5 & DONE: 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 years 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 wouldnt 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. Hes 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 hes 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 aint
all about the name though, its 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
Im a full Hip-Hop head. I really studied the art form and all the music thats
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
its 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 elses
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
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
its 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 its 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, thats 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, its 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. Theres just other ways of making money now
besides record sales.
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 aint
stepping on anyones feet, and I f**k with everybody from California. Jay Rock,
Glasses, Bishop, Spider Loc, everyone man. Even the ones who
Im 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 thats 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 Im 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 whos a liability to me? Whats working for me and whats working
against me? When you sitting in jail, you cant 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 wasnt
getting no millions or hundreds of thousands, but Ive 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 aint no
different from being in the hood where theres always young n****s looking up
to you because youre older and getting money. I wont tell you something
wrong, I wont say anything before I tell you something wrong, thats how I try
to play it with young dudes. I know people might hear my album and say its violent
or endorses gangbanging. But at the same time to a kid thats already in that
life, they might hear what Im really saying, and see the positive changes that
Im 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, Id tell him that
he was right. I felt like he was trying something new and was pushing the
boundaries when speaking for his people. Id 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. Its 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.
Thats 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, Id want to tell him that hes the best and
just give him his credit. I feel like Big made the best first album an artist
can make. Ready to Die, thats 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