mother is working three jobs to put food on the table and the clothes on your back.
She’s never around so you’re on your own. Your father is either in and out of jail, dead or has left your life completely. Survival sets in and the last thing on your mind is homework. It’s trying to find a way to support not only yourself but your mother too.
“I had given up on music because I went broke so many times trying to do music when I was a teenager. I wasn’t one of them types; I wanted to have money. I’d felt what it feels like to be independent and celebrated in my area — even on such a shallow level. “
Neighborhood Nip is the voice for those who don’t have a platform, but it wasn’t always so. Like many of us coming up in the world, Nipsey Hussle had to survive the harsh realities we as a collective fear.
After being lead down the wrong path to a life of crime, he weighed the scales of his former lifestyle and saw that it wasn’t worth the reward in the end.
During his interview with NPR, Nip continued,
“I’m looking at Jay-Z, Puffy, Master P — these guys have a $100 million. And it’s a marathon; it’s a long haul. But I don’t know a man hustling that made a hundred mill. I know n***** that made it to $1 million, $10, maybe five. But none of them avoided the Feds. All of them got told on. They were the man for five summers and they gave the state or the Feds 20 summers.”
Many put into this predicament are faced with two choices; either succumb to the streets or rise above the illusion of the streets. When Nip decided to leave the drug game it was the best decision of his life. Putting all of his energy toward his music has put Nipsey Hussle in the position that he is in now to continue to prosper.
Nip doesn’t have a college degree, nor has he ever played a down of professional sports. Like many of us, Hussle didn’t have the same opportunities during his marathon contrary to those who come from privilege. Even after becoming a full fledge Crip, he realized he had a choice.
Although coming up it seemed as if his only options were to do music or sell drugs, he went back to his passion for music.
His time in the streets prepared him for what was to come after the music took off. Now being street smart, self-educated, musically gifted and engrained in sports, his bases are loaded.
“Loaded Bases” is a powerful song. It explains that no matter how deep you get into one path, it’s never too late to redirect where you want to go. Don’t ever let someone tell you can’t do something just because they are in the same situation as you.
Weigh the scales of all your options and see which lane benefits you the most. When it all comes full circle then when you know you’re on your own Victory Lap.