A Letter to Nip

Dear Ermias Davidson “Nipsey Hu$$le” Asghedom,

Until the sun burns out, the messages and inspirations in your music will be passed down from generation to generation and even in darkness, they’ll speak of the remarkable light that you radiated. You were more than the type of artist that hip-hop needed, you were the type of man we needed to see succeed.

In this current society of obnoxious entitlement, asinine opinions, hypersensitivity, and mind-numbing music—you stood out like a dazzling diamond buried in the depths of the earth’s core. You gleamed with the glow of the enlightened and it’s clear that the almighty touched your soul. You were much more than a musician; you were chosen and given a light to lead the free… music just happened to be your platform.

This world, no, this reality, is a treacherous maze of deliberate traps set with the sole purpose of destroying black men. From your spirit and within your art, you gave us a blueprint to navigate this perfidious maze of existence and made it a bit easier to get into the world every day. You reaffirmed the importance of protecting the black woman and choosing a proper partner. Reiterated upon a code of dignity, honor, and morals. You spoke financial literacy and community awareness to us in ways that we could understand and apply to our lives and were a stalwart in this new school of thought for US.

You were our Marcus Aurelius, our allegorical Dr. King—our Malcolm X in all black with 5 gold chains on.

In the midst of your ascension to the other side, I’m watching real niggas mourn, lames attempting to use your name to gain some delusional sense of power or influence, and insufferable members of a particular demographic implying that you deserved to be slain because your beliefs didn’t align with theirs. As I intake all this information, I’m actively traversing a vortex of emotions. The weighty darkness of loss lulling in my chest as I think about your absence, the heat of tears welling behind my eyes as I think about your family and friends, joy bursting from my heart as I spin your records and reflect on your legacy and contribution to the world, and rage—burning, smoldering indignation coursing through my being as I think about those who took you from us and those who dare disrespect you in this moment.

I decided to bury my emotions in this letter in an attempt to process what I’m feeling and as a tribute to you. I second-guessed releasing this piece of work due to the climate of the internet and particular judgments or ramifications that I may face, then I remembered what you said–

“Would you rather be at war with yourself and at peace with the world or at peace with yourself and at war with the world?”

And you made my decision simple.

From the depths of my heart and the core of my spirit, I love you, my nigga. Thank you for being a brilliant representation and example of aggressive intelligence and positive masculinity. The world stands still in your honor today. It’s all money in until the world burns and the marathon will never stop.

You will live forever.

– Malcolm Jamaal “Hollywood” Heaggans


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