Hip-hop music has proven to be the most popular genre of music over the past decade. The genre has successfully proven to be a hell source of motivation for young people in the underprivileged communities. This has helped changed people’s perspective on this genre of music — it’s not about spitting awful words faster over beats, but rather a “cool” music with strong message about struggles and rising above those struggles. However, there are people who still solely view hip-hop as a genre of music which aim to promote crime and robbery in the community. These people (who still view hip-hop music as a promoter of crime in the community) are soon going to change their perspective after discovering the work of a tiny selection of the hip-hop artists who are consistent in providing motivating and inspiring content to serve the hip-hop culture.
Also, I want to make it clear at the beginning of this article that there are a lot of “fake” rappers out here, who are rapping non-informative content. As the rap industry expands and more money is generated from industry, a lot of new and fake rappers are constantly emerging and doing it just for the gram.
My main focus of this article is to introduce you to some of the most authentic and real rappers of this generation. Rappers who are constantly creating inspirational, motivational, and informative content. These are rappers who have positive influence to the hip-hop culture. These are rappers who have gone through some of the toughest situations but couldn’t allow those situations to define them — they rose above their struggles. Through their music, they’re narrating their life struggles and lessons that they’ve learnt. To do it effectively, they have got to be authentic and true and expose some of their previous deeds that most people will fear to tell in public.
Are you a fan of [hip-hop] music? Do you want to hop at all the hip-hop albums that drop every week? Some of which you might not even enjoy? That seems to be a waste of time. With a plethora of artists out there, it’s important to select a few artists to roll with. Artists that you resonate well with. I know you are busy and you love music. Music is your ultimate therapy, and so should you put a priority the set of artists that inspires, motivates, and orders you to take control of your life by hustling hard and making a decent living. And NOT mere artists who are grabbing your attention to show off their lavish lifestyles (which in most cases aren’t real) and jewelries and sneakers and big booty girls in their music videos. Let’s go directly into it. Don’t expect a long list… just two rappers.
Rest In Peace, Nipsey Hussle. Nipsey Hussle was murdered outside his store, The Marathon Clothing on 31 March 2019.
My Tribute to Nipsey Hussle
It’s really painful that Nipsey Hussle has died. This is the guy who has been inspiring me for the last 3-4 months. His music is always inspiring, pushing me to take action and take control of my life. His authentic and genuine way of expressing himself is something I’ve always emulated. I considered Nipsey Hussle my coach and his music as the channel that I could meet him and learn about life and hustle. His death has come prematurely — just after he signed a deal with Puma and his debut album (Victory Lap) was a Grammy-nominated for the best rap album. I’ll forever remain grateful for Nipsey’s music. The greatest lesson I’ve learnt from Nipsey is that life is a marathon journey — being patient and always sharpening your craft. Most people will remember Nipsey for selling a mixtape (Crenshaw Mixtape) at $100 per copy and Mailbox Money for $1,000 per copy, and his most famous quotes: “economics is based on the scarcity of markets” and “it is possible to monetize your art without compromising the integrity of its commerce.” REST IN PEACE NIPSEY HUSSLE.
Nipsey Hussle, real name Ermias Asghedom was the ultimate definition of an authentic rapper in this generation. He was among the few artists who are keeping it real all the way up. Earlier last year, his debut album, Victory Lap, received a Grammy nomination for rap album of the year. The album had been in the making for more than a decade; due to some disagreements with his then record label, Epic Records, the album was delayed. Until last year when the album dropped featuring artists such as Kendrick Lamar, YG, and Puff Daddy. In 2013, the late Nipsey Hussle broke the record by selling 1,000 copies of his Crenshaw mixtape for $100 per copy.
Jay Z bought 100 copies of the mixtape, helping Nipsey Hussle make $100,000 worth of sales from the mixtape. When asked why he priced the mixtape that high during an interview, he said that he got the idea from a book called Contagious that was recommended to him by one of his mentors in New York. He pumped in the $100,000 to expand his record label All Money In No Money Out, which he owns a quarter of. He went on to release only 100 copies of his subsequent mixtape, Mailbox Money at $1,000 per copy. Here, the late Nipsey Hussle proved that “it’s possible to monetize your art without compromising the integrity of it for commerce.” And that “economics is based on the scarcity of markets.” That’s genius! I mean who can do that? How many people are willing to pay Kshs. 10,000 or Kshs. 100,000 for a mixtape? If not the ultimate true and sincere fans.
