Family, Friends & Fans Pay Tribute to Nipsey Hussle at Massive LA Memorial Service
On Thursday (April 11), rapper/entrepreneur Nipsey Hussle will be laid to rest, and it all began with an appropriately massive memorial service at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Nipsey Hussle -- born Ermias Asghedom -- was shot and killed outside his Marathon Clothing store in LA on March 31. He was 33.
In honor of his life, family members, friends and fans paid their respects to the Los Angeles star. With BET and Tidal live-streaming the event, Billboard brought you live updates from Hussle's memorial service. Follow along below.
1 p.m. ET: According to a program handed out to attendees, the memorial will feature performances by Marsha Ambrosius, Jhene Aiko and Anthony Hamilton. Karen Civil will read acknowledgements and resolutions, while Snoop Dogg, LA radio personality Big Boy and Nipsey's partner Lauren London are listed with several other names under the heading "Family Tributes."
1:36 p.m. ET: A person on the loudspeaker thanked everyone for their patience and announced that they are working on getting everyone inside in an orderly fashion. The service will begin shortly. There were several small skirmishes inside the venue, but those were quickly put to rest. NBA stars James Harden and Demar DeRozan make their way inside the arena, dressed in all-white.
1:53 p.m. ET: The procession starts. 1500 Or Nothin' kicks off the memorial service by performing a live rendition of Victory Lap's "Right Hand to God."
2 p.m. ET: Minister Reid Rich and Pastor Shep Crawford both read a pair of scriptures from the bible. Crawford finishes with Genesis 50:19-20.
2:07 p.m. ET: An emotional Marsha Ambrosius powers her way through a heartfelt performance of "Fly Like a Bird." Later, she blends Hussle's Victory Lap track "Real Big" into her rendition.
2:13 p.m. ET: Karen Civil reads a personal letter from Barack Obama addressed to the friends and family of Nipsey Hussle. "I've never met Nipsey, but I've heard about his music through my daughters. After his passing, I've had the chance to learn about his transformation and his community work. While most folks look at the Crenshaw neighborhood where he grew up and only saw gangs, bullets, and despair, Nipsey saw potential," Obama writes. "He saw hope. He saw a community that even through its flaws taught him to always keep going."
2:16 p.m. ET: The Honorable Mister Louis Farrakhan speaks. He calls Hussle a "prophetic soul" and says that he will "become more famous in death than in life." Farrakhan also goes to compare Hussle's impact in rap to Bob Marley's influence on reggae. "Our brother never left the hood. He loved the Rolling 60s," adds Farrakhan on Hussle's gang ties.
2:31 p.m. ET: Anthony Hamilton deliver a soulful performance of his 2007 track "Do you Feel Me." "We are here to celebrate a life that stood for love and unity. From this day forward, we will love again," Hamilton states.
2:46 p.m. ET: Nipsey's kids Kross and Emani Asghedom take the stage alongside Kameron Carter, his mother Lauren London, and Khalil Kimbel. Carter graces the mic and reflects on a dream he had in the days following Nip's death. Kameron has the crowd shout "Respect" in unison with him since that's what Nipsey would always say to him at the window when he would wake up.
2:51 p.m. ET: Jhene Aiko performs her 2014 Souled Out deep cut "Eternal Sunshine" in remembrance of Hussle. "Rest in peace, Nipsey. We love you," she concluded at the end of her performance.
3:01 p.m. ET: Nipsey's mother, Angelique Smith, and his father, Dawit Asghedom, both speak. "I have perfect peace. I am happy. I am complete. I am strong. And if I can feel this way, so can you," Smith says while pouring libations. "I want to tell you that I stand a witness that everything isn't perfect and divine order." She admits to having premonitions of death being close to her before her son's passing.
Smith then tells a story of Nipsey as a 9-year-old getting the attention of a fire truck to put out the fire that had broken out in her overheated car engine. "Our engine is on fire now. We're burning, but we're not destroyed," she continues. "I am very proud of my son. My son, Ermias Joseph Asghedom, was a great man."
3:29 p.m. ET: Samiel Asghedom, Nipsey's older brother, speaks at the podium. After taking a few moments to gather himself, he begins. "Everything he said in the music was he who was. If I die today, I know the set proud, n---a," he says pulling on lyrics from "I Don't Stress."
He recalls some stories from their childhood like how Nip built their first home computer. "A couple years later, he began recording music on that computer." Samiel jokes about not having the gift of writing that his brother was born with. "People coming from all over the world. Field of dreams. He built something and people are coming," Asghedom says.
3:46 p.m. ET: During her tribute, a teary Lauren London ruminates on a text message she wrote to Hussle on the morning of Jan. 21 of this year. "You've been my turn-up and my church. I wouldn't want to go thru this journey without anyone but you," she wrote in the text she shared with the audience.
She also somberly touches on how Nip's passing will affect their two-year-old son Kross, and how they will have to push on without his presence. Despite her sadness, London ends the message with a reverberating message to her fallen beau: "Until we meet again, the marathon continues."
4:12 p.m. ET: West Coast luminary, Snoop Dogg, acknowledges Hussle's girlfriend Lauren London and his parents during his time onstage. Snoop credits London for being a "beloved queen" to Hussle and refers to their relationship as "Black excellence."
Later, Snoop praises Nip's father for teaching his son "how to be a strong black man." "You may have lost a son, but you picked up another son in me," adds Snoop.
Though he entered the stage dejected, Snoop's mood quickly changes once he talks about his memories of Hussle and how Nip once tried to sell him on opening an amusement park called "Doggy Land."
4:22 p.m. ET: YG and Mustard come together on stage. “That’s my brother from the other color," YG says of their rival gang ties. "He was like a real big brother to me. We always talking about goals, family, and plays we’re trying to make.” After reflecting on a congratulatory text from Nip on his birthday, YG returns the favor and honors the legacy of Neighborhood Nip. "Like Lauren said, the motherfucking marathon continues, n---a!" he proudly concludes.
4:34 p.m. ET: Stevie Wonder shares a few words about his relationship with Nipsey. "We give our praise to god for allowing me the pleasure of meeting such a great young man," he says. Stevie then declared the need for stricter gun laws in America. "It's a heartbreak because it's so unnecessary. We are still living in a time where ego, anger, and jealousy is controlling our lives. We must have stronger gun laws. It's unacceptable. It's almost like the world is becoming blind," Wonder states.
On "Oceans," Nipsey rapped about having Stevie Wonder perform at his funeral. "Hunnid thousand in my coffin, that's just light dough/ Play a Stevie Wonder song, smoke some flight bro," he rhymes. The 68-year-old then moves into a soulful performance to one of Nipsey's favorites from his discography with Hotter Than July's "Rocket Love."
5:02 p.m. ET: After Pastor Shep Crawford's moving eulogy, a video montage highlighting Nip's storied life began to play. Soundtracked by his Victory Lap track "Dedication," many of his close family members and friends escorted his casket out of the arena.