A letter to Nipsey
Nipsey, you earned my respect. I first heard of you back in like ‘07 when you was making a footprint in NY. I couldn't embrace you immediately because you reminded me too much of Snoop - I questioned your authenticity - you know this industry quick to recreate and repackage. But through your consistency I was able to see your individuality. I respected your hustle, and before you passed I respected your Artistry. Victory Lap is a banger ; now classic.
It's crazy because I was talking to one of the homies, tellin’ him that we (as a people) aren't as progressive as we like to portray ourselves on social media. We haven't changed the black experience. We've only changed the way it looks. We're still afraid of the work. You wasn't afraid of the work, and that's what made you different.
You know.. you were murdered on your own property, in your own hood, by your own kind. Yet, online it seems the main takeaway has been an emphasis on continuing your legacy of entrepreneurship. They don't get it. Never in history have we ever lacked entrepreneurship. You didn't just enterprise. You taught and provided for your own, and that was the difference. Capitalism isn't going to save us. Capitalism is not synonymous with and does not equate to community. Your death was not a business failure.
We pretend to be pro-black online, and in high platform discussions...it's all fraudulent. We plot on each other in real life; we beef with each other, compete with each other, move in cliques, cheat on our partners, lie to our spouses, neglect our kids, disrespect the co-creators of our children, envy and gossip about those we call friends, scam each other, trick each other, withhold connections and information, flex on each other; we do all of this, with no exaggeration. Some would say, it's too critical to highlight these things, you don't have to be perfect to serve your community, and I would agree with the latter. However, this is common culture in our community. These behaviors largely characterize the everyday insular Black experience. These are the narratives that color our conversations, and entertainment content.
Anyway, man. In these moments I'm torn because, I know every event that manifests in the material realm is spiritual in nature. Nothing operates outside of the jurisdiction of the Divine. Still, it's hard accepting the way this thing played out. Sometimes I wonder if you knew. Because of all the signs. You named your album “Victory Lap”, an encore lap taken after the race is done. In the cover art it almost looks like you're laying in a black casket. You recently did a shoot wit’ my man Awol - with the white horse. The white horse is a symbol of death. And your suit. The white suit. In Islam, the Prophet Muhammad, messenger of Allah says: wear your white clothes, for they are the best of your clothes, and shroud your dead in them.
Your transition, personally speaking, has challenged me with the decision to begin viewing life in the clarity, understanding, and knowing of the Spirit, or to otherwise dwell in the pain, confusion, and uncertainty of the flesh. This internal divide was felt strongest at your passing. In the physical it doesn't make sense, but in the Spirit it's all aligned. Your soul has returned to the Source. You did well on your journey through this realm. Congratulations, fellow spirit. May you live on.