Nipsey Hussle's Lessons For Investors (2024)

A memorial to Hussle in my community of Oakland, CA.

Morgan Simon.

Nipsey Hussle, born Ermias Joseph Asghedom, was an artist, entrepreneur, and community leader taken from the world too soon. Today his family and community are honoring “Neighborhood Nip” with a Celebration of Life memorial service in downtown Los Angeles, to reflect on an individual who, as so many in the media have noted, was more than a rapper. As a hip-hop head from LA myself, I had been following Hussle’s journey with excitement as he increasingly showed up as an activist — while I don’t believe you can say f*ck Donald Trump in Forbes, Nipsey and YG proved you could on the radio — and investor — with a keen interest in supporting his South LA community.

It’s all too easy for people to speak for others posthumously and “claim” them for a particular social cause or action — we’ll never really know, for instance, if Martin Luther King would’ve organized on Twitter, or if Tupac would support gun control today. It’s incredibly tempting to claim Hussle as an impact investor, given the way he spoke so clearly about the critical importance of recycling money into communities for systemic change. “At the core, one of my original goals is to redefine what the streets expect,” he said in regards to his investments and dedication to uplifting his neighborhood.

Whether or not Hussle would’ve wanted to adopt the impact investor label, I do believe he wanted us to learn from his positive example. “I’m more focused on giving solutions and inspiration more than anything,” he shared in a 2010 interview. Here’s a few lessons I see from his work that can hopefully, positively influence the way we all approach investing in community:

1. Invest in ecosystems.

Hussle was deeply concerned with South LA communities, and in both Crenshaw and Hyde Park made investments and philanthropic contributions that spoke to the diverse needs of residents — he not only had affordable housing plans in the works, but was coupling that development with affordable, healthy food access. He made sure basketball courts were paved for children to play, and then through Vector 90 — a technology co-working center and incubator also offering STEM education — made sure those youth would be able to find jobs and thrive in their local community.

In his own words as an investor, Hussle described Vector 90 as a tech ecosystem in itself. “So, basically, [there are] these different office spaces rented by entrepreneurs that are starting apps, or got skincare companies or product lines. So, they got investors in the building with David Gross, who’s the founder and my partner, and in myself… every year we’re gonna be able to do a first round of seeding for one of the entrepreneurs. They can make a pitch and say, ‘This is what I’m doing. This is what we need to take it to the next level,’ and they can have access to investments in the same building,” Hussle said in an interview with Black Enterprise last year. “Instead of having to fly somewhere. It’s right here in the Crenshaw district.”

Hussle also recognized that ownership was a critical component of setting the structural stage for communities to thrive. As L.A. City Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson noted to the LA Times, “He was investing in this part of town because he understood … if we ever wanted it to be in the condition it deserved, and for our people to be treated the way they deserved to be treated, we have to own it. There was no shortcuts to that.”

Upon a trip to his father’s home country of Eritrea, Hussle noted how powerful it was to witness people who look like him have real agency in their communities, both politically and throughout the economy. “I want to say how gratifying it is… to be able to come home and be able to have a country that we can call our own. Where the leaders, the police, politicians, business owners, and entrepreneurs… are in charge of their own destiny, and each has a say in the overall power structure,” he told his Eritrean interviewer. “It is just so impressive.”

2. Start with what you know... and grow.

Hussle was already an innovative entrepreneur in the music industry, often acknowledged for his unique sales strategies (for instance selling 1,000 copies of his mixtape in one day, but for $100 each, so that he could then release the music digitally to the public for free). He brought this ingenuity to his real estate investment strategy, and also brought in a partner, Dave Gross, an experienced investor with a Masters of Science in Real Estate Development. Together they were working to take advantage of Opportunity Zone legislation (a strategy explained in my previous interview with Markeze Bryant).

With regards to the Hyde Park real estate project he and Hussle were developing, Gross noted, “This is the quintessential Opportunity Zone investment. The law is supposed to support ground-up entrepreneurship, giving opportunities and jobs to all communities and improving the neighborhood.” Hussle knew his neighborhood — by taking advantage of investment structures available, he was well on his way to building a national example for how influencers can engage in their communities, without having to become masters themselves in the ins and outs of investing. As succinctly articulated by journalist Jeff Weiss: “Nipsey could’ve easily purchased a house in Calabasas and invested his money in faceless hedge funds, but instead he single-mindedly focused on rebuilding Crenshaw.”

3. Build a legacy.

Investing shouldn’t just be about making as much money as possible, it should prioritize being able to hold your head high in your community — knowing that you were able to create wealth for others, while also supporting your own family and needs. Hussle made clear that his objective was to lift up his community: he demonstrated a new model of success, that’s not just about what you can buy, but what you can build.

"He was somebody that believed in the process of hard work, determination and just the positivity of somebody staying in the area that he grew up in and making something out of nothing," Hussle’s older brother, Samiel Asghedom, reflected. "He was a role model to the community, to the kids, and to the mothers and the grandmothers and the community that watched him grow up.”

“Watching Nipsey inspired me to invest and own in our communities,” said Insecure actress and writer Issa Rae . Rae recently bought property in LA and vowed to continue Hussle’s work through Destination Crenshaw — the community-driven initiative to showcase the talent of black artists in the city — which Hussle played a significant role in birthing.

