Last updated August 15, 2019
No matter how much time has passed, this loss is still so incredibly unreal & unbelievable. There are so many reasons as to why this loss hurts so much personally. Nipsey Hussle's legacy will forever live on; his successful entrepreneurial strides, patient creative process, & complete embodiment of what dedication, loyalty, & hard work means will always be remembered. Here are six entrepreneurial lessons that I've learned from Nipsey Hussle the Great.
Hussle Lesson #1: "Invest in some assets, as opposed to trickl[ing] off all [your] money on some liabilities, like diamonds [and] cars," Nipsey said in one of his earliest recorded interviews (from 2006 but published in 2013). There's absolutely nothing wrong with having nice things, but play your cards right & be smart about it.
A few weeks before his untimely demise, Forbes wrote a detailed article about his real estate accomplishments. The same block that Nipsey used to hustle on is the same block that he bought back to create jobs for the people & circulate legit wealth for the city.
In addition to rebuilding his block, Nipsey Hussle also has other business ventures. The Marathon Agency, Vector90, & Steve's Barbershop are just a few businesses that Nipsey co-founded. This man has upwards of 15+ businesses!
Hussle Lesson #2: Know the value of your work & don't undersell yourself. YOU set the value/price of your product or service, so only YOU can determine how much something is worth. Just because there are competitors around you selling a similar product/service at a different price point than you doesn't mean anything. As long as you can properly position + execute your product or service, it is worth whatever price you give.
Shortly after, Nipsey revealed in an interview with Hot 97 that he got the idea from a book called Contagious. It's about how to make things go viral & how to properly position your product/service. Author Jonah Berger details the six key factors that contribute to something going viral: social currency, triggers, emotion, public view, practical use, & stories (STEPPS).
Long story short, there's an example in the book that talks about how a local restaurant decided to start charging $100 for their sandwiches, & although it made a lot of people mad, it also spread like wildfire. Nipsey applied this to his eighth mixtape, & it was a huge success--he sold 1,000 copies in the first day!
I was still in high school at the time, so reading a book for fun was the last thing on my to-do list. Fast forward to 2016, my third year in college. I'm sitting in the lecture hall, reading over the class syllabus, & guess what one of our required readings was titled? Contagious. Truth be told, I honestly only read it because I remembered it from the Rosenberg & Ciph interview. Funny how things come full circle when it was meant to be, huh?
When Your Team Wins, You Win Too
Hussle Lesson #3: You can only do so much on your own, & there's nothing wrong with trying to put your people on. Don't be greedy; share what you know & do your best to help your team succeed. It's okay & totally acceptable to have more than one "winner" in the same team.
I've never understood why people are so afraid of helping each other out, or why everything has to be so secretive. Don’t get me wrong, competition can be healthy, but numbers, stats, etc. doesn’t really translate into anything valuable. Even if it's people close to you who want to do the same thing--why would you stop them from being great?
Be confident enough in yourself to know that even if you put someone on, they'll never do it how YOU do it. There is only one you, & no one can do it like you do & how you do it. When you give back to your day one loyal supporters, only greatness can come out of that.
Your Past Doesn't Define You
Hussle Lesson #4: Nothing in this world can stop you besides yourself. It's no secret that Nipsey's teen years weren't the sweetest, but Nipsey has also never hid from the truth or kept quiet on the cruelty of the streets. So many people have overlooked him, simply because the tattoos on his face or the pants below his waist, but yet look at the legacy that he's left behind.
Nipsey Hussle didn't finish high school, but have you heard the way that man speaks? Education doesn't always have to be formal. If you've never watched any of Nipsey's interviews, I highly encourage you to YouTube a full-length Nipsey Hussle interview & watch it from start to finish; he continuously drops knowledge in every answer to every question.
Who would have thought that a former Crip from South LA would have the whole world mourning after his cold-blooded murder? Nipsey Hussle is being remembered for his entrepreneurship, philanthropy, & activism--NOT the gang banging he did at 14 years old. A lot of people say they’ve never heard of him, but yet his Celebration of Life is at the same venue as Michael Jackson’s; his name & the philanthropic work that he’s contributed is being archived in the Congressional Record; his landmark intersection, Crenshaw & Slauson, is being renamed to “Ermias ‘Nipsey Hussle’ Square.”
Stick to the Script
Hussle Lesson #5: Nipsey has repeatedly said this in songs & interviews: Stick. To. The. Script. Create a plan, then execute it; be patient if it doesn't go the way you want, but don't fold just for an immediate reward. Everything happens in the timing that it should be in, so if something doesn't work out the way you want, it was for a good reason--even if you can't understand why at the time.
Ironically, I am literally realizing + applying that to Nip's passing as I write this blog. I was so angry & hurt & devastated when I found out. I couldn't understand why we would lose one of the best humans on Earth; why children lost their father; why a woman lost her soulmate; why family members lost their grandson, son, & brother; why friends lost their homie. But, it makes sense to me now. Playing back his lyrics, looking back at his tweets, & reading back Instagram captions, this loss was no mistake. We were blessed to experience his presence on this Earth, & he was here to do what he had to do. That doesn't make it hurt any less, but it provides comfort.
Nipsey Hussle stuck to his script, stayed true to himself, & was able to control his whole narrative exactly how he wanted to. He eliminated the middle man. He proved that you can accomplish anything you put your mind to. He showed that dedication + patience is how you win.
The Marathon Continues
Hussle Lesson #6: Keep going; don't stop, don't give up, & don't quit. This is what the entire concept of TMC (The Marathon Continues or The Marathon Clothing) stands for. You have to play the long game & look at the bigger picture.
So many people doubted him because he was independent & wasn't signed to any major label. So many people laughed when he released a $100 mixtape. So many roadblocks were put in front of him from racist law enforcement & city personnel. Nip didn't care, though. He always pushed through & continued with what he was doing; he didn't ever stop.
Nipsey created his own lane & did things the way he wanted. He definitely didn't play by the rules, & that's what makes him so damn prolific. Even after his physical body has left this earth, his legacy continues to run deep throughout Los Angeles, the rest of the States, & the w.o.r.l.d! The marathon will always continue.
Hussle & Motivate
I've been listening to Nipsey since 2011, when he & YG first came out with a song that was later re-introduced in a 2013 mixtape. The first song that I heard from Nipsey was more of a pop culture anthem, but his lyricism really got me intrigued. I went back to his old music & started listening to previously released mixtapes.
What I love the most about Nipsey Hussle's music is that he is honestly so gifted + talented. His storytelling skills & lyrical capabilities is unmatched. Every single song, even the mindless ones, tell a true story that people can relate to. On top of that, his personality outside of the music has always been consistent. From interviews to performances to random paparazzi clips, his demeanor & energy has never changed. Even after "making it," the money + fame didn't change him. That's a true legendary king.
It's so eerie listening to all of his music now, but knowing that he owns all of his masters (which is very, very rare in the music industry!) & knowing that the royalties will go to his children makes it even more special. Rest in paradise to the legend.
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