Nipsey Hussle At His PUMA Hoops Basketball Court Event
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Let These Words Guide You: 10 Motivational Lyrics From Nipsey Hussle's 'Victory Lap'

It was deeper than rap. 

When it comes to potent lyrics, Nipsey Hussle's wordplay should be considered alongside rap titans like Jadakiss, Scarface, JAY-Z, and Nas. Gangsta Nip blessed fans with rules and guidelines that steer listeners from life in the streets to corporate America.

Since stepping in the rap game with 2005's Slauson Boy Volume 1, the entrepreneur remixed the definition of an independent artist (by selling $100 mixtapes), shared his knowledge, and motivated hustlers on every corner of the U.S. by giving them a vision of a better life. This trajectory continued its upward motion on his debut album, Victory Lap.

With the project finally available for fans' consumption, VIBE handpicked ten of the best motivational rhymes from Gangsta Nip's official offering. May he rest in peace.


1. “Victory Lap” feat. Stacy Barthe

Lyrics: Spoke some things into the universe and they appeared/I say it's worth it, I won't say it's fair/Find your purpose or you wastin' air…

The Break Down: Speaking things into existence has been a recurring theme throughout Nipsey’s catalog. For one born into a life of gang-banging, where death, violence, and prison sentences are customary, it takes a commendable type of mental strength to believe in something that seems implausible such as legally becoming a millionaire. Nipsey is doing his part in disrupting the troublesome thinking patterns of generations of gang members.

2. “Rap Ni**as”

Lyrics: We the No Limit of the West, ni**a/Percy Miller at his best, ni**a.

The Break Down: With many rappers of this generation uninformed about legends like The Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac, Nipsey builds off the example independent hustler and entrepreneur Master P set. When he was 28 years old, P was awarded a $10,000 malpractice settlement. He opened a record store, a label dubbed No Limit Records and the rest is history. In 2013, the music entity sold nearly 80 million albums and P's personal bank account housed $350 million.

3. “Last Time That I Checc’d” feat. YG

Lyrics: It was visionary, either I'm genius or you ni**as scary/Maybe it's both and this balance I deliver daily/For every ni**a in the streets tryna feed the babies/The single mama's workin' hard not to miss a payment/And dirty money get washed on royalty statements/Black owners in this game of powerful racists/Young ni**as in the set that's doin' it makeshift/Out the garage is how you end up in charge/It's how you end up in penthouses, end up in cars/It's how you start off a curb server, end up a boss/it's how you win the whole thing and lift up a cigar/With sweat drippin' down your face 'cause the mission was hard...

The Break Down: Taking it a step further than just speaking dreams into existence, Nipsey lays down laws about the tireless hustle needed to transform visions into reality. What’s even more captivating is that Gangsta Nip paints an ugly picture of long nights working toward a dream while in uncomfortable places. Grinding isn't always a pretty situation.

This verse also encourages black ownership. Influenced by racial discrimination, black home ownership, and black-owned businesses remain at the low end of the spectrum. Even in this space, the All Money In CEO leads by example. Thanks to his label and clothing store, The Marathon, based in the neighborhood that bred him, Nipsey provides jobs to his family and friends.

4. “Young Ni**as” feat. Puff Daddy

Lyrics: Say it's all uncomfortable when you transition (let's go)/But it's all beautiful when you get rich in it (don't stop)/When you start killin' s**t (elevatin') and they all witness it (keep rockin’)/Money grow faster (keep rollin') than ni**as could spend the s**t (get down)/Open more businesses with you and your ni**as…

The Break Down: We don’t fully understand our weaknesses until we step outside of our comfort zone. Experiencing new places, people, cultures, and attempting new adventures and journeys can expand one’s mental capacity. But before one’s disposition fills out, we have to get past the stage of intimidation, the frustration of being in unfamiliar situations as well as unlearn learned behavior. As Nipsey often says metaphorically, chasing dreams is a marathon, not a sprint. Stay down until the come-up.


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#VictoryLap The Album OUT NOW!! Link n Bio 🏁

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5. “Dedication” feat. Kendrick Lamar

Lyrics: This ain’t entertainment, it’s for ni**as on the slave ship/These songs just the spirituals I swam against them waves with/Ended up on shore to their amazement…

The Break Down: This may be one of the most powerful lines from Victory Lap. For Nipsey, hip-hop is more than entertainment. By connecting today’s generation of MCs to African slaves, Nipsey also covers disenfranchisement and the massive lack of resources resulting from the African Slave Trade. Despite systemic obstacles that black people face, music continues to give hope to, and save black lives.

