Fans and friends of Nipsey Hussle overwhelmed Staples Center on Thursday to say farewell to one of the city's favorite sons. Approximately 21,000 tickets were snapped up in a matter of minutes on Tuesday for the homage, cementing the magnitude of how important he is to Los Angeles.
“And until we meet again, the marathon continues,” girlfriend Lauren London said to the sold-out crowd and millions watching around the world via livestreaming.
Guests included Jay-Z, Beyoncé, G-Eazy, Master P, Vince Staples, Big Sean and Meek Mill. Stars involved in the service provided renditions of some of Nipsey's favorite songs, including performances by Anthony Hamilton, Jhene Aiko, Marsha Ambrosius and the iconic Stevie Wonder, who performed “Rocket Love.”
A request for the legendary singer to perform at his funeral was made by Nipsey himself on the song “Ocean Views.” Speaking of his appreciation for Stevie Wonder, Neighborhood Nip rapped, “Hunnid thousand in my coffin, that's just light dough/Play a Stevie Wonder song, smoke some flight bro.”
Longtime collaborators Def Jam recording artist YG (“R.I.P.”) and superproducer DJ Mustard were Nipsey Hussle's honorary pallbearers. Together, YG and Mustard delivered an emotional farewell to their best friend with promises to continue his legacy.
Recognizing Nipsey Hussle as a king with empowering tributes, an array of iconic figures, from Snoop Dogg to Minister Louis Farrakhan to accomplished songwriter/pastor Shep Crawford, all spoke. Each acknowledged what a unique individual Nipsey Hussle was and recited a favorite memorable verse.
A beautiful program was issued to guests filled with a 13-page gallery of intimate photos of Nipsey as a family man, mentor, friend and partner. Included were heartfelt farewells from Nipsey's mother and father, brother, girlfriend, Kendrick Lamar, Rick Ross, J.Cole and NBA superstars LeBron James, James Harden and Russell Westbrook.
President Barack Obama celebrated the impact of Nipsey Hussle via a letter read during the ceremony by Nipsey's longtime business partner, Karen Civil. Obama credits his daughters for teaching him about Nipsey's transformation from former gang member to a community leader.
Following the Staples Center event, Nipsey Hussle took his final lap around his South Los Angeles neighborhood as he was embraced by a sea of beloved fans through 21 blocks, coming full circle as he made a final stop at his Hyde Park shopping center, home of his Marathon clothing store. Motorcycles roared, Nipsey's catalog played throughout every piece of audio equipment, murals of messages from fans engulfed the streets, and smiles and tears were shared throughout the late evening.
The marathon definitely continues for Nipsey Hussle's legacy. On Friday, April 12, L.A. City Council will honor him by officially documenting his legacy into the public record. Fans, friends and family are requested to join Marqueece Harris-Dawson, District 8 councilmember representing the West Los Angeles area, at City Council Chambers on the 200 block of North Spring Street, where the promised Crenshaw Boulevard/Slauson Avenue intersection will be renamed “Ermias 'Nipsey Hussle' Asghedon Square.”
Jay-Z's music streaming service Tidal announced the Nipsey Hussle: Celebration of Life event will be free for all to watch until Friday afternoon, April 12, at Tidal.com/NipseyHussle.