My Letter To Nipsey: "Your Music Helped Inspire Me And Keeps Me Going"
By: James Teague
Throughout my 28 years of living, I was never the type that cried over a celebrity’s death. It just wasn’t my style. I managed to handle such celeb deaths such as Bernie Mac, Michael Jackson, & most recently, Mac Miller. For the most part I’ve gained an idea of how I’m able to handle death simply because it is simply part of the life process. However, with your passing this past Sunday evening, things really hit different for me. I was in the middle of recording my Upcoming podcast when I had got the news. I was shocked and didn’t know how to feel about the incident and when a picture of your body popped up on my Twitter time line, I got sick. I could only pray and wish for the best for you. But then God called you home and that tore the entire team up.
For the first time ever, I found myself locked in a bathroom crying and shedding tears over your death. This incident came as a complete left turn that just ruined my entire productive Sunday. It was so crazy for me realizing and seeing myself crying over your death because it was as if I had lost a family member/mentor. Your music has helped shaped my way of thinking and has gotten me through the tough years in my life. I was introduced to your music back in 2009 when “Hussle in the House” dropped. I was intrigued by the energy you were spreading on that record and had me thinking you was the spawn of Snoop Dogg.
That following year I followed you on your new Mixtape “The Marathon” and that mixtape played a pivotal role during my sophomore year in College. Your music along with all of the other peers that was involved in the “Blog Era” helped play a huge role in me growing into becoming the Man that I am today. The one song that stood out the most to me from your mixtape was “Bigger than Life,” the final cut that played right after “I Don’t Give a Fuck.” At that time, I couldn’t completely comprehend all of the things you were saying on that record, however I knew and understood that everything you were speaking on came from a place of sincerity. That was the day I really had became a fan of your music.
Your whole entire catalog has played a tremendous role in my life as I was transitioning from college kid to college graduate to young adult making his way through life. Your coming out party to the world was the infamous “Crenshaw” mixtape hosted by DJ Drama, which is probably one of my top favorite projects from you ever right next to Victory Lap the album. I remember during this time period I was fresh out of college working in my moms office while just starting off my freelance writing career writing for Elite Daily. I remember when you were talking about the “Proud to Pay” campaign, we all were nuts for thinking what we thought because it was so out of the ordinary and out of the box. Me personally I was intrigued by this but wasn’t sure what to expect from charging your CD $100.
But sure enough you stuck with your guns and when the music was officially released, it did the proper numbers it was supposed to. You even had Jay-Z show his support by buying 100 copies of your CD. It just goes to show that real recognizes real and he saw the potential in you from jump street. As a Black Creative that’s still working towards creating a plan that matches the vision of where I see my life trajectory, your music has helped inspire me and keeps me going through this Marathon we call life. Giving us free game, telling us to trust the process and trust our gut and to have the upmost faith in ourselves and what we do.
Throughout these years leading up to God calling you home, you’ve shaped yourself into becoming the example of what a strong powerful black man is supposed to be and for that I’m forever grateful for you giving all of us the gems we needed to hear. It sucks that you were taken away from us so soon because you were JUST starting to get into your prime. From being fresh off go a Grammy Nomination for your classic debut album Victory Lap to releasing your new single Racks in the Middle with Roddy Rich and also working on creating a collaborative effort with Meek Mill. You also were focusing a lot more on building your community up through new business ventures.
God bless your family, especially Lauren London and your kids because they really need to be surrounded by as much love as possible. Nipsey you may no longer be here with us in the physical form but through your music, interviews and wise words spoken, your spirit will forever live on in us. I think I can speak for all creatives and entrepreneurs affected by this death when I say we HAVE to continue keeping your legacy alive through our work and endeavors. More than ever now, it’s up to us to really focus and shape ourselves into discovering our potential and putting our best foot down in our endeavors. Either way it goes, The Marathon continues for us and we’re going to hold you down and celebrate your life by picking up where you left off. Long Live Neighborhood Nip !!!