5 & DONE: Nipsey Hussle

Nipsey Hussle

has managed to secure a major label record deal and the spot as lead hitter for

the New West Coast all in about a year’s time. It may seem like dream come true

to aspiring MCs, however his current position came with plenty of blood, sweat,

and tears. “Growing up with a blue flag out my back pocket came with its own

consequences, but I wouldn’t change a thing about my life,” says 22 year old Nipsey Hussle from the high-rise Sony office building in Midtown

Manhattan. “I am proud to be the man I am today.”

 

Even with his well-known affiliations and reputation, Nipsey travels way beyond enemy lines these days. He’s on a

quest to let his street candescent Hip-Hop music be heard by the world. As the

first artists signed to Cinematic Music/Epic Records, Nipsey

gained the support of influential California DJ Felly Fell early on, who was

vital in him securing the approval of the California streets. His latest collabo with fellow Los Angeles native The Game titled,

“They Roll,” is currently heating up the mixtape circuit

and ever-growing Hip-Hop blog world alike.  With an untitled solo album on the verge of completion, the

anticipation from Hip-Hop fans for another West Cost savior rests cautiously on

his back. Taking this new found pressure in stride, Nipsey

Hussle can only do what he’s been doing his whole

life which is hustling to survive. The rapper with a penchant for all things blue, took a much needed break from the grind and broke down

some of the methods to his madness. 

On how he got into the

game and what he represents.

 

“My name was given to me, not chosen because I was always in

the street making money from a young age, but I still did the music too. I

remember I came into the studio one day, and I had a bottle of cognac, seven

grams of kush, and some

food. And these n****s are grown men but everybody was doing bad

at the time, they had no money. Since then, they just threw that at me like the

young dude he “Nispey Hussle”

and it just stuck with me. It ain’t

all about the name though, it’s about what you do with it. The president of my

label was willing to take a meeting based off my alias alone.

 

“My style is just straight LA streets to the fullest, and

I’m a full Hip-Hop head. I really studied the art form and all the music that’s

worth listening too. I really just try to keep it in my element and make sure

my music bumps in the hood and the suburbs. I represent Slauson

which is like the heart of Los Angeles, straight through the middle, actually

it’s more like the artery from the east side to the west side. Crenshaw and Slauson is where I rep, we set the trends for LA. People

from Compton and Watts come through to get anywhere. Which is a lot to

represent but I put the most pressure on myself, so everybody else’s

expectations comes secoind to [mine]. Nobody else is going

to critique my s**t as hard as I do.”

 

Nipsey Hussle “Hussle in the House” Video

On

the importance of the mixtape scene to his career and

importance of the Internet.

 

“Creating good music is vital for getting people interested

in you, foremost. I feel like there is a void for good music right now. Whether

it’s physical mixtapes, Internet releases, blogs, or

videos it has to start with quality music. I really used the Internet and mixtapes to create my own lane. The Bay got a heavy

independent scene, New York got the heavy mixtape

circuit, but it’s different in LA. We had to figure what the popping locations

are, and what local stores are selling the most units. I was in the streets

giving my music out everywhere, out the trunk of my car. People used to see me

just about a year ago on the corner of Slauson and

Crenshaw selling my music with no record deal. And it just progressed so quick,

all based on the way we orchestrated our own hustle from the streets. We had no

foundation or footsteps to follow because no other new LA artist really has

established themselves except The Game, and he had a

Dr. Dre and 50 Cent backing him. I take in pride in

knowing that I paved my own way.

 

“As quiet as kept, I can build computers, that’s what I do.

I was born in ’85 so I was born into the computer generation. I seen a long

time ago how vital the Internet was to the music industry. Obviously, it’s not

as easy to sell records anymore, but one door closes and three more open. You

can now easily reach millions of people through the Internet, my mixtape touched all over the world. And it would of never

happened without the Internet. There’s just other ways of making money now

besides record sales.”

THEY ROLL – Nipsey Hu$$le feat the game

 

On his buzz growing

so fast and representing the New West Coast.

 

“As far what I represent from the new West is hustle music. I ain’t

stepping on anyone’s feet, and I f**k with everybody from California. Jay Rock,

Glasses, Bishop, Spider Loc, everyone man. Even the ones who

I’m supposed to be “so-called enemies” with, red or blue. I met Jon

Shapiro who already had a label deal for Cinematic Records with Epic, and I

became the first artist on the label. Felly Fell was really the one that told

Jon that, “Nipsey is the next cat to blow up from

LA.” This was all at the end of ‘07, and that’s when I started getting into the

industry. I signed my deal in January of ‘08, and I went to jail a week later,

fighting a case for a few months, but I’m all good

now. Sometimes you got to take time to think about your life and actions, I had

to step back and look at my life like, ‘Who is an asset and who’s a liability to me?’ ‘What’s working for me and what’s working

against me?’ When you sitting in jail, you can’t do s**t with your life.”

 

Nipsey Hussle “Strapped” Video

On being a figure

that kids from his neighborhood look up to.

“I had some paper before I got into the rap game, I wasn’t

getting no millions or hundreds of thousands, but I’ve touched paper before, so

me and my brothers had nice cars, jewelry, cribs and all that. So for me being

in the rap game, it ain’t no

different from being in the hood where there’s always young n****s looking up

to you because you’re older and getting money. I won’t tell you something

wrong, I won’t say anything before I tell you something wrong, that’s how I try

to play it with young dudes. I know people might hear my album and say it’s violent

or endorses gangbanging. But at the same time to a kid that’s already in that

life, they might hear what I’m really saying, and see the positive changes that

I’m making in my life is going to get my message. The kids in the hood can

relate to me because I look and talk just like them…I am the hood.”

 

 

On Biggie and Pac

having a huge influence on him.

 

“If I got a chance to say anything to Pac, I’d tell him that

he was right. I felt like he was trying something new and was pushing the

boundaries when speaking for his people. I’d let him know that he did exactly

what he was supposed to do, and he was a positive influence. He presented

himself as thug, so the streets would pay attention to him and not to be a

negative role model or influence. He was negatively portrayed in the media and

was treated unfairly in the courts because of that.  It’s a double standard because at one point, you on these

records talking about f**k the police and you a cop killer and all that. So you

have to expect the backlash when it comes to getting a fair trial in court when

you are arrested for something. 

That’s when things are out of your hands and you are being judged on the

picture that the media and prosecutors portray of you.

 

“For Biggie, I’d want to tell him that he’s the best and

just give him his credit. I feel like Big made the best first album an artist

can make.  Ready to Die, that’s how artists are supposed to come into the rap

game with radio hits, club smashes, party music, and the streets with a real

story to tell.”Nipsey Hussle “Bullets” Video

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