Roll the Dice: An Ode to Our Blue Pill in the Matrix
It's been thirty days since the 2pac of our generation began his transition into glory. Like most of us that understood the magnitude of a man like him, I'm not over it. And honestly, I'm not sure if I ever will be . Dave East said "I wasn't old enough to feel it when Pac and Big died, but I feel this. We lost a king." I felt that deep in my core. All of his music hits different.
All of the moves he made to be uniquely defined , to be better, to just be, hit different. He was monumental, he was the gentleman we all hoped to know, the man we hoped to love, the father we hoped to honor ,the legend we hoped to respect. His life has had genuine purpose and it's difficult to find men that are moving so diligently in what they are called to do. I've never been the type to get caught up in the lives of celebrities, but this loss hit home. Almost like family. I find myself saying silent prayers for Boog on the regular. if I'm disoriented and I didn't know him personally, I can only imagine what she must feel every single day. To know a love so sacred and beyond this world and have it taken from you is mind boggling, but having to go home alone and relive it day after day is heart wrenching. Her strength is queen like. I've allowed myself to dig a rabbit hole of his interviews and conferences he spoke at. I've realized a number of things about Nipsey Hussle The Great- And great he was- In every facet of the word. Nipsey urged each and every ear that would listen to him to travel the road less traveled.
To take risk.
"Want a slice? Got to roll the dice" - Grindin' All My Life
"... That's why I dove off the deep end Nigga, without a life jacket." -Dedication
"Fuck being Basic, I'm taking risk." -Hussle & MOtivate
All of these are lyrics that push the narrative that if a Rollin' 60's Crip with an Eritrean background and four gun cases on his rap sheet can bring the difference in his mindset to fruition and ultimately change his life for the better,so can you and me. the great thing that Nip gave us to hold on to was that this life we dream of , the journey we continue to trot is not a sprint and you will WANT to quit. The magic happens when you don't. That resilience is what separates the weak from the obsolete. By any means the marathon must continue.
Nipsey opened minds and hearts to so many of he and his teams personal advancements and downfalls. Life was consistently happening all around him, but he never stopped. Jail, family, life , nothing was getting in the way of his dream. I like to believe thats where the theme for dedication derived from. He could've given up a bunch of times, because at no point were the odds ever in his favor. Even with no "proper" education, he was smarter than what they thought . quicker, wittier than they believed and he shined every single time. he never quit on himself. If you've ever listened in on his conversations with people he spoke about energy, believing in yourself and trusting in your vision. He made it apparent that people will judge you. They'll look at you sideways when you go after the unknown because of your address, your skin color, or your upbringing. He was the epitome of don't judge a book by it's cover . He walked into million dollar meetings with his negotiating shark hat atop his fresh braids to the back while covered in expressive art from face to foot. But they were afraid to bait him because he knew just as much as they did, if not more. He was self educated and it made him gifted. All because he bet on himself consistently.
In chasing a dream , there are a few things that we tend to overlook the pertinence of. It gets away from us because we feel like it doesnt need to be acknowledged. Allowing ourselves to happen is a big one. It's so easy to beat yourself up when you fall off the wagon of hustle. Investing that time into finding different ways to complete the same goal is where we should be looking. Often times if plan A doesn't work, we give up as if there arent 25 other letters in the alphabet. After going to jail Nipsey could've given up. He was now a felon. So he was hit with the ultimate three strikes. Black, male,and menace to society. This is systematic oppression and it has been set up this way since the beginning of time. Nip had every reason to quit. He was gang affiliated so the law was already watching his every move, he came from nothing so his come up was going to take real work and all of the people around him were blowing up before he got the chance. Quitting made sense.
But why, what would that solve?
Nothing, absolutely shit. Don't ever allow yourself to think that quitting is an option. As black people , we don't have the luxury to be complacent or completely stop striving to be the best. There's alot riding against us as is, so it's up to us to keep going. G Eazy, YG, Kendrick Lamar, all LA rappers, all blew up before Nip really got his shine. Never once did he compare himself to them and think why them and not me? Jada Pinkett Smith told us that Comparison is the thief of joy. He understood that his message could only be delivered by him.
"I vowed to never let you ditch and seal my fate
Sellin' dope with hopes to graduate to real estate
I knew I was drummin' to a different beat
Felt it in my stomach, I was just unique
We decided we gon' let these digits speak" -Perfect Timing
He spoke these words with such passion and determination because it's what he truly believed. Being a black man in this world is already breaking barriers, but believing that you have a message that absolutely must reach the masses and not allowing the preconceived notions about you to stop you is tenacity through adversity. He bet it all on himself . With the rise of social media it's so easy to get caught up in the wins of other people , their wins highlight your losses and it makes you want to give up . I know it does,i've been there. It's important to keep in mind that people don't showcase their failures . NObody shows when they were sleeping on the couch or eating noodles for months at a time because that grind was taking all of the funds. It's okay to bend, because even bamboo stretches . But, whatever you do, don't break. Don't look back, there's nothing for you there . Keep your head forward and focus up,because thats where youre headed.
Above all else, taking risk is just that it's risky. And the biggest risk of all is trusting other people with your vision. However, we dreamers sometimes suffer from a superman complex. We feel like we don't need anyone's help to reach the finish line. THis is untrue , but finding people that are okay with being a part of a team and not really on the front line is an extreme sport. Nip told us "Make sure them niggas around you stick to the script" , meaning see to it that everyone is on the same page when you decide to make them a part of the dream.
Nipsey had guys around him that he also stood on the block with. they believed in him and when the money came he looked out. All of the guys on his team were people that had nothing , when he had less. He kept that family orient tight and it remained as they all elevated. They supported one another. J Stone was also a rapper, he shared his music with Nip and vice versa. They were each others engineer when they were coming up . Nip taught him how to engineer the music so that he could also be skilled . The lesson in that is to "Lead to the lake if they want to fish" ,him showing those skills early on translated to "I believe in you".
Nipsey admired his older brother Blacc Sam. They relished in each others strengths and piggy backed the weaknesses after realizing both ends of the spectrum. Nip was great at music and anything technological. Sam was a mastermind business man, they kept that at the forefront of their idea and it flourished. All Money In became a lifestyle for each of them , because they put everything they had into this . Even though Nip has passed and the empire is missing it's front line it will not fall apart because it wasn't built on the back of one man.
In this life you get a million chances to make a statement about where you want your path to lead to. What you want your legacy to mean is up to you. In deciding where you will leave your footprints in the sand remember to be fearless. The sky is truly the limit and there aren't too many things that are far fetched if you take risk! Believe in you, even if others don't. The choices you make only effect you. So do your best to make them the best. But even if they aren't , embrace the failures. Failure means you tried and didn't get it right the first time. And nothing beats a failure ,but a try.
THE MARATHON CONTINUES.