During his time on earth, Hussle grasped the importance of legacy and inspiring others each day: “I’m at peace with what I’m doing, I feel good with what I wake up doing and about my lifestyle.”

As we celebrate Nipsey Hussle’s investments — and more broadly, his legacy — let’s also celebrate the growing community of cultural influencers who are increasingly leveraging their financial wealth for social good, not just as philanthropists, but also as investors. These include athletes like Marshawn Lynch, LeBron James, Venus Williams, Maya Moore, and Real Money Moves ambassador Derrick Morgan; all who are aligning their money with their values. Hussle was ahead of his time in so many ways. I am hopeful that others, who are equally inclined to build holistic legacies, will learn from his leadership as an investor and community role model.

In full disclosure, the author is a founder of Real Money Moves — the educational non-profit that provides resources to athletes, actors, artists, and activists who are committed to aligning their money with their values — referenced in thiswork.Thank you to Jasmine Rashid for her contributions to this piece.

Nipsey Hussle's Lessons For Investors (2024)

FAQs

How did Nipsey Hussle impact the world? ›

Community activism

Hussle wanted to focus on "giving solutions and inspiration" to young black men like him. He denounced gun violence through his music, influence, and community work. He spoke openly about his experiences with gang culture.

What did Nipsey Hussle do to make money? ›

In addition to Marathon Clothing, Hussle had opened a fish market, a barbershop, a burger joint, and launched a combination co-working space and STEM center in the low-income Crenshaw district.

What did Nipsey Hussle teach? ›

Invest in yourself, your people — not frivolities.

They didn't call him “Neighborhood Nip” for nothing. In one of his early interviews, a young Hussle stressed the importance of investing and not blowing your money on nonsense. It's a clear life and business lesson for people of all ages. The message?

What can you learn from Nipsey Hussle? ›

5 things Nipsey Hussle's legacy taught us
  • — By Dontaira Terrell.
  • The Power of Community.
  • Step into Your Greatness.
  • Value is Everything.
  • Assets vs. Liabilities.
  • Run Your Own Race.

Why was Nipsey Hussle an activist? ›

Hussle was a staunch advocate for gun control, police abolition, and education equity in Los Angeles and the State of California. Academic research has often neglected the very clear relationship between Hip Hop and health, particularly the underlying theme of improving community health.

How much money did Nipsey Hussle have when he died? ›

Nipsey Hussle had made a significant impact on the music industry and the community, and his wealth was a reflection of his hard work and dedication to his craft. At the time of his death, Nipsey Hussle's estimated net worth was around $8 million.

Who inherited Nipsey Hussle money? ›

Blacc Sam was appointed administrator of Nipsey's estate following his death in 2019. Nipsey's assets were worth around $11 million. The estate will pay his children $5 million and annual payments. Nipsey Hussle is survived by his two children, a daughter named Emani and a son named Kross.

Who owns Nipsey Hussle estate? ›

Nipsey Hussle's kids are the primary beneficiaries of his estate. Lauren London with her sons, King and Kross. Nipsey had two kids at the time of his death — his daughter Emani Asghedom, whom he shared with ex-Tanisha Foster, and his son with Lauren London.

Who owns Nipsey Hussle clothing line? ›

On Tuesday, Nip's brother and business partner, Blacc Sam, appeared as a guest on the “Earn Your Leisure” podcast, revealing that the late Grammy winner's 14-year-old daughter, Emani Asghedom, and six-year-old son, Kross Asghedom, will become owners of his “The Marathon Clothing” retail store in Los Angeles and will be ...

Is Nipsey Hussle still living? ›

Where is Nipsey buried? ›

Countless murals were created to memorialize Nipsey upon his death. His gravesite is located inside the Court of Liberty section of Los Angeles' Forest Lawn Memorial Park.

Did Snoop Dogg know Nipsey Hussle? ›

Snoop Dogg has opened up about what he learned from Nipsey Hussle and reflected on the time he turned down a role in the N.W.A. biopic. During an appearance on The 85 South Comedy Show, Snoop was asked what he learned from Nip, who he influenced and was often compared to.

How is Nipsey Hussle a hero? ›

He never left the city that raised him. He was committed to setting up community for long-term success. The stripmall where he was slain was not just the street corner he hustled on as a teen. Nipsey invested millions to rejuvenate that plaza.

How was Nipsey Hussle a leader? ›

He embodied his philosophy and encouraged his audience to adopt the same strategy for a similar outcome. His inspiring and motivational spirit made him a transformational leader. His biggest goal was to uplift his community by giving back, investing, creating economic opportunities and embracing the culture.

What was Nipsey known for? ›

Ermias Joseph Asghedom (August 15, 1985 – March 31, 2019), known professionally as Nipsey Hussle (often stylized as Nipsey Hu$$le), was an American rapper. He was born in Los Angeles, California, to an African American mother and an Eritrean father. Los Angeles, California, U.S.

Why is it important to remember Nipsey Hussle? ›

Nipsey worked hard to find solutions for many of his people to escape poverty. Among his most significant accomplishments was the establishment of the Vector90 STEM center, which aims to give young people from underprivileged communities the chance to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.

What good works Nipsey was able to do for his community before he was murdered? ›

He invested in real estate. The place where he was shot was outside of a store that he built an owned in that Crenshaw area. He was always doing what he could to pour money and resources back into that community, which is really what you would — you would want from anybody who rises to that level.

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