6. “Blue Laces 2”

Lyrics: Third generation South Central gang bangers/That lived long enough to see it changing/Think it's time we make arrangements/Finally wiggle out they mazes, find me out in different places/ “I’m the Spook [Who Sat] By the Door,” this the infiltration, double back, dressed in blue laces.

The Break Down: Similar to how wealthy families hand down finances to their sons and daughters, whether directly or indirectly, gang bangers pass their flags on to their sons and daughters. With Nipsey opening a business in the very neighborhood that he once committed crimes in, and rapping about saving money, he's disrupting generations of destructive behavior passed down by OGs and family members.

Nipsey also recognizes Sam Greenlee's The Spook Who Sat by the Door, a fictional story of Dan Freeman, a black CIA officer who eventually quits his government job as a spy. Freeman returns home to Chicago, where he uses his CIA training to organize street gangs into revolutionary groups.

7. “Hussle and Motivate”

Lyrics: Ain’t really trip on the credit, I just paid all of my dues/I disrespected the game, now my name’s all in the news/Tripping on all of my credit, quote me on this/got a lot more to prove/’Member I came in this bi**h, fresh out the county with nothing to lose.

The Break Down: Being in debt can be a heavy burden to carry. Owing people or companies not only lower ones net worth, but it can affect how productively one chases dreams. The federal government can even seize your funds when in debt. It's nothing wrong with getting help from people, but Nipsey encourages listeners to work with what they have until they're able to get more. Saying no to credit is also one of the many lessons that Nipsey's forefather Master P taught. On Tru's "What They Call Us," from their album Tru 2 Da Game, the colonel spewed pieces of this method. One being: "I swore that I'll never borrow from another ni**a."

8. “Succa Proof” feat. Konshens and J. Black

Lyrics: F**k a pound, ni**a, f**k a pill/I negotiated a better deal.

The Break Down: Here, Nipsey unapologetically gives a middle finger to the dope game and tells listeners that the music business helps establish long-term wealth than selling drugs.

9. “Million While You Young” feat. The-Dream

Lyrics: Get that dirt up off your shoulder, step yo game up/Can't be chasin' pu**y, switch your ways up/Can't be fu**in' off your lucci, gotta save up/See you gon' probably fail tryna play us/Streets ain't for everybody, get your grades up.

The Break Down: A myth that studious kids from impoverished areas are teased for being smart still persists in today's society. In fact, troublemakers secretly envy nerds - their futures look promising. Also, OGs look out for young kids with promising futures. With this notion, Nipsey encourages listeners to consider education as a conduit to a better life.

10. “Loaded Bases” feat. CeeLo Green

Lyrics: My dough inflated and I'm more creative/Signed a couple big deals, but it's no paradin'/See it's a couple ni**as every generation/That wasn't supposed to make it out but decode the Matrix/And when they get to speak, it's like a coded language/Reminds ni**as of they strength and all the stolen greatness/We used to shoot at ni**as at the Mobile station/Full circle, mogul motivation/My self-educated, suit, negotiations/Got these sharks that I'm sittin' at this table with afraid to bait me/No tint on my Mercedes, that's for inspiration.

The Break Down: Here, Nipsey speaks on how money enables him to experience adventures outside of L.A., to how it narrows his focus, and how minorities can figure their way out of systematic obstacles like aggressive policing, unfair drug sentencing laws, and poor schools which can hinder forward mobility.

Stream Victory Lap below.

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CIRCA 1980: Photo of Bill Withers
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Bill Withers' Greatest Hits: Remixed, Sampled And Covered

The recent loss of legends in jazz, soul and classical music have saddened the music industry and reminded us of their touching gifts to music. The passing of Manu Dibango, Krzysztof Penderecki, Ellis Marsalis Jr., Bucky Pizzarelli and Alan Merrill brought endless tributes from peers and fans with the recent loss of soul singer-songwriter Bill Withers doing the same.

With a mirage of hits, the iconic songwriter left his mark on music with the release of his debut album Just As I Am in 1971. "Ain't No Sunshine" put a spotlight on his songwriting while 1977's "Lovely Day" reminded the industry of his signature vocals. Withers released eight studio albums, one live album and garnered three Grammys for his powerful songs that gave hope and love to fans to this day.

