nipsey-hussle-2018-cr-Nicholas-Watkin-billboard-1548-1519756735
nicholas watkins

Nipsey Hussle on the Genius of Master P, Upcoming Joint Album With YG & Being the 'Tupac of His Generation'

Nipsey talks to Bilboard about his plans now that 'Victory Lap' is out. 

For the record, Nipsey Hussle never once said that his ideas weren't wild and crazy. After a brief stint with Epic Records in 2010, Nipsey scoffed at the concept of being on a major label, in hopes of gaining traction as an independent artist on the rap circuit.

While his contemporaries gained immediate success courtesy of their label signings, Hussle faced the arduous task of working backwards in order to gain stardom and liberation, later facing criticism because his debut album, Victory Lap, encountered numerous delays and setbacks. Undeterred, in 2013, the MC laughed straight to the bank after the release of his seminal project, Crenshaw, which birthed his #Proud2Pay marketing campaign. The unprecedented plan allowed Hussle to sell 1,000 copies for $100 a purchase. Not only did he manage to meet his goals, one of his childhood heroes, JAY-Z, saluted his efforts and purchased 100 copies of his own.

Unsatisfied with his impressive success, Hussle tinkered with his concept and stretched the campaign even more with his 2014 release, Mailbox Money. This time, he upped the price from $100 to $1000 and only sold 100 copies. Within the first month of selling, Nipsey managed to sell 60 copies, earning him $60,000 alone. While he could have easily continued on with the #Proud2Pay campaign, instead of exhausting the idea, he brought his label All Money In over to Atlantic Records last year, for the release of his long-awaited official debut album, Victory Lap.

Laced with bombastic production, Nip's swagger on the set is bulletproof. On the opening track, he sets the tempo by telling listeners over the soulful soundscape, "I'm prolific, so gifted/ I'm the type that's gon' go get it, no kiddin'." Even when standing alongside rap behemoth Kendrick Lamar, his level of confidence remains unruffled, as he boldly calls himself the "Tupac of my generation," on the Kendrick-featuring "Dedication."

With his debut album slated to bow in the top five on the Billboard 200, Nipsey Hussle's late arrival to the mainstream world seems to still be right on time. Now, one can only wonder, where will he go from here? Billboard sat down with the West Coast lyricist at Del Frisco Grille in New York City to talk the creation of Victory Lap, Donald Trump, the genius of Master P, his relationship with Rich Ross and MMG, and similarities he sees between himself and Tupac Shakur.

While I was in LA, I went back and I was playing your song “Killer” featuring Drake, and in my head, I started doing a comparison. You and Drake almost came up at the same time, and took very different routes, but y’all are both successful. How did you manage to get to this point where you are today, to be so successful despite any setbacks you had?

I think you said it. I took a different route. I wanted to learn how to do it myself, as an artist and as a company. I built a company at the same time I built a career. I built a label at the same time I built a career. I suffered at times and I benefited at times because of it. There was no infrastructure that I came into. I had to learn through trial and error -- I made a lot of mistakes, and I did a lot of things right. It was the route that I believed in and what was destined for me. I always had faith in my creative capacity. I say that in the most humble way: I always knew that I could perform with the best of ‘em and I could deliver with the best of ‘em.

Let’s say I accept my greatness as an artist, and fast forward to me being acknowledged globally as a great artist. In my perfect dream, how would I want my shit to be situated business-wise? I’d want to be on my own label. I’d want to represent my brothers and my team. So, I worked backwards. I believed I was going to be recognized globally as a great artist one day so I was willing to put the work in. I wanted to make sure that to get there, I didn’t diminish the opportunity to do it as All Money In and do it as my own team. That was the goal coming into it.

That’s why we had to build our value outside of the major labels so we could prove our worth. It was part of a bigger picture. To the public and to the, I guess, the critics, it might have been perceived as, “What’s taking so long?” I was comfortable with that. I never explained it, and I never went into detail about it, because I don’t ever want to make excuses. That was my strategy to get here.

One of the things I’m most proud about is, if you look at the album, it says “All Money In - Atlantic Records.” That’s my debut album. I’m really proud of the music, but I’m proud of the business structure also. That ain’t easy. That ain’t an easy thing to negotiate as an artist.

You could have taken that label route. I remember Rick Ross was looking at you heavy, and he wanted you on Maybach so hard. Though you never signed, do you ever ponder if that Maybach situation could have been something special for your career?

I’m MMG still. That’s in my heart. I’m honorary MMG. I rep Rozay shit and I believe in that brand. I think Rozay’s a genius, and I think he’s one of the most prolific artists in this generation. I rep MMG like it's my shit, like I rep All Money In.

Let’s rewind back to 2013 and your song “The Outro," where you rapped: “Peace to the city n---a I'm the hottest/ Even if the OGs don't acknowledge it.” When you walk around Cali today, in contrast to five years ago, do you feel like you finally earned that respect from the OGs, whether it's from music or what you did for the community?

At that time, I was speaking to not being embraced. Not that they owe me that, but I felt at that time in my perspective, to not embrace it was intentional -- because you can't ignore what I'm doing. I was speaking to that reality. Overall, man, I realized it ain't about nobody acknowledging you. It's about working with what you got and executing the greatness. In hindsight, nobody owed me nothing.

On that same song, you kind of spoke things into the universe, when you rapped, “When I drop an album, they’ll be proud to pay" -- which sparked your #Proud2Pay campaign. Are you surprised with how successful the idea became over the years?

