The King of Crenshaw

Christopher A. Smith
8 min readApr 3, 2019

How the murder of rapper/entrepreneur Nipsey Hussle has affected many — and possibly represents a breaking point.

Nipsey Hussle. (photo credit: Getty Images)

“Look, young rich n***a shit, pops was an immigrant
Lifestyle ill legit, but know I own businesses
Started out the trunk, ended up at the dealership
All gold Rollie, black face no blemishes”

- “Black Face”, Nipsey Hussle w/Childish Gambino

It’s 12:20 A.M. A little more than twenty-four hours after I, like many others around the globe got the word of the senseless murder of Nipsey Hussle outside of his Marathon Clothing store out in the ‘hood he loved, Crenshaw in
south Los Angeles, California. I’m out in my neighborhood with my nephew and Tone, one of the O.G.’s from around the way. We’re pulling up in his car
alongside one of the few bodegas on the main drag of Linden Boulevard that’s
open 24/7. The streets are mostly quiet. They usually are in this part of Queens, it’s what I grew up with and still experience being out here. The only
things punctuating the chilly night air is the perfume of jerk chicken being cooked at a bar and lounge across the street along with smoke from a Newport. We’re here ’cause Tone wants to cop some more beer and chop it up. There’s a dude ahead of us, hood of his sweater propped up on his head as he waits for the dude in the store. A car parked out front waits for him, complete with a white pit bull in the backseat looking at us out of the window. “Victory Lap”, the first track off of his Grammy-nominated album of the same name is bumping from that car. The cat at the window eyes us as we walk up. We give the standard head nod and give him some dap as he sees us vibing to the track. “Damn shame aint it?” he says.

That has been running through the minds of many since Sunday evening. A
damn shame. Hussle died in his ‘hood, in front of the business he created on West Slauson Avenue through a decade’s worth of grit, drive & determination. I still can’t get the last photo of him that someone put on Twitter out of my mind — him kneeling to take a photo with a young child, right in the parking lot. According to reports this morning, he basically rushed over to his store with a friend who just came…

Christopher A. Smith

Freelance writer. Author of 3 books of poetry. Raconteur. Queens is the county, Jamaica is the place.