The memorial service of Nipsey Hussle at Staples Center witnessed tributes, performances and eulogies from family and famous friends in front of a massive crowd at the 20,000-capacity venue on Friday.
The last time the Staples Center hosted a memorial service was back in 2009, in honour of Michael Jackson. Hussle, who was reportedly shot multiple times on March 31 in front of his own Marathon Clothing boutique on Slauson and Crenshaw in South LA never gained Jackson's level of international fame, having only recently released his first full-length album, the Grammy-nominated "Victory Lap," after a decade's worth of mixtapes that made up the bulk of his artistic output. According to Variety, as the memorial movingly proved, he was a deeply beloved and influential figure in the hip-hop community and his hometown, with his philanthropy and burgeoning community outreach in South LA mentioned almost as often as music.
The memorial service started on a celebratory note where the crowd rose to its feet as a DJ played several Hussle tracks with spontaneous 'Nipsey' chants which broke out in between the songs, reported Variety.
Snoop Dogg, the West Coast rap godfather who collaborated with Hussle several times, appeared visibly choked up as he talked of how often the MC was compared to him in his early years and laughed when he remembered Hussle urging him to open up his own amusement park. "He had a vision for me that I didn't even have for myself," he said.
"You are a peace advocate, Nip, and the Marathon is gonna continue," Snoop said, before concluding with a rhyme: "God so loved the world that he gave us a great Crip / The late, the great, Neighborhood Nip."
In the service's most emotional speech, Hussle's older brother Samiel "Blacc Sam" Asghedom described how the 12-year-old Ermias once built his own computer from spare parts and then used that computer to record his first music.
Hussle's longtime partner, actor Lauren London, read aloud from a text message she had sent him in January, giving glimpses of Hussle as a loving, audio book-obsessed boyfriend and finally exhorting the crowd: "L.A., stand up -- this pain is really ours. We lost a real one."
Earlier on, the Nation of Islam's Minister Louis Farrakhan called Hussle "a prophetic soul," and alluded to his murder by noting, "when you can fly above the circumstances of your life, it provokes envy, enmity and jealousy among those who have not yet learned how to fly.
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