Some people are simply destined to become something big, and the larger the obstacle the larger the destiny. It is that struggle that molds these visionaries into the people they need to become in order to serve the world with their natural gift. Nipsey Hussle is one of those people, and he proves every day that success comes from within. From spending his days in survival mode growing up in the of Crenshaw in the 90’s when it was coined the “city of gangbanging” to now having an empire of entrepreneurial success. His accomplishments not only tell his story but inspire up-and-coming entrepreneurs and artists with their own journey. Hussle proves that being true and pure to yourself pays off.
The recent release of Nips’s debut album Victory Lap has shed new light on this entrepreneur’s journey. Using this opportunity, Hussle wants to spread his message and the lessons he has learned along the way to others that may need motivation to get started or continue on their own path.
Commit To Your Path
Everyone has their own talent and gifts. They are born with them – no matter the circumstances they are born into. It isn’t always easy, but making a commitment to those gifts is what will pull you through the rough times. It has to be a real commitment, one that cannot be shaken no matter the circumstances.
Nipsey grew up as part of a local gang, and much of his youth revolved around drugs. But Hussle was born to be an artist, and his life wouldn’t begin to change until he committed to music. When Hussle was only 17 years old, his focus turned to his gift. Even when he lost the credibility, money and attention that came with having a high status in his gang, he never faulted. “Whatever goes on, I stay committed to it. The ups and downs, the financial struggle – it doesn’t matter. I’m committed to music now.” Nipsey explains. “Everything else faded.”
The seeds that were sown with that commitment are paying dividends to him now as his new album puts him into the ranks of many of those who inspired him – Jay Z, Dr. Dre, Diddy and more. There were many opportunities for Hussle to fall off track or give up. Hardships were no stranger to him. After getting clean and pursuing music, his studio was raided by the police. Because he was on probation and caught with a gun, all of his equipment was confiscated. A long slue of court battles ensued and Nipsey was forced to return to his hustle to pay lawyers and fight the court.
But he never gave up, and today he wants to spread that message to the youth of America. The work he had put into his vision and his work eventually came back to him a year later when a producer reached out to him based on previous work and offered him the biggest check he had ever seen. “If you stay committed, it will work out for you. Stay committed. Never give up. Stay pure.”
Forge Your Own Way
While there are some rules that must always be followed, when it comes to your dreams and vision, forge your own path. There will always be those who disagree with you or dislike you. People will talk no matter what you do, so you might as well stay pure to yourself. When you stay true to yourself no matter what the naysayers do, your tribe of true fans will find you.
Nipsey Hussle believed in a different business model the majority of the hip hop industry, and he was unwilling to bend his beliefs. In 2013, he did the unthinkable. Nipsey priced his Crenshaw mixtape for $100 in his Proud2Pay campaign – an item that is typically given away as free promotional content. He surprised the entire industry when Jay Z purchased 100 copies and the rest sold out. He forged his own path and the results spoke for themselves.
Be True to Your Brand
Once entrepreneurs go mainstream, there is an immense pressure to conform to the industry standard. Don’t. Instead, maintain your brand for what it is at the core. Your brand represents who you are as a person and what you stand behind. It can only come from you, and ultimately you will be more successful when it stays that way.
Nipsey has shared how he had a dream contract with a production company early in his career. When it fell through, after changes to the executive team were made, he was devastated at first. But it ended up being a blessing in disguise. His brand had started to morph into something he didn’t represent. “I remember my website had these two smoking guns on it. That wasn’t me. That isn’t who I was trying to be.” After parting ways, Nipsey was able to focus back on his brand and that became his model going forward.
“Tell your own story in your own image. No third party, no outside looking in. Fans can feel when you aren’t real. And if they love you, they need to love who you truly are.”
Hussle backs it up. In his debut album released this year, he strategically partnered his own record label ‘All Money In’ with Atlantic records so that he could leverage the release and distribution but still maintain control over his brand.
Pay it Forward
No one succeeds alone. We all need help. If you get in a place where you can pay it forward, do it. Give back. Teach and share your gifts. Provide to those who may be struggling. Not only do you help others and your community, paying it forward keeps you grounded.
Hussle is involved in several projects that do just that. Vector90 is an organization that helps the inner city budding entrepreneurs connect with each other in both a coworking space as well as an incubator environment. Vector90 partners with TooBigToFail, a STEM center that encourages design thinking in local youth and a pipeline to the growing tech needs of Silicon Valley.
No one has to do it alone. We all lean on someone from time to time, and when we can, we should be there when others need to lean on us.
Nipsey Hussle is more than a rapper. He is more than an entrepreneur. He is a visionary who has paved his own way by overcoming struggle to a place where he can tell his story to encourage and help others pave their ways to success. His story and message has compelled some of the most loyal fans and followers in his industry. No matter where you came from or where you currently are, you can make a difference. You can succeed. And Hussle is proof of that. Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.