I'm surprised to a degree, but I believed in it. I was inspired by a radical concept translating into reality.

Continue reading Nipsey's interview at Billboard.

From the Web

More on Vibe

Getty Images

Police Forced A Bronx Woman To Give Birth While Handcuffed

A Bronx woman who was 40 weeks pregnant went into labor while in a holding cell. The police then took her to a local hospital where her wrists were handcuffed to the bed and her ankles shackled. The doctors at Montefiore Medical Center urged the patrolling guard to remove the restraints stating it would harm the mother, but the guard persisted.

According to a lawsuit filed, the woman has asked to remain anonymous. “I haven’t made sense of it myself and I’m not ready to explain it to my child,” she said in an affidavit.

The woman was 27 at the time endured an hour of excruciating labor pains before the guard relented and freed one of her arms. Jane Doe was only fully free nine hours after giving birth.

“The fact that pregnant women and women in labor would be subject to the most draconian treatment imaginable, particularly when they stand accused of a misdemeanor, speaks volumes about the macho culture of police departments and corrections,” Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said.

A judge arraigned Jane Doe in her hospital bed for violating a protective order. The woman's lawyer Katherine Rosenfeld explained to the New York Times the order stemmed from a protective-custody case involving her former partner. Ms. Doe spent almost 30 hours in protective custody.

“The fact that they disregarded the medical advice of doctors suggests that they didn’t use any humanity and sort of blindly followed what they perceived to be the policy in the Patrol Guide,” Ms. Rosenfeld said.

READ MORE: The Federal Government To Launch Database Tracking Deadly Police Encounters

Continue Reading
Getty Images

A Man Claiming To Be El Chapo's Nephew Threatens To Have Tekashi Mother Deported

In the never-ending saga of Tekashi 6ix 9ine, The Daily Beast has obtained a voicemail recording of a man alleging to be El Chapo's nephew and using the proposed connection to threaten the rapper's mother with deportation.

“His brother lives there. His mother lives there. She don’t even have no f**king papers,” he can be heard saying.

Jose Avila left a 49-second voicemail on Nov. 15 after the rainbow hair rapper failed to show up to an appearance he was promoting in Austin, Texas. At the time, Tekashi was on probation for a sex video stemming from 2015 involving a 13-year-old girl. Avila threatened to use his connection to have Tekashi placed in jail.

“I know a lot of government people and I’m going to send his ass to jail if he doesn’t come to Austin, Texas, today. He f**king makes me lose money already.” Avila said. "He needs to f***king come and be a fucking man. Or I’ll put his ass in jail.”

Reportedly, Tekashi wasn't made aware of the threats of imprisonment, but he did know of the supposed family connection because Avila texted Tekashi's booking manager, Tasea Ferguson.

“My uncle [is] in New York,” Avila reportedly texted. “Guzman Loera... My uncle sons control all USA.”

El Chapo's full name is Joaquin Archivaldo Guzman Loera and he's currently on trial in Brooklyn. The allegation Avila leveled proved to be false. El Chapo's attorney Jeffrey Lichtman denied knowing of any nephew by that name.

When Tekashi, real name Daniel Hernandez, finally got in contact with Ferguson, he was brought up to speed and took to social media to announce he wouldn't be in Austin, Texas that evening.  “I spoke to the promoter, Jose Avila with Avila Music. We are going to be in business. I am coming back to Austin, Texas.”

Surprisingly, after Tekashi was taken into federal custody on racketeering charges, the Daily Beast reports Avila was in the courtroom and doted upon Tekashi's mother, who is often referred to as Nati. He even posted a picture with him. In the coming weeks, Availa also claimed he was Tekashi's manager. A source close to the rapper quickly dismissed the comment.

"There’s nothing to manage. Danny’s in jail.”

READ MORE: Mos Def Calls Tekashi 6ix 9ine  The Most Depressing Sh*t He's Ever Seen

Continue Reading
Getty Images

Lil Mama To Bow Wow: "I Will Slap The Sh*t Out Of You"

Her stage name may be Lil Mama, but Niatia Jessica Kirkland calmly yet assertively addressed disparaging comments made about her like an adult.

The 29-year-old Harlem native took to social media Saturday (Dec. 8) to vehemently refute Bow Wow's implications she was interested in him romantically and has been with several men in her past.

"I want to start this off just by saying you played yourself, kid," Mama said. "Bow Wow, you know, that in all the years that I've ever known you, you have never known a n****r to f**k me in a week. So to even give BT advice like 'Oh y'all gonna be f**king in a week.' you're being a clown."

Lil Mama then explained the only reason she invited Bow Wow to New York was to help provide a bit of stability, and that his insinuations she wanted anything more are false.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BrJS4Thh41U/

"I was trying to bring you around some real n****s. You want to commit suicide one day. You're going crazy here. You're going crazy there. I come from a grounded environment that I was trying to bring you to. We're doing a TV show. We're creating content. You are far from the type of man that I could see myself being with, sleeping with or anything of that nature."

Lil Mama didn't dwell on the topic too long, an ended her diatribe with a warning.

"There are so many things that I could address about this show, but I'm not going to let everything pull my attention. Y'all could believe what y'all want to believe...before we start talking about a female beating my ass or anything like that let's just be clear: I will smack the sh*t out of you. Period!

View this post on Instagram

@shadmoss PERIODT

A post shared by N I A T I A (@lilmama) on Dec 8, 2018 at 3:55pm PST

READ MORE: Bow Wow And Lil Mama Play Into The Internet's Look-A-Like Jokes

Continue Reading

Top Stories