Just hours before unveiling his debut album Victory Lap, Nipsey Hussle breaks down the creative process behind his most important project to date, which includes contributions from Kendrick Lamar, YG, and Puff Daddy.
Sitting down with Rap-Up, the Crenshaw rapper revealed the significance of cohesion, which allowed him to tell his complex life story through the course of a nuanced album. “It’s the story of Nipsey Hussle,” he says, “this dude who came from L.A., whose dad came from Africa, who was raised in the inner city of Los Angeles in the ’90s, when gang banging was at its peak, when all of the political riots, everything that was going on with LAPD, and all that stuff in L.A. was at its peak, but then who also was raised around books, whose mom put pressure on him to read, and whose dad watched CNN all day. It’s an interesting take on South Central.”
Nipsey says that he was able to “articulate these stories in musical form” with a little help from Diddy, who guest stars on “Young Ni**a,” but who provided even more assistance elsewhere. “He done a lot of production on the album and just came through after the songs was bare,” he says. “I thought I was done but he heard the record and was like, ‘Nah, here’s shit we can do to it.’ So we opened it back up.”
Puff isn’t the only big name on board. Kendrick Lamar also lends his voice to “Dedication,” which came together thanks to producer Axel Foley. According to Nipsey, the collaboration also spawned from mutual respect, given his appreciation for K-Dot’s music, in particular, “FEEL.” off last year’s critically-lauded DAMN.
“That’s one of the hardest rap songs I’ve heard in a long time,” he explains. “In years. I ain’t heard a rap record come across like that in a long time. I just reached out and gave him his credit on that like, ‘This shit epic. This is a classic record to me. I loved this shit.’”
Victory Lap drops Friday featuring additional collaborations with YG, The-Dream, CeeLo Green, Marsha Ambrosius, and more.