As police proceed to investigate the untimely death of rapper Nipsey Hussle, the hip hop community grieves the loss of an artist who will leave far more than a musical legacy.
While many entertainers enter into business ventures, few have developed as diverse business portfolios as Nipsey Hussle.
In addition to his clothing line, had successfully entered into tech, real estate, and retail- all while navigating the complex business world of entertainment.
Considering that the rapper started out selling his mixtapes for $100 (and including a free ticket to a future show), it should come as little to no surprise that Nipsey Hussle would invest his earnings in unique business ventures- ventures that didn’t just include tech, retail, entertainment, and philanthropy, but fused them.
The artist explained his approach in a 2018 interview, stating, “This is us trying to fuse hip-hop, fashion and tech… I think we’re in the process of seeing technology integrated with everything, become a part of the world.”
Perhaps most notorious is his Marathon clothing store where he met his death on Sunday.
Marathon Clothing was the artist’s flagship “smartstore” and that in addition to purchasing clothing and other merchandise, they could integrate with an app in the store that allowed them to access exclusive content with purchase. This vertical integration of technology and retail served as the baseline for Hussle’s business model.
What many fans may not know is that he also had purchased the entire shopping plaza and had plans to build it into a multi-use commercial and residential space. He and his partner Dave Gross had mentioned plans for the center to include a Creole restaurant as well as sell other consumer luxury items.
He noted that he had plans to expand to other major U.S. markets in the coming years.
Hussle also had a serious interest in technology and providing upcoming tech companies with the tools that they needed to develop their business. One of his innovative tech ventures was Vector 90, a coworking space that served as a “cultural and intellectual hub for entrepreneurs and creatives,” while “heightening the economic and social fabric of the neighborhoods” in which they were located.
Vector 90, which is anticipated to remain in operation following the artist’s death, also offers free seminars and networking events as well as mentorship programs for adults and a free STEM program for youth and teens.
One of Hussle’s goals with the center was to provide an outlet for youth to explore technology as a viable career option rather than get involved in gang activity.
Hussle also realized the value of real estate and shortly before his death was reportedly in talks to acquire the leasehold for the Viceroy Santa Monica, a 162-room luxury, beach hotel through a joint partnership with others including DJ Khaled.
His entrepreneurial spirit didn’t only exist outside of music, but also within it. Even though he was signed to Atlantic, he made sure that his contract included flexibility to retain creative control over his work and the artists that he brought on.
Just last month, Hussle had announced a collaboration with Meek Mill, which unfortunately will not happen.
However, the artist’s legacy continues to live on through the many people that he has inspired and the foundations that he has helped to build.