Hip-hop and R&B have gained the most from Withers as his music went on to inspire records like "No Diggity" by BLACKStreet, "Roses" by Kanye West and other songs from UGK, Dr. Dre, Jill Scott and more.

Take a look at some of Withers' finest tunes covered, remixed and sampled below.


8. “Lovely Day” | Menagerie (1977)

Sampled On: T.W.D.Y., “Player’s Holiday” | Derty Werk (1999) LunchMoneyLewis - “It's Gonna Be A Lovely Day” feat. Aminè | Pets 2 Soundtrack (2019) Swizz Beatz - “Take A Picture” |One Man Band (2007)

Standout: T.W.D.Y., “Player’s Holiday” | Derty Werk (1999)

Short for "The Whole Damn Yay," the group used Withers' sample while throwing a splash of The Bay's laid back flavor. With cameos from future legends like E-40 and Ray Luv, the single already embodied the best of R&B and hip-hop with guest verses from Too Short, Mac Mall and Otis & Shug. The mimosas and yacht are also a great touch.

Covered By: Jill Scott, The Original Jill Scott from the Vault Vol. 1 (2011) Alt-J, This Is All Yours (2014) Robert Glasper Experiment, Black Radio 2 (2013) Kirk Franklin, The Nu Nation Project (1998)

Standout: Kirk Franklin, The Nu Nation Project (1998)

Who was going to beat a chorus singing to the lordt? Franklin's take on the classic gives us stirring gospel and appreciation for Withers and God. There are plenty of covers that have lifted the same vocals as Withers, but the ones listed have put their unique spin on the track.

7. “Ain't No Sunshine” | Just As I Am (1971)

Sampled On: DMX - “No Sunshine” | Exit Wounds Soundtrack (2001) Lil B - “Up And Down” | Based Jam (2012) 2Pac- "Soulja's Story" |  2Pacalypse Now (1991)

Standout: DMX - “No Sunshine” | Exit Wounds Soundtrack (2001)

"No Sunshine" served as the only single from DMX's film alongside Steven Seagal, which gave everyone the perfect backdrop to the movie and X's intricate storytelling. Both the original and flipped version points out the dark elements of our lives. Withers penned the song after watching the film 1962 movie Days of Wine and Roses, he pondered over the toxicity in his life. "Sometimes you miss things that weren't particularly good for you," he said in 2004 to SongFacts. "It's just something that crossed my mind from watching that movie, and probably something else that happened in my life that I'm not aware of."

Covered By: Soul For Real | Candy Rain (1994) Michael Jackson | Got to Be There (1972) The Boris Gardiner Happening | Is What's Happening (1973) The Temptations | Solid Rock (1972)

Standout: Michael Jackson | Got to Be There (1972)

At 14, the future King of Pop gave a riveting cover of Withers' hit for his debut album, Got To Be There. From his vocal control throughout the track to the instrumentation, his cover takes the song to another level of heartbreak.

6. "Grandma's Hands” | Just As I Am (1971)

Sampled On: BLACKstreet - “No Diggity” feat. Dr. Dre and Queen Pen | Another Level (1996) Big K.R.I.T. - “I Gotta Stay” | K.R.I.T. Wuz Here (2010) Brother Ali - “Waheedah's Hands” | Champion (2004)

Standout: BLACKstreet - “No Diggity” feat. Dr. Dre and Queen Pen | Another Level (1996)

R&B heads are well aware of BLACKstreet's neverending ballads and the genius of Teddy Riley. But the pivot of their sound for their sophomore album Another Level was due to Withers and the William “Stylez” Stewart. Speaking to Fact Mag in 2017, the creator of New Jack Swing gave credit to Stylez for bringing him the sample of "Grandma's Hands."

“If he hadn’t played that sample for me, there would never be a ‘No Diggity’ And if he didn’t write it according to the melody I gave him so it would sound that way because I wanted it to sound funky,” he said. “I wanted it to be appealing to everyone, but mostly to women. I wanted every woman to feel like they were the ‘No Diggity’ girl and that song was about them and it came across. And now, still, today, that song plays and people are on that dancefloor.”

