I heard the music in 2008. I was just lurking on the mixtape sites and I seen “Bullets Ain’t Got No Name Vol 2.” I just liked the name. I never heard of the nigga rapping and I played it and I kept playing it. Everyday. I did more research and I found this vlog called Turn’d Up and it was the first time I heard him talk outside of the rapping shit. The way he was explaining his environment was so believable because he was calm describing it. He wasn’t extra. He told you what it is and what goes on. It wasn’t a guy trying to sell me on his stripes or how gangsta he was. It was a man who wanted and needed change.
I saw the famous parking lot full of crips with the Metro PCS store, Slauson Fish Market, and the barbershop in it in 2008. I visited that same parking lot in 2011 just to see if it was real. It was like a museum moment for me. It was my first time in LA and I didn’t want to go to Roscoe’s or the Staples Center. I wanted to go to Crenshaw. I wanted a blue Crenshaw crewneck. I wanted to see if the place was real. I wasn’t going to that part of L.A to brag about visiting the hood. I went to see what he rapped about in his songs for myself. I was the fan that was waiting for “South Central State Of Mind.” I was the fan in debates about hip hop saying this man was the best in the game and niggas laughed at me and told me “Nobody knows who that is and nobody listens to west coast rap no more.” I was the fan that seen the deal with Epic didn’t work out and still thought he was that nigga. I been there since the beginning.
Nipsey Hussle’s “Victory Lap” isn’t just a Victory for Nipsey and All Money In. It’s a Victory for us fans too. It’s a victory in terms of us seeing that a loss is just a loss and the grind really is a marathon. It’s a victory in terms of showing us you don’t have to change who you are or follow what’s trendy and you can still win. It’s a victory in terms of showing us the real don’t always get overlooked. We really saw a artist with a buzz get a deal then leave that deal and gamble their career and had publications write him off then hop back on his dick after he gave his brand a makeover and dropped the first $100 mixtape ever. Then dropped the first $1000 mixtape ever and more mixtapes after that. He kept saying Victory Lap coming soon for 5 years. Didn’t give a fuck what anybody said and took his time and did it on his terms and came full circle to get a partnership/label deal with Atlantic. Have we ever seen something like that in hip hop? Let me know if we have.
After 9 years of waiting. Victory Lap is here.
When I heard Stacey’s voice with the piano keys and organ keys I still couldn’t believe Victory Lap was here. Literally those 9 years flashed before my eyes. I was almost afraid to listen to this album. I didn’t know what to expect but I was still willing to bet whatever on my nigga Nip and it’s funny that the first words you hear from him are “I’m prolific so gifted” because the last 9 years he proved that and those were the perfect bars to start out with. This track was just pure street gospel and testimony. He left it all on this track from his flaws with reckless spending to the stripes he earned in the streets to his travels around the world. You hear a man that knew he would win in some way shape or form but is so grateful and thankful.
The bars that stood out most to me on the title track was
“I’m finna take it there/This time around I'ma make it clear/Spoke some things into the universe and they appeared/I say it's worth it, I won't say it's fair/Find your purpose or you wastin' air, fuck it though, ya'll niggas scared.”
That line “Find your purpose or you wasting air, fuck it tho you niggas scared” hit me in my heart because I was that line 2 years ago. Broke. No idea what I wanted to do and I kept asking myself “What are you scared of?” I was afraid to find my purpose. I seen what Nip was doing with his brand and he gave me the blueprint of what I wanted to do with mine and I got started with the POLITE brand. On the flip side of those bars I would get asked to collaborate on different projects once I got my blog name up in the streets and I’d agree to em and I’d be so excited to get to work and the people who asked me to collaborate get lazy, make excuses, and quit on me after they asked me to believe in what they presented to me. That’s exactly why I chill and do everything myself. I realized their laziness or excuses didn’t have anything to do with it. They were scared like Nipsey said.
Rap Niggas is a street anthem in every sense of it’s definition. I love how out the gate on this album 2 songs in Nipsey establishes that he’s nothing like any artist in the game. On the intro you hear him say “I can never view you as my equal, fuck I wanna hear your cd for?” Or “This ain’t that weirdo rap you used to.” Then you hear “Rap Niggas” as the next track is just beautiful. I will never get tired of that song ever because of the truth in it. Nip really nothing like these rap niggas.
The gems and stories you hearing in “Young Nigga” just had me smoking and chilling thinking about the come up I’m currently on. The Marathon I’m on right now. It’s gonna pay off cause I found my purpose. The story in the song about Blacc Sam burying 200,000 in the backyard and losing 100K of it because it molded shows you that man’s discipline. The fact he didn’t touch that money and blow it off on dumb shit is remarkable. He went back out to hustle like he was broke despite being up 200K. It shows you why their company is in the position they’re in. Discipline.
Dedication with Kendrick Lamar just shows niggas what I’ve been saying for almost 10 years and that this nigga Nip can rap with anybody. He not no slouch lyrically. He lowkey got K.Dot on that track. “Cook the books, bring it back so it’s no taxes. Royalties, publishing, plus I own masters. I’ll be damned if I slave for some white crackers.” DO YALL HEAR WHAT THIS MAN SAYING? POWERFUL!
Blue Laces 2 last verse was some of the most vivid lyrics I’ve ever heard in the history of music itself. I really felt like I was there on the beach witnessing that shootout. Blue Laces 1 was my favorite Nipsey track but part 2 just surpassed it.
Keyz 2 The City 2 was FLAMES! Teeflii went the fuck off and the beat switch at the end was crazy too. That’s the type of song that makes you feel like a boss. Like smoking on the rooftop after a long day of handling business kinda boss. I feel ashamed I don’t have a Benz to play this song in.
Succa Proof, Status Symbol 3, and Hussle & Motivate are all songs that are tailor made for working out in the gym. Especially "Succa Proof" it sounds like some vintage Ruff Ryders Compilation shit.
I liked how the last few songs towards the end of the album are more upscale and grandiose. If you follow the subject matter and production of the album from start to finish. It starts off gritty, street, with lyricism that’s in the trenches and when you reach the end of the album it’s like you’ve reached the zenith, it’s upscale. So the beginning you hear Nipsey detail the struggle in the streets and the art of the hustle and what it takes to succeed then by the end of the album you see the marble floors and ocean views. You hear the success. The album is a timeline and in my opinion that’s the most beautiful thing about it.
I waited almost 10 years for Victory Lap. Almost a decade. 2 presidential terms took place in that time. Think about that. It’s finally here and it was worth the wait because it’s all I will be playing for years to come. Victory Lap wasn’t just a Victory for Nipsey. It was Victory for us fans too.
Check Out Our Podcast and our conversation about Nipsey's Debut album "Victory Lap."