Nipsey Hussle’s Final Act Continues: Fighting Gentrification
The marathon continues for the Crenshaw icon’s fight for financial empowerment
Back in 2006, a fresh-faced 21-year-old rapper named Nipsey Hussle, who the year prior had released his first official mixtape, Slauson Boy Vol. 1, spoke with legendary hip-hop journalist Davey D at the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network’s “Get Your Money Right” summit. The conversation lasted only five minutes, but it spoke volumes.
Nip was sporting a small diamond stud in each earlobe and a Cuban link chain draped over his oversized white T-shirt. Still, the look struck Davey D as understated, at least for an up-and-coming rapper of the day. “How come you not blingin’ and havin’ all kind of crazy diamonds and all that?” he asked the rapper. “I guess you here to get your money right, huh?”
“All the time,” young Hussle replied. “You know, all that is cool for the image and all that, but all them is liabilities, you feel me? I’d rather invest in some real estate.”
“Wait, wait,” Davey replied, visibly surprised at the young man’s acumen. “Can you repeat that?”
“I said invest in some assets,” Hussle said, louder this time. “As opposed to trick off my money on some liabilities like diamonds, you know what I’m sayin’? Cars that lose value as soon as you drive ’em off the lot.”
“So you tryin’ to get land?” Davey asked Nip, who at the time was still more than a decade away from purchasing the shopping plaza at West Slauson Avenue and South Crenshaw Boulevard and opening legitimate brick-and-mortar businesses with his older brother, Blacc Sam.
“Exactly, homie,” Hussle said. “A real asset to take care of my peoples.” Jewelry might look good, he reasoned, “but at the end of the day, it’s losin’ value. It ain’t appreciatin’ — it’s depreciatin’.” Although the…