Covered By: Gil Scott-Heron, Reflections (1981) Merry Clayton, Merry Clayton (1971) Barbra Streisand, Butterfly (1974)

Standout: Gil Scott-Heron, Reflections (1981)

Gil Scott-Heron's version of the soul classic reminded us of his versatile talents. From spoken word to his vocal abilities, the Godfather of rap music always came through with his own sound and style. Reflections was one of four albums the late artist dropped in the 80s with critics looking to it as one of his finest projects. Other cuts from the album included "Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)" and "B Love."

5. "Use Me" | Still Bill (1972)

Sampled On: Kendrick Lamar - “Sing About Me, I'm Dying Of Thirst"  | Good kid, Maad City (2012) J. Cole- "Dollar And A Dream II" | The Warm-Up (2009) Leela James - “So Good" | Fall For You (2014) UGK - "Use Me Up" | The Southern Way (1992)

Standout: Kendrick Lamar - “Sing About Me, I'm Dying Of Thirst"  | Good kid, Maad City (2012)

Lamar's take on "Use Me" blended right into the themes of his debut album, Good kid, Maad City allowing the artist to create another world on the project. To make things even better, Lamar also sampled Al Green's "I'm Glad You're Mine" for the track.

Covered By: Grace Jones, Indigo Nights, Live (2008) Mick Jagger feat. Lenny Kravitz, Wandering Spirit  (2004) Issac Hayes, Dr. Dolittle Soundtrack (1998)

Standout: Mick Jagger feat. Lenny Kravitz, Wandering Spirit (2004)

On his third solo album, Jagger linked with Rick Rubin to test his creative energy, allowing him to work with Lenny Kravitz on their version of "Use Me." Colliding worlds was one thing but to hear Kravitz's vocals come in on the bridge, set the track apart from the rest.

4. “Kissing My Love” | Still Bill (1972)

Sampled On: J. Cole - “The Cut Off" featuring kiLL Edward  | KOD (2018) Dr. Dre - "Let Me Ride" featuring Snoop Dogg, RC and Jewell | The Chronic (1992) Masta Ace- "Movin On" | Take A Look Around (1990) Master P- "Bastard Child" | The Ghettos Tryin To Kill Me! | 1994

Standout: Dr. Dre - "Let Me Ride" featuring Snoop Dogg, RC and Jewell | The Chronic (1992)

"Kissing My Love" is one of most sampled from Withers catalog, thanks to its feverish drums. It's also why it fits into Dr. Dre's single and the G-funk era.

3. Grover Washington's “Just The Two of Us” featuring Bill Withers | Winelight (1981)

Sampled/Covered On:  Will Smith - “Just The Two of Us” | Big Willie Style (1997) Eminem- "Just The Two of Us" | Slim Shady EP (1997) Keri Hilson- "Pretty Girl Rock" | No Boys Allowed (2010)

Standout: Will Smith - “Just The Two of Us” | Big Willie Style (1997)

Touching and soulful, Smith's dedication to his eldest son Trey is just too cute for words.

2. “Let It Be” | Just As I Am  (1967)

The Original: The Beatles - “Let It Be” | Let It Be (1968)

"Let It Be" is a pretty special record. Aretha Franklin recorded a version a year before the release of The Beatles' version and Withers gave his take on the record in the 70s. Slightly faster, his upbeat take on "Let It Be" just hits different.

1. “Rosie” | Menagerie Re-Issue (1977)

Sampled On: Kanye West - “Roses” |  Late Registration (2005)

As the somber part of Late Registration, "Roses" brings us into Kanye's world where he contemplates the mortality of a loved one. It's a sentimental take on the sample and one of the artist's most underrated songs. It's also a hidden gem for Withers as it isn't featured on Menagerie's LP. It was added as a bonus track on

Enjoy the jams in playlist form below.

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Remain Calm: 5 Ways To Curve Negative Effects Of Coronavirus Isolation

Self-isolation during the coronavirus outbreak seems to be best practice in keeping our families and peers safe but it's also a shift in our normal social behavior. As millions of families around the country get adjusted to self-isolation, the state of our mental health and how our bodies react to the practice are changing by the day, especially lower-income and marginalized groups.

Speaking with Wired, John Vincent, a clinical psychologist at the University of Houston, shared how apathetic behavior can rise to the forefront, making space for anxiety and depression.

