Nipsey Hussle Waited A Dozen Years For An Album. His New Song Sees It As Perfect Timing
Thirteen years ago this week, Nipsey Hussle released his debut mixtape, Slauson Boy. Shortly thereafter, the MC’s buzz started permeating the West Coast, and then the global Rap industry. The artist from the Crenshaw section of Los Angeles, California rapped with a sense of angst, awareness, and authority that stood apart from his peers. From Snoop Dogg to Chamillionaire to Rick Ross, a cross-section of Rap artists took interest in Nip’, giving him features and putting the artist on his songs.
While Nipsey eventually landed at a restructuring and rebranding Epic Records, the 2000s ended without an album. Instead, the rapper fed the streets with a steady stream of unadulterated mixtape product. Bullets Ain’t Got No Name and Marathon became sought-out series, very much tied to themes that surrounded Nipsey’s environment and a different industry blueprint. 2013’s Crenshaw, a mixtape sold at $100 a clip, combated the notion that free music lacked value. Pressed on CD, packaged with artwork, Nipsey Hussle set up shop beyond the industry in a way that was just as impressive as his art. JAY-Z was a noteworthy supporter, copping 100 copies of the celebrated work.
Until this year, Hussle delivered mixtape singles to the charts, kept a high-profile beyond the label machine, and continuously made top-shelf music during a renaissance of West Coast Gangsta Rap. Finalizing a partnership beyond the traditional deals, Nip’s Victory Lap with Atlantic Records this year pushed the quality even further. While the streets and the charts warmly received the February album, few could have predicted the Grammy Awards recognition as “Best Rap Album” nominee. In the coming weeks, Heads will see if the low-key artist from Crenshaw can achieve something that Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, and The Game have not.
Closing out his banner year, Hussle releases “Perfect Timing.” Like so many other songs in his catalog, the record focuses on the hear-and-now of his career. “I know perfect timing feels like I’m too late / And I know I’m still great in spite of my mistakes / You know it’s authentic, every rhyme I say / My only regret is I made ni**as wait / See, ain’t too many like us, we life in this, baby / An’ I don’t f&ck with busters, y’all can’t integrate / Grew up with these killers in my living space / Lotta ni**as folded through them village days,” he opens.
Victory Lap is included in Ambrosia For Heads‘ Best 15 Albums Of 2018 list.