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Moment of Silence for Nipsey: Machine Gun Kelly, YG & Others Put Releases on Hold to Honor Hussle's Memory

Nipsey Hussle's death left a hole in the hip-hop community. In an unprecedented gesture that makes his passing all the more visible, a number of high-profile artists -- from West Coast brethren to those outside the region Hussle so faithfully repped -- decided to postpone releasing new music to create a "moment of silence" in the marketplace.

Cleveland's Machine Gun Kelly was the first artist to announce the informal campaign on April 3; gearing up for an album rollout, Kelly was supposed to release the first single from his latest project on Friday, April 5. On Twitter, he credited Carl Chery, Creative Director and Head of Urban at Spotify, with inspiring him to delay his release.

"When I came into the game, Nipsey was one of the leaders," MGK tells Billboard. "His XXL freshman class in 2010 was two years before mine -- he was always one step ahead. The Marathon and The Marathon Continues mixtapes were motivation for me when I was writing a lot of my mixtapes."

After his death, MGK felt uncomfortable about his own rollout and decided to act. "Nipsey's music and his legacy are owed a lifetime of appreciation, and it [became] a bittersweet moment to announce my album. The one way I did have to pay respect was to at least stop the song I had for that week from coming out."

YG, who recorded the anti-Trump anthem "FDT" with Nipsey in 2016, pushed his album from an April release to May. ScHoolboy Q delayed the second single from his upcoming LP. Boogie held a video. By week's end, more artists had joined in, including Kash Doll, Tierra Whack, Lil Mosey and DJ Mustard and 03 Greedo, who postponed their collaborative album. While digital distribution has made it much easier to change release plans at the last minute, several executives tell Billboard they've never heard of such a broad effort to honor a musician before.

Not all of these artists had direct ties to Nipsey, which speaks to how widely the rap community has been impacted by the Crenshaw MC's tragic death. Nipsey, born Ermias Joseph Asghedom, was shot and killed on March 31, outside of the clothing store he owned and operated in the neighborhood he grew up in -- a neighborhood he was working to revitalize through his entrepreneurial activities, including opening a coworking space.

Kelly recalls Nipsey's investment in his community with admiration. "It was the first time I was around someone besides Puff Daddy who made me think, 'Maybe I gotta think bigger than the musician lifestyle. Maybe there's a future beyond just rapping,' Kelly says. "I was living this fast lifestyle and saw that Nipsey was on a whole different mental level, and it made me feel like I was behind. It pushed me to want to get my shit together, his different type of commitment."

This article originally appeared in the April 13 issue of Billboard.


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