On Sunday afternoon, 33-year-old rapper Nipsey Hussle–who was nominated for Best Rap Album at the 2019 Grammys–was shot multiple times outside a clothing store he owned.
Hussle not only owned Marathon Clothing but had recently purchased the entire shopping center. He also owned multiple other businesses, including a burger joint and a barbershop, in an effort to bring jobs and prosperity to his neighborhood.
After a tough adolescence, during which he joined a gang affiliated with the Crips, Hussle worked hard to get his music out into the world. He sold mixtapes out of the trunk of his car. In fact, Jay-Z was an early fan who bought 100 of the young artist’s 2013 tape, Crenshaw.
Hussle planned to meet with LAPD officials to discuss “ways he could help stop gang violence and help us help kids,” according to Commissioner Steve Soboroff. Hussle didn’t want anyone else to grow up like he did, in what he described as a “war zone” in a 2018 interview with the LA Times.
Instead, he and 2 other men were shot by an unknown assailant in broad daylight on Sunday. The gunman disappeared into a waiting car. The other victims are currently in stable condition, but Nipsey Hussle was pronounced dead at the hospital.
A source with the police department revealed that Hussle likely knew his attacker. The source speculated that it might have been personally motivated, rather than a gang-related attack.
Hussle’s last tweet read: “Having strong enemies is a blessing.” It’s hard not to read that as a dire warning of things to come.
Stars who knew Hussle–or were just inspired by his music and his dedication to bettering his community–poured out messages of love and sorrow on social media. Rhianna, Drake, Pharrell Williams, and Bruno Mars among many others praised his work and his life.
Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman wrote this incredible statement: “Such an impressive mind and talent. Everywhere your feet touched the ground you inspired. And even as your spirit flies free you ignite our souls. Let the many who you have made bold rise up and carry the torch.”
Nipsey Hussle leaves behind his girlfriend of 6 years, Lauren London, as well as two children. His daughter attended the Grammys with him in February.