Duality is my favorite word because it truly represents much more than any definition you’d look up could ever tell you. In a world where Black people are typically taught to find their niche and stick to it, seeing people who look like me that represent what Black people truly are: the most versatile, all-encompassing being to ever exist.
It’s been 3 years to the date since the great Nipsey Hussle passed away. I couldn’t let the day go by without listening to him for 12 hours, so I figured why not write about him. He’s one of the best examples of a man who despite growing up in circumstances designed to box him in, pushed through and became the embodiment of dualism. With that being said, here are 4 times Hussle brought cultivated intersectionality between the worlds of music and business.
Nipsey Hussle & DJ Drama Present: Crenshaw
Crenshaw was released on October 8th, 2013 and it still holds the title of the most unorthodox mixtape release ever. At first, Nipsey was prompted to release the mixtape for free, Hussle had a revelation of sorts.
“We were just like, let’s print up like a limited edition novelty game, king of like with video games when yo get the extra package that comes with the headset”, he told XXL in 2013.
Hussle went on to sell 1,000 copies of his mixtape for $100 each, Jay-Z even bought 100 copies of the mixtape… $10,000 worth of admiration from the GOAT isn’t too shabby.
Own Your Art
“Royalties, publishing, plus I own my own masters
I’ll be damned if I slave for some white crackers” said Hussle on “Dedication” featuring Kendrick Lamar.
When Nipsey’s first major-label deal with Epic Records came to an end without him and the label releasing a project together, he vowed to stay an independent artist from that point on.
In 2017, fans and the media thought they caught Hussle breaking his vows to true ownership when he and Atlantic Records deal became public. But in a true entrepreneurial fashion, it was revealed by Nipsey that the deal was nothing more than a distribution deal; meaning that he was able to keep control over his music and continue to release it through his company All Money In. Hussle and the rest of the All Money In roster’s music remained independent.
In 2018, Hussle and his business partner David Gross created Vector 90. Circling back to how Hussle and his peers didn’t have any avenues to indulge in their talents and curiosities as children; Vector 90 was created with the idea to provide links for young people from neighborhoods like Crenshaw to be able to seek opportunities in Silicon Valley.
Hussle wanted Vector 90 to be a choice that kids were able to make that was better than the choices he made at their age.
“Maybe I’m tripping. Maybe I’m not supposed to do this, maybe I’m not even supposed to
be ambitious; maybe I’m not even supposed to be thinking this big and thinking outside the box; maybe I should just follow suit,” said Nipsey to the LA Times. “That’s a dangerous thing. I would like to prevent as many kids from feeling like that as possible. Because what follows is self- destructive.”
Vector 90 would offer flexible short-term leases, daily passes, monthly memberships, private offices, and custom build-outs, along with a whole entire floor dedicated to providing young children opportunities in STEM.
Yes, you read it correctly, the place Hussle held near and dear to his heart was looked at as a business venture. Unlike most businessmen, what Hussle planned to do to the Crenshaw neighborhood was not exploitative. Nipsey planned to build up the neighborhood so that it could be a better place to stay.
Gross again returns to the scene, he and Hussle bought a plaza in hopes to build a mixed-use residential/commercial complex that would provide affordable housing and jobs. The plaza was going to house a barbershop, a convenience store, and a creole seafood restaurant.
Hussle also owned the strip mall on the corner of Crenshaw Blvd. and Slauson Ave. which was home to the iconic The Marathon Clothing store.
Nipsey was an icon who created opportunities for his family, circle, and community. There is not a single day that passes where the world forgets about his impact and art alike. Nipsey truly painted the world blue and always did it the Hussle way.