The tragic and untimely death of rapper, entrepreneur, and advocate Nipsey Hussle has rocked the hip-hop community, but no one more so than the people who knew him best. His girlfriend Lauren London posted to Instagram that she felt “lost” without him, his bodyguard J Roc announced his retirement from personal security, and now, his brother Samiel Asghedom — affectionately known as Blacc Sam — has spoken out about the loss of the towering Crenshaw figure.
In an interview with ABC News, Sam said that Nipsey was the “people’s champ” and admired how he’d turned his hard luck in the Los Angeles inner city into a flourishing musical and business empire, without turning his back on the blocks that raised him.
“He was somebody that believed in the process of hard work, determination and just the positivity of somebody staying in the area that he grew up in and making something out of nothing,” he said. “… he was a role model to the community, to the kids, and to the mothers and the grandmothers and the community that watched him grow up and seen him as a youngster, (and now) a family man, a father, raising his kids.”
“He pulled himself from his boot strings, laying roots through everything — police problems, as a black male trying to grow up and be enterprising, we face a lot of things in the community, you know, the politics within the hood, just hate. He transcended everything and just stayed there and became a beacon of light.”
Sam said that though Nipsey was pushed by external sources to remove himself from the hood, he felt like it was his responsibility to give back and ensure others had the opportunity to grow up with opportunities and safety rather than run away. “[People always asked him,] ‘Why do you have something in this area? Why don’t you leave and do something else?’ … but he was murdered while he was in a parking lot, hanging out, selling CDs and that’s the area that he felt attached to and did everything in the area and ended up buying a lot and rehabilitating, opening up businesses and just became a landmark for everybody.”
Nipsey’s responsibility extended to being a visible role model for kids in the neighborhood around his Marathon store, which is located in the same parking lot where he once committed crimes to make a living. He wanted them to see someone from their neighborhood doing better. “Growing up, when he was a teenager — I’m a little bit older than him, he was in the streets and gangs, trying to hustle and get money,” he said. “I was trying to make sure that he’s safe and that he’s legitimate and doing something positive and that was my whole goal. You know, at the end of the day, he’s the one who actually made me have something legitimate to be able to attach myself to… It’s hard that he was killed, man. It’s hard.”
Nipsey Hussle is a Warner Music artist. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music.