On March 31st 2019, we all lost a great human who was dedicated to righteous changes. Business magnate Ermias “Nipsey Hussle” Asghedom was gunned down at his own store, sending shockwaves throughout the world. Here’s why his presence made such a big difference.
1. Being a Neighborhood Hero
Crenshaw and Slauson shopping mall complex was owned by Hussle. It was home to his The Marathon retail space, the first smart store on the planet. Tags on his clothing are coded to display exclusive content when paired with The Marathon App, giving fans VIP access to things like music videos while shopping at his store.
In addition to his clothing store, NIP owned a barber shop and a health-conscious restaurant within the complex, which ultimately came under his full ownership in February, 2019. Partnering with real estate investor David Gross brought this and another one of his ventures to fruition.
Another community staple, Vector90 is located not far from his property. Conceptually a WeWork for the inner city, this project has collaborative space for entrepreneurs and creatives. With the tagline “too big to fail,” Hussle created a program for kids to learn coding, doubling up the purpose from co-working to STEM center.
2. Staying True (to The Set)
Above anything, his authenticity made him stand out. Being a member of Rollin 60’s Crips did not become an excuse or stop him from making positive contributions to his community. Many people see gangs as a stereotypical detriment to their communities. However, Nipsey embodied the acronym Community Revolution In Progress, taking it back to the roots of gangs created to protect black neighborhoods from the Ku Klux Klan.
Prior to his death, NIP went to 14 different gang territories with all of his jewellery on and no security. Each showed respect when they realized who he was.
After his passing, every gang in Los Angeles came together to pay respect, bringing a cease-fire to conflicts that have been going on 40 years.
3. Embracing Cryptocurrency and Blockchain
Ahead of the curve, Nipsey was an early adopter of Bitcoin since 2013, leading to an investment ownership stake in Amsterdam-based company Follow Coin. Their focus is to further the adoption of blockchain technology.
4. Changing Record Deal Standards
Throughout his career, Nip had two major record deals. His first with Epic in 2008 did not pan out well. After becoming a subsidiary of Columbia Records, a majority of the staff that brought him on board and shared his vision was laid off. Hussle made an exit in 2010.
In 2017, his label, All Money In, partnered with Atlantic Records, giving him creative freedom and ownership over his masters. He held out for a long time to get the right label situation.
The terms are in NIP’s favor. Please, go stream Hussle’s music – the revenue will go directly to his family.
5. Engaging as a Community Activist
He was scheduled to speak with the LAPD and Roc Nation the next day on how to combat gang violence in the city. Close friends with Billionaire mogul Jay-Z, they spent time together discussing ownership, and Mr. Carter even did the honor of speaking at his funeral.
Hussle intended to open more businesses within the complex while hiring from the community. He had a specific focus on employing convicted felons who historically have trouble finding employment.
6. Thinking Big With No Limit
Before his untimely death, Nipsey put in a bid for The Viceroy hotel in Santa Monica. That effort did not materialize, but he also had bigger goals. When one door closes, another one opens.
The Virgin resort and casino will be opening in Las Vegas in 2020. The total projected value of Hussle’s investments so far is $210,413,500 (Personal Impact). His legacy will live long for generations to come. Nobody is perfect, yet he managed to be a role model for youth aspiring to make the transition from the courtroom to the boardroom.
With articles in Forbes and GQ, the world was just beginning to understand the genius of Hussle. Leaders from all over the world paid their respects, including Barack Obama in letter form and the Ex-President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a tweet.
I do this in honor of his entrepreneurial spirit. On that note, The Marathon Continues.