Rapper, Community Advocate Nipsey Hussle Shot Dead in LA

The death of Ermias Davidson Asghedom, a.k.a. Nipsey Hussle, has stunned the hip-hop world. Praised for his positive messages and interest in community empowerment, Hussle was gunned down on March 31 in South Los Angeles. He was 33. Hussle was reportedly murdered in front of Marathon Clothing, a business he owned at the intersection of Slauson Avenue and Crenshaw Boulevard. Hustle was pronounced dead at the hospital, and two people were also injured in the shooting. The shooting was captured on surveillance tape and a possible suspect has been sighted.

Nipsey Hussle was born to an Eritrean father and African American mother and raised in Los Angeles. A member of the Rollin 60’s Neighborhood Crips, he eventually found his calling in music. Hussle released his first mixtape, Slauson Boy Volume 1, in 2005 and followed with two more mixtapes, 2008’s Bullets Ain’t Got No Name Vol. 1 and Vol II. Hussle also founded his own record label, All Money In, with the debut release The Marathon.

In 2013, Hussle gained additional recognition for selling more than 1,000 copies of Crenshaw mixtape at $100 a piece. Hussle also collaborated with a wide range of artists including Kendrick Lamar, Drake, Meek Mill, and Young Thug. Hussle was as revered for his gritty rap as he was for his work in the community. He owned a number of business interests including Marathon Clothing, the Marathon Agency, Proud 2 Pay, and All Money In records (which signed a deal with Atlantic Records). Many residents of South Los Angeles remembered Hussle as a community advocate who hired locals to work in his businesses. Hussle was also very interested in stopping violence in his community, and had planned to meet with Los Angeles law enforcement Monday to discuss ways to end gun and gang violence.

An outpouring of condolences has appeared on social media. Hip-hop and R&B artists have expressed their deep sadness regarding this senseless murder; Rihanna lamented that Hussle’s shooting “didn’t make any sense.” Pharrell pointed out Hussle’s positive attributes: “You were about something positive and for your community in every chance you had to speak and because of that You inspired millions.” Ice Cube summed up the sentiments of many on Twitter: “sad, mad and disappointed about my guy.”

Nipsey Hussle’s death has left a void in the hip-hop world and in Black communities in South Los Angeles that cannot be easily filled.

About the Author

Stephen G. Hall is a sections editor for The North Star. He is a historian specializing in 19th and 20th century African American and American intellectual, social and cultural history and the African Diaspora. Hall is the author of A Faithful Account of the Race: African American Historical Writing in Nineteenth-Century America. He is working on a new book exploring the scholarly production of Black historians on the African Diaspora from 1885 to 1960.