“People start getting lethargic when they don’t have positive inputs into their small worlds,” Vincent says. “We can expect depression to kick in, and depression and anxiety are kissing cousins.”

But the biggest reason behind the uneasiness isn't the self-isolation but just how long it will last. Details of COVID-19 are changing by the day with the most cases now coming out of New York. Yet, there's still little to no information on what happens next.

“Open, transparent, consistent communication is the most important thing governments and organizations can do: Make sure people understand why they are being quarantined first and foremost, how long it is expected to last,” Samantha Brooks of King’s College London told the outlet. “A huge factor in the negative psychological impact seems to be confusion about what's going on, not having clear guidelines, or getting different messages from different organizations.”

Uncertainty hitting low income and marginalized groups is also a problem within itself. As virtual parties and celebrities opening up on social media happen on a daily, there are people who might not access fun distractions on the web.

“Some people have posited technology as a means of connecting people, but lower-income groups might not even have FaceTime or Skype or minutes on their phone,” Thomas Cudjoe, a geriatrician researching the intersection of social connections and aging at Johns Hopkins University says. “People take that for granted, using their devices can be a strain on people’s incomes.”

To make self-isolation less than a bore or a daunting task, experts suggest creating a schedule to dictate control in your home.

1. Work It Out

Gyms are closed, but your home can be transformed into a personal training center. Use heavy bags for weights and if you can, create a playlist of workouts on YouTube. For those who have memberships for Blink or Peloton, the platforms have streamed their workouts on apps.

2. Mindful Meditation

Meditation isn't about dumping your thoughts, it's about staying aware and mindful. AQUA has developed online that leverages the power of "Mindful Meditation and Mobility Movements" for flexibility and fluidity in the body. Classes are free of charge but feel free to donate.

3. Take It Back To High School

Give your friends a call or indulge in a FaceTime party. Feel free to use the Wifi in your home to reduce the amount of data used on your phone. Lala Anthony held a too-cute FT birthday party for writer Kiyonna Anthony with a 70s theme. You can also find creative ways to hop on the phone with friends and family instead of constantly chatting about 'rona.


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We made the best out of our quarantine situation🎉‼️FACETIME 70s Party💃🏽🎉HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY NIECE @kiyonnathewriter ❤️❤️💃🏽💃🏽SHOUT OUT TO ALL MY ARIES ♈️ MAKE THE BEST OF IT!!!😘

A post shared by ℒᎯ ℒᎯ (@lala) on Mar 23, 2020 at 7:14pm PDT

4. Start A Journal

Journals just aren't for kids. The practice not only gives you something to do, but it fuels creativity and a new level of self-awareness. Former First Lady Michelle Obama recently developed Becoming: A Guided Journal for Discovering Your Voice, with over 150 inspiring questions and quotes that connect to key themes in her memoir. The journal will also help bring readers to terms with the importance of family and personal reflections as well as the goals they'd like to make a reality.

5. Have a Dance Party or Enjoy Lo-Fi Beats To Quarantine To

If you don't have data or battery power to watch a virtual DJ party, make your own. If you have to pull out your record player, do it! You can also hop on your favorite streaming service and create a playlist all your own.

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From Teen Sensation To Vocal Bible: Brandy's 15 Best Songs

September 27, 2019 marked the 25th anniversary of the multiplatinum self-titled debut album by one of R&B’s greatest voices, Brandy Rayana Norwood, or simply Brandy. She was already well on her way to stardom prior to her debut as a background vocalist for Immature and one of the stars of the short-lived ABC series, Thea. However, it was the album Brandy that set her on the path to tremendous success.

Since officially bursting onto the scene in 1994 sporting her well-known braided crown of glory, she has been a force to be reckoned with. She was handpicked by her idol, the late Whitney Houston, to portray the role of the first Black Cinderella in the 1997 film Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella. Her show Moesha was one of the longest-running black sitcoms. Brandy was also a CoverGirl in 1999 and became a friend of Barbie that same year when Mattel released the Brandy Doll. In music, she’s released six studio albums, sold more than 40 million records worldwide, headlined three world tours, and won more than 30 awards including seven Billboard Music Awards, a Grammy and the Soul Train Lady of Soul Award. Brandy deserves her flowers.

Let’s check out the top 15 songs that helped solidify Brandy as your favorite singer’s favorite singer (just ask Solange) and earned her the title of the “Vocal Bible.”

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