American rapper Nipsey Hussle has been shot dead in Los Angeles.
The 33-year-old was shot a number of times and was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital on Sunday (March 31).
Nipsey Hussle, whose real name is Ermias Davidson Asghedom, was one of three people shot outside of a clothing store he owned. The Los Angeles Police Department told reporters that the shooting occurred at approximately 3:20 p.m. in the 3400 block of Slauson Avenue. TMZ reports that one man fled the crime scene in a car. The other two victims are in serious condition, according to NBC.
Just hours before his death, Hussle tweeted:
“Having strong enemies is a blessing.”
Police said the other two men were in stable condition. The gunman fled, and no arrests have been made.
“At this point, we’re not even sure as to whether he walked up, rode a bicycle or drove up in a car,” said the Los Angeles Police Department.
“We have no suspect info at this time and will provide more details as they become available.”
Major stars have paid tribute.
Rihanna tweeted: “This doesn’t make any sense! My spirit is shaken by this! Dear God may His spirit Rest In Peace and May You grant divine comfort to all his loved ones!”
Drake wrote: “You were having the best run … you were a real one to your people and to the rest of us.”
“Nipsey is a true voice. He will never be silenced. He still is a stand up general for the people who never left his people. He is loved by the people,” Nas wrote in a tribute on Instagram.
During a concert in Buenos Aires, Kendrick Lamar, who also hails from south LA and had collaborated with Hussle, described him as “our brother, our warrior, our soldier”, and led a moment of silence among the crowd.
Hussle had recently recorded with DJ Khaled, and had posted footage from a music video they were making together. Khaled wrote on Instagram that Hussle was “a great man … an inspiration to the whole world”. J Cole, Meek Mill, Vince Staples, and Chance the Rapper were among the other rappers paying tribute.
Hussle was a supporter of the LA Lakers basketball team, who posted a tribute online reading:
“Artist. Activist. Angeleno. LA mourns the loss of one of our own, Nipsey Hussle.”
The star Lakers player LeBron James wrote on Instagram:
“Just spoke with you the other day on text bro! Telling you how proud I was of you and how I was gone get you to more Laker games next season. Been a stand up dude from day 1. May you rest in paradise … this one hurts big time!” Another NBA star, Golden State Warriors player Stephen Curry, wrote: “Just got to know you! Rest in paradise.”
Nipsey Hussle grew up in South Los Angeles and was in the Rollin’ 60s street gang when he was a teenager. He later became a community organiser, and was involved with the Destination Crenshaw arts project.
“I grew up in gang culture,” he told the Los Angeles Times in a 2018 interview.
“We dealt with death, with murder. It was like living in a war zone, where people die on these blocks and everybody is a little bit immune to it,” he added.
American footballer and activist Colin Kaepernick paid tribute to Hussle’s community work, writing:
“This is so painful! Nipsey Hussle was doing great work for the people. Keep his legacy alive by carrying on his work!”
Hussle was celebrated for his gritty, socially conscious lyricism, and was nominated for best rap album at this year’s Grammy awards. Born in south Los Angeles in 1985 to an Eritrean father and American mother, he was a member of the Crips gang Rollin 60s as a young man.
“It was like living in a war zone, where people die on these blocks and everybody is a little bit immune to it,” he told the LA Times in 2018 of his time with the gang.
“I guess they call it post-traumatic stress, when you have people that have been at war for such a long time. I think LA suffers from that because it’s not normal yet we embrace it like it is after a while.”
His rap career began in the mid-2000s, making early collaborations with Drake and Snoop Dogg and getting signed to Epic Records. The major label deal was an unhappy one and led to an album being indefinitely shelved, and he didn’t release his debut album, Victory Lap, until 2018. It reached No 4 in the US charts, and features collaborations with Kendrick Lamar, Diddy and YG. It was nominated for best rap album at the Grammy Awards, but lost to Cardi B’s “Invasion of Privacy.” Signed to Atlantic Records, he performed at the Warner Music party in Los Angeles during Grammy Week.
In the past decade, Nipsey made a name for himself as an entrepreneur. He opened the Marathon Clothing “smart store” and a STEM education center called Vector 90, both in the Crenshaw district.