On March 31, 2019, Nipsey Hussle tragically passed away. He was only 33-years-old.
At the time, the mainstream press reported that Nipsey Hussle was just another rapper who passed away before his time. The Associated Press barely made mention of Hussle’s other businesses — such as The Marathon Clothing Store — in their report about his passing.
Fortunately, thanks to the tireless efforts of his friends and family, the legacy of Nipsey Hussle is, today, far and above the reach of merely his music. He had his hand in everything from clothing to affordable housing, and his efforts will be remembered for generations to come.
“He was so much of a blessing as a father, entrepreneur, an incredible artist and young mogul,” DJ Khaled said in a follow-up Associated Press report. “We learned a lot from him, and we’re still learning. His music spoke volumes. It touched people in different ways. I was blessed to work with him.”
Today, we take a look at the life of Nipsey Hussle, his enduring legacy, and all the ways the marathon still continues.
The Neighborhood "Nip" Foundation
Created by his family in 2019, the Neighborhood “Nip” Foundation serves as an incubator for aspiring musicians and music industry professionals. According to The Los Angeles Times, Atlantic Records donated “six figures” to get the initiative off the ground, and the non-profit currently enjoys support from other major partners.
“[Nipsey] was very adamant about being purposeful and intentional and giving back and doing that right where he came from,” said music executive Steve “Steve-O” Carless, one of Hussle’s partners in the Marathon Agency marketing and management film, to the Los Angeles Times. “For us, it’s an honor to know we are going to be able to carry that vision on in the future, and we want to make sure it has the fortitude that he had. We’re really excited about it, and this is just the first step.”
The 2019 BET Humanitarian Award
Few people outside of Hip-Hop knew the extent to which Nipsey Hussle gave back to the community. But according to The Hollywood Reporter, BET was well aware of it — and that’s why they posthumously awarded him their Humanitarian Award in 2019.
“As a prolific artist and leader, Nipsey Hussle was zealous about driving change for the betterment of his community, empowering and employing those in need, and being an influential and highly respected leader. His passing was a tremendous loss to the entertainment industry and to the culture,” BET executive VP and head of programming Connie Orlando said in a statement at the time. “We will continue to remember his advocacy and be inspired by the groundwork he set forth and his dire commitment to social change. We are forever grateful, humbled, and honored to have experienced his presence and we are invested in doing our part to ensure that the marathon will indeed continue. It is an immense honor for us to recognize him with this year’s Humanitarian Award.”
The Congressional Record
Perhaps in response to the BET announcement, Democratic Rep. Karen Bass took to the floor of Congress to make sure all her colleagues knew what, exactly, Nipsey Hussle did for the community.
And according to ABC News, Bass made sure the congressional record reflected the “Racks in the Middle” rapper’s contributions accordingly.
Imagine the day we all look back on history and read Bass’s words: “Madame Speaker, I rise today on the floor of the House of Representatives to formally recognize and honor the legacy of Ermias Asghedom, known to his community and the neighborhoods of South Los Angeles and beyond, as Nipsey Hussle.”
Nipsey Hussle's legacy is now forever archived in U.S. history as part of the Congressional Record.
"For all he was given, he gave back. And for that legacy, South Los Angeles has been changed forever," @RepKarenBass says.
My story on his legacy: https://t.co/7lbwmJRAAP pic.twitter.com/hysqzyiUsH
— Deena Zaru Pettiford 👩🏻💻 (@Deena_Zaru) April 10, 2019
The Marathon Bookclub
Nipsey Hussle loved to read. After his passing, Vibe Magazine reports that “Marathon Bookclubs” popped up all over the United States. Some book clubs featured books that the rapper, himself, liked to read, while others featured books that were inspired by his life.
hey y’all. here’s my updated list. i’ll continue revamping it in the thread. keep passing the baton. #TMC 🏁 pic.twitter.com/pzO6GdDMpC
— simran k. (@simrankaleka) April 17, 2019
Puma X The Marathon Clothing
Just weeks before his passing, Nipsey Hussle signed a joint deal between his Marathon Clothing brand and Puma apparel. After his passing, the clothing company released the line, but announced that 100 percent of the proceeds would go to The Neighborhood “Nip” Foundation.
You can check out the line here.
Ermias “Nipsey Hussle” Asghedom Square
After a Change.org petition garnered millions of signatures, “Los Angeles City Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson announced…that the intersection of Crenshaw Boulevard and West Slauson Avenue in South L.A. will be named after slain rapper Nipsey Hussle,” reported Fox 5 L.A.
The Nipsey Hussle Tower
Nipsey Hussle was a proponent of affordable housing, and knew that housing insecurity was one of his neighborhood’s biggest plagues.
According to Billboard, construction began on The Nipsey Hussle Tower shortly after his passing. The tower, which is located not far from where he was slain, will provide affordable housing to low-income families.
STEM Programs in Inner Cities
Back in 2018, AfroTech reported that Nipsey Hussle was one of the biggest “disruptors” in the music industry because of his contributions to STEM programs in inner cities.
“Too Big To Fail will be a STEM center and maker space for youth in Los Angeles’ Crenshaw neighborhood,” we said at the time. “The rapper plans to launch the academy with his business partner and real estate developer Dave Gross. The 32-year-old said that he hopes the space can be a ‘bridge between Silicon Valley and the inner city.’”
And the STEM marathons, inspired by Nipsey, continue to this day.