“Victory Lap” Cements Nipsey Hussle’s Status As West Coast Icon

Nipsey Hussle has come a long way from selling $100 mixtapes. His long-awaited debut album “Victory Lap” is anything but a debut; it is a celebration and culmination of all the years the Los Angeles-based emcee has put in.

Nipsey Hussle has paved his own lane over the past nine years through his own label, All Money In, and serves to prove that you can become a legend without achieving mainstream status.

Throughout the record, Nipsey reflects on the sacrifices he has made and the setbacks he has endured. The album carries a tone of relief more than of braggadocio, but don’t get it twisted; “Victory Lap” is just the beginning of something even greater for Nipsey Hussle.

One of the biggest themes of Nipsey’s music is perseverance. From gangbanging on Crenshaw to digging up $100,000 that his brother had buried only to find half the money had molded, he has never let a setback define him.

Not only does Nipsey let his audience know he made it on his own, he urges that they also build from the ground up.

These themes show up especially in his West Coast anthem “Last Time That I Checc’d” which features fellow Los Angeles rapper and longtime collaborator, like a modern day Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, YG.

In the song, Nipsey boasts that he came up all on his own: “And I come through fly, no co-sign/I ain’t need radio to do mine, I done fine.” He stresses the fact that there needs to be more successful black entrepreneurs like him.

YG echoes the same sentiments in his verse with the lines, “Fuck wearing their clothes, I wear my own shit/Y’all can own y’all label, I own my own, bitch.”

Nipsey takes us to his days as a Rollin’ 60s Crip several times throughout the album with tracks like “Blue Laces 2” and “Keyz 2 the City 2,” but Kendrick Lamar describes him in a different light with his guest verse on “Dedication.”

Nipsey Hussle isn’t for everybody; he acknowledges that in the intro when he says, “This ain’t that weirdo rap y’all motherfuckers used to,” which is also titled “Victory Lap.” His music and his message is different than most up-and-coming rappers, who seem to value Xanax and codeine more than they care about building their community and empowering their people.

If you want to feel inspired, then Nipsey Hussle is the artist for you. In addition to owning his own independent label, All Money In, he also owns his own clothing line, The Marathon Clothing, whose flagship store is located at the intersection of Crenshaw and Slauson, the very same streets that he grew up in. Nipsey has also invested heavily in several business ventures, most notably Bitcoin.

Overall, “Victory Lap” is anything but a debut album. This has been six years in the making, and throughout all those years he has quietly been put in the same category as more widely known LA icons such as Kendrick Lamar and YG. Nipsey Hussle has clearly arrived, but still the marathon continues.