Hip-Hop is a complicated space, with complicated players.
Birthed out of the hood, the music that Chuck D once considered “The CNN of The Streets” is now the most influential culture in the world. In every country, on every continent the boom-bap or trap that dresses American’s big cities, also wardrobe communities that seem far and foreign. But at the core… Hip-Hop is street music.
Nipsey knew this. And those that followed Nipsey knew that. You could not separate the grit from the groove, The Crip from the streams, or the hood from his movement. That was just what it was. Again, Nipsey knew this.
He and his fans were not the only ones that knew this… so did the Los Angeles Police Department. The LAPD had been investigating Nip and his business for years.
According to a report from the New York Times, city authorities and others “had an open investigation into Hussle, his property and his business associates to determine whether the strip mall at the corner of Crenshaw Boulevard and Slauson Avenue was a hub of gang activity.”
They were looking into all of Nipsey’s businesses searching to find something sideways. What came out according to the Times is that the city had actually been harassing the fallen solider. Reports say that the city put pressure on his former landlords, forcing them to evict Nipsey and his partners. The landlord did not fold and actually sold him the property instead. Nipsey and his investors purchased the property for $2.5 million.
And this is where the rub is.
The authorities continue to believe that there are some illegal dealings with this strip mall property (which includes Hussle’s Marathon Clothing store, a cellphone shop, and a barbershop). The LAPD spokesperson, Josh Rubenstein, has communicated that they are working with Nipsey’s partners about the property “to mitigate some of those crime issues.”
But it should be noted that not everyone in LA’s politics is believing the hype. City Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson has been asking on behalf of Nipsey and his business partners what exactly are they looking for:
“I think everybody in the community will do everything we can to make sure the ventures he started will continue,” he said. “And this is a very confusing hiccup in this process.”
While information about the investigation from the LAPD has not been released, many believe it is because they are afraid it might further divide this grieving community. Others think that they don’t have anything, and just painting him with a criminally blue paintbrush.
Regardless, it is important to note that Nipsey and his ties to the gang culture was more good than bad. He has been working to stop gang violence, hired former gang-affiliated members or ex-cons looking for meaningful work. He also has taught the value of the real estate by purchasing both commercial and private properties, with the purpose of rebuilding a shattered community.