Article by Dom Ellis (@DomyayWest)
On October 8 Slauson’s own Nipsey Hussle released a 21-track EP, “Crenshaw,” via free download and limited edition hardcopy for the small price of $100. If I asked the legendary DJ Drama what he thought about “Crenshaw,” in which he hosted, he would omit that it is a tape full of “quality street music” or the “type of music that bangs in the jungle.”
Okay, don’t get me wrong, I know not everyone likes “street music,” however I can safely say that most people like sensible music and “Crenshaw” is sensible in every, well, sense. Whether you are a college student, a construction worker or maybe even a business mogul, there is a song on this tape for you.
The 28-year-old Los Angeles native enlisted the help from an array of producers and MC’s including Dom Kennedy, Rick Ross, Skeme, Futuristcs and 1500 or Nothin, to name a few, to help create a humble and genuine sound that stays true to his style and message. With this project Hussle didn’t stray far from the ‘winning formula’ that he employed on his previous tape, “The Marathon Continues.” A lot of the time artists like to explore the endless cluster of producers and rappers, losing themselves somewhere along the lines. However, Hussle took control of this project in order to deliver what fans wanted and not what sells.
This tape is unique in the sense that it is diverse, yet cohesive. One moment his flow can go from a brash, at your throat demeanor, to an inspirational and honest disposition. On the track “Drop Coupes” he comes out swinging, rapping over a strenuous beat with little open space, causing tension and an unsettling distressed mood.
“2020 Pac, He said ‘Hit Em Up’, X said ‘shut em down’, I been goin’ hard, ain’t no stoppin’ now”
Then on the following track “Face the World,” Nip opens with a hopeful message on an airy west coast beat with a sweet looping sample, loosening up the audience and relieving the tension.
“This yo life you can play with it, you make yo bed you gon’ lay in it, do yo thang just be safe wit it.”
Nipsey Hussle set out to create an independent tape in which he could freely express his point of view, tell the tale of a lost child who found a life in the streets of L.A. and to show the world that you don’t need a huge machine to fuel your success in which he executed efficiently with great tenacity. Hussle also exhibits that one can conquer his or her destiny with a strong mind and relentless passion. He went from sitting in a jail cell to dropping one of 2013’s most anticipated mixtapes, providing hope for the lost youth (and adults for that matter), freeing them from the confinements of their own minds and what the outside world tells them is possible.
Hussle sees life as a marathon, if you sprint, you’ll burn out quickly, but if you take your time and find your pace you’ll be able to see the end of one marathon and still have wind for another. As Hussle would say “get your mind right” and plan out your course. As you explore the depths and heights of this phenomenal tape, you are sure to find some inspiration and peace of mind. Get your hustle on. (No pun intended.)
Listen to Crenshaw here: