On what began as a rather quiet Sunday afternoon in sunny Los Angeles, the eruption of gunshots around 3 p.m. would cause families, the Crenshaw community, and hip-hop fans to grieve over the loss of one of the most important voices of this generation.
Authorities announced the death of Grammy Award-winning rapper Nipsey Hussle, 33, after he was reportedly struck by multiple gunshots outside his Marathon Clothing store, which is located on Crenshaw Boulevard and Slauson. Before the sun set on South Los Angeles, helicopters flew over neighborhoods surrounding the crime scene as numerous police cars could be seen on nearly every block. The suspect or suspects remain at large.
Hundreds of fans gathered at Marathon Clothing, which was blocked off by crime scene tape as authorities investigated the murder that sent shock waves throughout the hip-hop community.
Drivers on congested Crenshaw Boulevard blasted music from Hussle’s impressive catalog. One of the most played songs proved to be “Dedication,” a song where Hussle rapped, “Young Black [man] trapped and he can’t change it, Know he a genius, he just can’t claim it, ‘Cause they left him no platforms to explain it, He frustrated so he get faded, But deep down inside he know you can’t fade him, How long should I stay dedicated? How long ’til opportunity meet preparation?”
A few who gathered near the crime scene cried as others lit candles at a makeshift memorial in support of Hussle, whose real name is Ermias Asghedom. Some at the scene were furious over the fact that another Black person had died due to senseless violence.
“What a sad day for hip-hop,” said Abdul Muhammad during an interview with rolling out. “But it’s also a day that should inspire you to kill that spirit of self-hat[red] in your brain that is telling you that you should kill your brother. You should be embracing your brother. We should be putting these gun downs.”
Watts Councilman Mac Shorty provided encouragement and advice to the fans who were at the scene to pay their respect. Shorty, who had recently met with Hussle to discuss community initiatives, believes the rapper would want everyone to stick together during these trying times. “Nipsey started out as a youth at the Watts Towers Art Center so it’s a tremendous loss for Watts,” Shorty told this publication. “I don’t believe Nipsey would want us to target each other. I believe Nipsey would want us to come together for his name, his family and his city which is Los Angeles.”
Hussle once served as a cover feature for rolling out. During his interview, he told this reporter, “I’m a voice from that community, so it’s only right that I speak on what’s right and what’s wrong.”