“And the Grammy goes to…Invasion of Privacy, Cardi B!” And just like that Ermias Asghedom lost in the 2019 Best Rap Album Grammy category for his album Victory Lap. Asghedom, better known as Nipsey Hussle, should take solace in knowing that some of the greats such as The Notorious B.I.G. and 2Pac never won any Grammys at all. Furthermore, the awards are often viewed as being political and mainly supportive of artists that are commercially successful. This concern raises issues about true artistry and who might be “the best” often being trumped by who’s work has earned the most money. After all, the repetitive nature of the nominations is clearly evident as Eminem has won the Best Rap Album award six times in the last nineteen years and Drake has been nominated for the award five times in seven years. Suffice to say, Nipsey Hussle’s nomination in the Best Rap Album category (let alone any nomination at all) is a breath of fresh air.
The Crenshaw native of Eritrean descent has developed a loyal following that’s propelled him to create his own music label and release several mixtapes to critical and commercial acclaim. Nipsey’s “Marathon” mixtapes preceded Victory Lap and subsequently prompted the release of Crenshaw. The mixtape was so widely respected that even rap great Jay-Z wanted his own copies. In fact, Hov purchased 100 physical copies at $100 per copy, totaling $10,000 in profit for the up and coming artist. Nipsey has been labeled “most determined” by XXL and the “Next big L.A. MC” by LA Weekly, clear indicators of the rapper’s upward trajectory.
After being released by Epic Records in 2010, Nipsey created his own record label, All Money In., and his own media, branding and clothing agency known as the Marathon Agency. All of Nipsey’s entrepreneurial moves have placed him in position to exercise creative control over his music and continue dishing out hits such as “FDT (Fuck Donald Trump)” a single released alongside rapper YG. It’s this sort of freedom that has placed Nipsey Hussle on course to create more work that might secure his first Grammy win.
I’m looking forward to Nipsey Hussle’s future music and fashion styles that are heavily influenced by his Crenshaw roots. It’s Nipsey’s authenticity that motivates his fans to consume his art, Grammy or no Grammy.