“Don’t let the water in the boat,” Nipsey Hussle told me six days after the release of his album Victory Lap. “The boat’ll never go down if you don’t let the water in the boat.” It was advice he shared with his daughter sometimes, wise words to hang onto when facing any kind of adversity.
“And that’s just water,” he said. “You know what I’m sayin? That’s just rough seas. We got a destination. We tryin’ to get across the ocean to the other country, or to whatever land on the other side of this water. All that other sh-t, you go straight through the waves. Just don’t let the water in the boat.”
Thinking of those words, the image of Hussle in the “Victory Lap” music video comes to mind, standing in the prow of a fishing boat off the coast of Tulum, Mexico, puffing on a cigar, hanging onto a rope with one hand as the wooden vessel bounces on the waves.
It’s comforting to think of Hussle’s victories on a day like today, March 31, the anniversary of an atrocity. Two years after his senseless murder, the pain hasn’t gone away. The city of Los Angeles is still reeling. It’s hard to imagine what Hussle’s family must be feeling on days like today.
“As a father, I wish my son was still here with me,” said Dawit Asghedom, shortly after Ermias was laid to rest at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Hollywood Hills, which is also the final resting place of Michael Jackson, Walt Disney, John Singleton, and Rodney King. “But also, he’s not died in vain. People recognize what he planned to do and what he has accomplished at a young age, at only 33.
Nobody imagined how much people loved him, the support they gave him. There’s no words to explain. Starting from the Marathon store to the Staples Center and when we marched through the streets. It was incredible.”
“The memorial services scheduled today around the world are just a testament to how many people he touched,” his beloved big brother, Samiel
Asghedom, better known as “Blacc Sam,” told me.
“It’s a testament to the message and what he represented and so many people that he inspired and touched. He was a true people’s champ, man. The story, just making something out of nothing.
And inspiring and never thinking he was bigger or more special or better than anybody. Just staying and showing people that if you believe and stay the course, you can always achieve. That’s
what everybody in every community and every area in the country loved and respected and valued about Nip. They’re showing their love and it’s humbling.”