ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:
* A year ago this week, Los Angeles said goodbye to killed rapper and community activist Nipsey Hussle. A massive public remembrance at the Staples Center was followed by a 25-mile funeral procession.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: We love you.
UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: Nipsey, Nipsey, Nipsey, Nipsey, Nipsey...
SHAPIRO: Plans for a similar community gathering this year were scrapped because of the coronavirus, but NPR Music's Sidney Madden hasn't stopped thinking about the loss of Nipsey Hussle. She asked fans to share what Hussle's legacy means to them.
SIDNEY MADDEN, BYLINE: Death in hip-hop can feel so commonplace that sometimes we're desensitized to it. A trending topic for the day, a bump in streaming numbers, some kind words about their artistry, and then we move on. But Nipsey Hussle's death and his impact feel different. That's because his music and the movement behind it were about uplifting each other and ourselves. His ideas for housing, investments and STEM programs in his community have been highly publicized, and they're continuing to grow.
(SOUNDBITE OF NIPSEY HUSSLE SONG, "HUSSLE AND MOTIVATE")
MADDEN: And, of course, his music is still the centerpiece for this movement. Take the song "Hussle & Motivate."
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HUSSLE AND MOTIVATE")
NIPSEY HUSSLE: (Rapping) Pull up in motorcades. I got a show today. It's all I'm trying to do, hustle and motivate. Choppers a throwaway. Hustle the Hova way. That's why they follow me, huh? They think I know the way.
MADDEN: That's why they follow me. They think I know the way. And people are still following him. As I heard from fans across the country, Nipsey's legacy is inspiring people to take action. Alan Douglas from Seattle says Nipsey's appetite for learning rubbed off on him.
ALAN DOUGLAS: I started reading more books about investing, and I've also just started learning to code in a boot camp to do some web development.
MADDEN: Calkie Fisseha from Virginia was inspired to pursue a law degree. She's planning to become an intellectual property lawyer to help artists.
CALKIE FISSEHA: Nipsey always taught us if there's something that you want to do, you go after it - all money in, 10 toes down. If I want it, I'm going to get it. Now I'm studying for the LSAT. And sometimes, I want to give up, but I have to realize that this is just the beginning of my marathon.
MADDEN: Other callers, like Brett Tyler from Miami, said that Nipsey's slogan, the marathon continues, has become a personal mantra of motivation.
BRETT TYLER: The biggest thing I learned from Nip was literally just keep going and to not stop. And that still sits with me today. Like, even in trying times like now it's, like, the water is in panic, but we got to keep going. The marathon continues.
MADDEN: It's a message of resilience, one that we could all benefit from right now.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "VICTORY LAP")
HUSSLE: (Rapping) I'm going to take it there. This time around, I'm going to make it clear. 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're wasting air. It - though, y'all scared. Eyes opened, I can see it clear.
MADDEN: Sidney Madden, NPR Music.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "VICTORY LAP")
HUSSLE: (Rapping) They don't make it where I'm from. Now we take it here. They don't see in due time. I be making mils (ph). Bossed up in this game, I been making deals. Get your lawyer on the phone. We can make it real. I got checks and balance. I flex dramatic. Another 50 on my neck, just my reckless habit. Ain't no - on my rep. Disrespect the savage. I make one phone call, and the rest get handled.
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