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Old School Archives

Watch rare footage of an early freestyle by Nipsey Hussle

Nipsey Hussle’s tragic murder in 2019 robbed the world of not just a one-in-a-lifetime MC, but also a devoted philanthropist and social activist. A lifetime of denouncing gun violence, advocacy towards education, pushing progressive solutions for the environment, and a keen desire to curb gang violence among inner-city youth were just some of the causes that Airmiess Joseph Asghedom took up in the time before his passing.

In early March of 2019, Hussle contacted the Los Angeles Police Department and asked to set up a meeting between himself, officers, community representatives, and members of Jay-Z’s Roc Nation label. Hussle had become concerned with violence that surrounded South Los Angeles, an area that Hussle called home for his entire life. The LAPD agreed, and a date was for the meeting: April 1.

However, Hussle never made it. The day before, in the very same area that he was looking to rehabilitate, Hussle was shot ten times outside of his Marathon Clothing store. With that, his community, his home state, and the world at large lost one of its foremost figures in hip hop.

But back in 2010, Hussle was still an upstart rapper struggling to make a name for himself in the crowded world of hip hop. Signed to Epic Records, Hussle released the first three volumes of his Bullets Ain’t Got No Name mixtape before opting to leave the label. Strapped for cash and providing almost no marketing for Hussle’s release, the rapper decided that he would have to bring his music to the people in any way he could.

When he stopped by the radio station Hot 97.5 in Las Vegas in the summer of 2010, Hussle freestyled as a way to emancipate himself from the more dire circumstances surrounding his record deal. It’s natural and clever, as Hussle often was, but lyrical as well. Hussle had a remarkable ability to jump from topic to topic without ever feeling disjointed or disconnected. It was a natural talent, and one that the rest of the rap world sorely misses today.

Watch the freestyle down below.