How Nipsey Hussle picked his stage name
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How Nipsey Hussle picked his stage name

Straight out of LA’s Crenshaw neighbourhood, the late Nipsey Hussle and artists like Kendrick Lamar and Tyler The Creator were putting Los Angeles back on the hip-hop map after years of trap domination by Atlanta before his early demise.

As well as being a respected musician, Hussle was hailed for his philanthropy and local activism efforts. While alive, the rapper funded improvements to deprived neighbourhood schools, spent time with Crenshaw students to steer them away from crime and made sure to denounce gun violence in his music.

While he was ascending in the industry, Hussle (Ermias Ashgedom) got signed to Epic Records. However, in 2010, he took a creative risk by departing from the label to create his own, All Money In.

After releasing his first mixtape, The Marathon, he followed up this body of work with The Marathon Continues, and in 2013, he unleashed his groundbreaking Crenshaw as a free download.

Following this, he saw an astronomical rise and unparalleled success. In 2018, following the release of his debut album, Victory Lap, the emcee gave an interview to Billboard magazine to speak about his album and some critical things fans should know about him. 

Speaking about where he was born and raised, Ashgedom told Billboard, I grew up in South Central Los Angeles, the Crenshaw district between Slauson and Florence, and Western and La Brea.” He also unveiled his first day job, disclosing, “My first day job was shining shoes for commission. I made $2.50 a shoe, and I used to pride myself on making $100 a day. So That’s a lot of shoes!”

Fans then heard about the more musical side of Ashegdoms’s childhood when he was asked about the first CD he ever bought. After a brief ponder, the lyricist confirmed, “I think it might have been Machiavelli by 2Pac. Right after he passed away.”

The emcee continued to speak about his pre-fame taste in music and, while doing so, revealed an unlikely favourite, stating, “One of my favourite songs that people would probably be surprised by is Goo Goo Doll’s song called ‘Iris’. I think that song is crazy! Just the words and what’s being said.” He continued, “I heard it on the City Of Angels soundtrack a long time ago, and I was like, ‘Damn, this record crazy!'” 

Ashgedom, with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, is acknowledged as not just a rapper but an all-round entertainer. However, over the years, many referred to him as Nipsey. During his 2018 interview with Billboard, he clarified how he got his name, telling the magazine, “My stage name was given to me, moreso for the ‘Hussle’ part than for the Nipsey part.”

He explained, “It was just a joke somebody said in the studio one day because I came in, I had the weed, I had some chicken for everybody. I fed everyone, smoked everybody out and I was the youngest in the crew. Someone just laughed and said the name Nipsey Hussle as a joke. It had a little ring to it.”

You can watch Ashgedom’s Billboard interview in th evideo below to find out more about the late star.