You might ask yourself: “what made the late Nipsey Hussle a rapper to look up to?” What was unique about him? Nipsey Hussle was running his own race — marathon as he puts it. He was an all-rounded rapper. After releasing mixtapes after mixtapes over the past decades, and keeping the positive energy and speaking the truth all through, he had climbed the ladder to become more than just a rapper — he was an entrepreneur. Firstly, tell me, how many rappers in this generation can focus on sharpening their rap skills for a decade without the desire and attempt to go viral by making unnecessary moves? Secondly, in this generation, where artists are bugging around on Instagram and showing off their jewelries, how many can follow the route of investing their money and starting businesses to change their ‘hoods? Very little. The late Nipsey Hussle had fulfilled all the conditions! He inspire young people to stop gang banging, to work hard, and to strategically invest their money through his music.
There is no better way to know and learn more about the late Nipsey Hussle than to listen to his mixtapes and album. His other mixtapes include Mailbox Money, The Marathon, The Marathon Continues, Slauson Boy 2, Bullets Ain’t Got No Name, Famous Lies & Unpopular Truths, and No Pressure.
Nipsey Hussle’s impact on his community
Apart from motivating and inspiring young people from West Slauson Avenue (just off Crenshaw Boulevard in LA) through his music, Nipsey Hussle had found other ways to impact his community. Nipsey Hussle started The Marathon Clothing store to sell branded Crenshaw hoodies and his music. The store is viewed by the locals as a form of inspiration to young people to work hard and achieve what they’ve dreamt of. It’s also a hub where local people come together to relax and discuss different issues affecting them. Alongside his business partner, Dave Gross, Nipsey Hussle had planned to knock down the entire plaza where The Marathon Clothing store is arched “within 18 months or so” and rebuild a six-story residential building.
I’m sincerely heart-knocked that Nipsey has passed away this early and prematurely. I never expected this any soon; at 33, when he had just started to make great moves both musically and business-wise. I can’t imagine that soon I won’t be able to experience Nipsey’s new advice on business, self-development, and life in general, through his music. Nipsey’s music will forever remain a source of inspiration and motivation for me. His legacy will forever live on.
Damn, I wish my nigga Fatts was here/
How you die thirty somethin’ after banging all them years?/
Grammy-nominated, in the sauna sheddin’ tears/
All this money, power, fame and I can’t make you reappear/
But I don’t wipe ’em though/
We just embrace the only life we know/
If it was me, I would tell you, “Nigga, live your life and grow”/
I’d tell you, “Finish what we started, reach them heights, you know?/
J Cole is known in most cases for releasing platinum projects without features. All of his last 5 albums have been certified gold by RIAA, with his lionized classic album, 2014 Forest Hill Drive going double platinum. His last project, KOD broke both Apple’s and Spotify’s streaming record for most streamed album of all times in 24 hours on the platforms. KOD was streamed 64.5 million times on Apple Music and 36.7 million times on Spotify. Still, he broke the records with only one feature (Kill Edward on songs “The Cut Off” and “Friends” ) on the entire project. KOD will forever be remembered for ‘1985’ single from the album. The track, which many people believe was aimed at Lil Pump and other new generation of neophyte SoundCloud rappers warns lil’ rappers who’re splurging their cash on icy watches and sneakers but haven’t thought of buying their mommas houses and among other valuable investments.
I heard one of ‘em diss me, I’m surprised/
I ain’t trippin’, listen good to my reply/
Come here lil’ man, let me talk with ya/
See if I can paint for you the large picture/
Congrats ‘cause you made it out your mama’s house/
I hope you make enough to buy your mom a house/
No argument J Cole is one of the GOATs of this generation. All the 5 albums he has released topped the US music charts. J Cole is helping leverage other artists’ career through his record label, Dreamville Records. His has signed some of the surrealist artists in the game of hip-hop. Some of his signees include Bas, J.I.D, Cozz, Earthgang, Lute, Omen, among others. I’ll argue that J Cole is one among the few humble artists of this generation. Or as he said in his new banger “Middle Child”, he is the bridge between old rappers and the newcomers — “I’m dead in the middle of two generations. I’m little bro and big bro all at once.”
I love you lil’ niggas, I’m glad that you came/
I hope that you scrape every dollar you can/
I hope you know money won’t erase the pain/
To the OGs, I’m thankin’ you now/
Was watchin’ you when you was pavin’ the ground/
I copied your cadence, I mirrored your style/
I studied the greats, I’m the greatest right now/
In an era of social media where artists are trolling, J Cole has kept himself composed and focused on creating good music. No media attention. No unnecessary beef. Less social media activities. Stick to creating good music. Those are some of the factors defining J Cole.