How the late, Grammy-nominated rapper Nipsey Hussle used his star power to improve his community
Salon’s Editor at Large D. Watkins and culture writer Rachel Leah discuss how the late Nipsey Hussle used his influence as a Grammy-nominated hip-hop artist to bring tangible change to his Crenshaw neighborhood.
The rapper undeniably altered the music industry in substantial ways, such as remaining proudly independent and self-releasing the bulk of his music through his own record label, All Money In. He cut out any middleman and retained total artistic freedom.
In fact, when Nipsey priced his 2013 project "Crenshaw" for $100, an impressed Jay-Z bought 100 copies. In 2015, physical copies for Nipsey's mixtape "Mailbox Money" sold for $1,000. The digital versions were all still free, but Nipsey's thinking went that for those who could afford it, quality still mattered and his music was worth paying for, a revolutionary idea in this streaming-dominated era.
Beyond the business of music, Nipsey was focused on investing in community development in effective ways, from fighting gentrification by creating jobs, to freshening up basketball courts and playgrounds for kids, to working with the LAPD to try to stop gang violence.
“The stuff he did fed people,” Watkins said. “The key to trying to fix the violence in the neighborhood like the one he actually died at is getting people away from poverty, trying to create opportunities where people can take care of themselves without the gun play,” Watkins said.
Watch the full episode to hear more about how Nipsey Hussle’s entry into music and how his fans are coping with the tragic loss.
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