Nipsey Hussle was gunned down outside of his Marathon Clothing store in the Crenshaw neighborhood of South Central Los Angeles on March 31, 2019. The outpouring of love and adulation he received in the wake of his death has been nonstop in the years since, but where was that kind of support when he was alive?
Time and time again, when a person dies, they’re suddenly thrust into another realm of idolization — everyone’s their biggest fan. It happened with Nipsey and will happen again. In TV One’s Uncensored episode on Master P, the No Limit Records founder/CEO touched on Nipsey and was baffled by the phenomenon. But speaking to HipHopDX in a recent Zoom interview, he had his theories as to why this happens.
“I just think in our culture, it just natural that people just self-hate,” he says. “They don’t want to see somebody else make it until they gone. You don’t want to tell somebody they great while they alive. That’s the thing that I just couldn’t understand about Nipsey is that he was talented. He put the same record that sold millions of copies only sold 50,000 when he was alive and he couldn’t get it.
“He was like, ‘Man, I put my all into this project.’ He was like, ‘Boss, I did it. This is it.’ And then when it didn’t happen, and just watching the people, this guy don’t know that his funeral was at the Staples Center. He didn’t know that he had that type of love. Let’s be honest, he was still in Inglewood and Crenshaw trying to figure it out.”
Anyone who’s been to Nipsey Hussle’s memorial site on Crenshaw and Slauson has witnessed the giant murals erected in his honor, merch tables with hundreds of t-shirts, stickers and hoodies dedicated to Neighborhood Nip and the camaraderie among those who admire him.
“Look back before that happened,” Master P says. “He getting all this negative media and all this stuff. People would tell him, ‘Well, I don’t think that you got it.’ What happened? I mean, it’s the same album. The same album that people love now. That’s the part that I don’t understand. That’s why we got to celebrate us while we here. Stop it with the fake love. It ain’t for me, but I know a lot of people that he did songs with that we couldn’t get approved or nobody would mess. Now, if you say you got a Nipsey song, everybody want to be on it. It’s too late.”
Master P remembers those people, too, but he takes the high road. As he explains, “I forgive them, because I realize that you have to be able to forgive and move on. But those people know, and I think that’s the most important thing. They know if they really would’ve been there for him, he wouldn’t have been in a position [to be killed].
“Because this guy was all about being self-made and independent, but it is just tough when you in the ghetto, and you’re trying to make it, and you have all these dreams, but you almost get there, you go to jail to get killed. That’s been what’s been happening all over the world.”
The 51-year-old business mogul understands all too well what it takes to pull yourself off a dangerous path. He did that early on in his life, when he was running around the streets of New Orleans. Fortunately for him, he had the foresight to veer of that path and onto another, more positive one.
“I just realized that it’s about not having the right people around you, and also putting your trust and faith in the wrong people,” he says. “That was the thing that I had to learn, and that’s why I moved from where I was at. A lot of people don’t realize sometimes you gotta move away to see the big picture.”