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‘He Was the People’s Champ:’ LA Immortalizes Nipsey Hussle in Murals

Thursday marks three years since the killing of LA rap artist and activist Nipsey Hussle, who was shot March 31, 2019 at age 33 outside his clothing store.

The young star’s message and legacy can still be seen throughout LA, where dozens of murals portray his likeness.

From Slauson Avenue and Crenshaw Boulevard — site of Nipsey’s first clothing store, Marathon Clothing — to Washington Boulevard to Estudillo Avenue, Nipsey’s portrait shows him gazing toward and above passersby.

“You had Tupac, you had Biggie. You had all those celebrities and when they passed, they didn’t really leave us nothing that physically we can go to see and touch,” said Herman (Cowboy) Douglas, a longtime friend and former business partner of Nipsey.

“Nip left us something. Ya know, Nip was the people’s champ. He gave us hope because he started from nothing. He was like the underdog that made it,” said Douglas.

Explaining how fans around the world still send in artwork dedicated to the rapper, Douglas said the support has not run dry for Nipsy, whose real name was Ermias Asghedom.

“Even ’til this day, years later … We’re going on three years,” he said.

On the anniversary of Nipsey’s death, Douglas says what he wants to do is “have all gangbangers have a ceasefire.”

“Let’s have a safe day where no more people die on that day.”

Himself a part of a gang called the Rollin’ 60’s, Nipsey left this life behind to focus on music, gaining steady success also as an entrepreneur and community advocate.

Denouncing gang violence in his music and trying to uplift his community by hiring underprivileged groups, the artist wanted to effect positive change.

He also came to be a father of two.

As a young man, Douglas had “seen where he was headed — he was looking for acceptance,” which he says often leads to gang involvement.

But seeing his potential, Douglas said, “Do your music, do your music.”

“I watched him grow from a young man to a man,” he said.

According to Douglas, the artist was “always a reader, he was always a thinker … You couldn’t tell him to do something he didn’t want to do.”

Douglas admired his leadership and ability to stay true to himself, regardless of what others were saying or doing.

Nipsey’s suspected killer is someone who had grown up in the same area and affiliated with the same gang: Eric Holder, who was 29 at the time.

After a heated conversation about Holder’s reputation around the neighborhood, in which Nipsey allegedly told Holder he’d come to be known as a “snitch,” it is suspected that Holder fired at least 10 rounds into the rapper.

The LA County coroner would later find one bullet went into his skull and another into his spine, severing it.

Holder is awaiting trial.

File source

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