Behind the 2019 Death of Nipsey Hussle

Los Angeles rapper Nipsey Hussle was shot and killed at the age of 33 on March 31, 2019. Although his death is sadly one of many in the traumatic history of the hip-hop community, it also felt eerily like a full-circle moment, but in the worst way possible.

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Crenshaw and Slauson

The site of Nipsey Hussle’s death was his own store, the now-permanently closed Marathon Clothing shop in south central Los Angeles. On the day of his death, he was gunned down by an adversary he had gotten into an argument with prior. Hussle’s entire life had revolved around the store’s location, the corner of Slauson Ave. and Crenshaw Blvd.

In an interview with Complex in 2014, Hussle explained that he and his friends would congregate at the corner before it was a bustling strip mall, selling mixtapes out of the trunk of their cars.

“This parking lot, it was originally our block,” he said. “We originally popped our trunk and started selling mixtapes out the truck, and really tried to pursue this music thing.”

Check out the video below.

Completely transforming the area into a store that all of his LA friends and supporters frequented, the property would become a memorial on the night he was killed, as fans played his music and remembered his fulfilling life.

His Full-Length Projects

As mentioned before, Nipsey’s main source of releasing music was his mixtapes. From 2005-2017, Hussle never commercially released a project that he deemed to be an album, as he instead preferred to label and market them as mixtapes.

The most successful of these LPs included Bullets Ain’t Got No Name, Vol. 1 (2008), The Marathon (2010), and Crenshaw (2013), which he first only sold as physical copies at $100 a piece. In fact, with only 1,000 copies of Crenshaw manufactured, Jay-Z decided to show love to Nip by buying 100 of them. In an interview with MTV around the time, he explained how the transaction with Hov went down.

[RELATED: Nipsey Hussle to Receive Posthumous Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame on Aug 15]

“I got a DM on Twitter from a respected hip-hop journalist and he was just like, ‘Hov respects the move, salute,'” he said. “A little while later, I got an email that came through my team that was like, ‘Roc Nation, on behalf of Jay Z wants to buy 100 units. Who do we pay? When can we get the shipment out?'”

It wouldn’t be until 2018 that Hussle would finally drop his debut studio album, Victory Lap, shortly after inking a deal with Atlantic Records. With hits like “Last Time That I Checc’d” featuring YG, “Grinding All My Life,” and “Hussle & Motivate,” the album was nominated for Best Rap Album at the Grammys.

Nipsey would attend his first Grammy awards in February 2019, less than two months before he was slain.

Since His Death

In the hours following Hussle’s death, the suspect of the killing was at-large. Eventually, though, authorities were able to identify Eric Ronald Holder Jr. on April 2, as he was arrested and later indicted in May.

In 2022, a Los Angeles jury found Holder guilty of first-degree murder, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, one count of possessing a firearm as a felon, and two counts of attempted voluntary manslaughter. In Feb. 2022, he was sentenced to 60 years in prison.

[RELATED: Jury Finds Eric Holder Jr. Guilty for 2019 Murder of Rapper Nipsey Hussle]

While the year 2022 saw justice be served for Nipsey, it also saw him finally get recognition from his hometown. On Aug. 15, his intended 37th birthday, he was given his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Additionally, city council member Marqueece Harris-Dawson declared the date Nipsey Hussle Day in the city.

Photo courtesy Atlantic Records

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