Nipsey Hussle - Victory Lap Album Review
Nipsey Hussle has had buzz surrounding him since his 2008/09 Bullets Aint Got No Name mixtape series. Since then, Nipsey has become one of the most respected gangster rappers in the genre. Victory Lap, his long-awaited debut album, proves why he is one of the most revered gangster rappers alive. The album contains his well-known entrepreneurial endeavors, street tales and sound lyricism that create an enjoyable listen from start to finish.
Nipsey’s career is one of the most compelling in hip hop and his message has garnered him some of the most loyal fans in the genre’s history. This loyalty was on full display in 2013 when Nipsey Hussle released 1,000 limited edition Crenshaw mixtapes costing $100. As an independent artist, Nipsey made 100,000 dollars off of a free mixtape and sold 100 copies to hip hop’s greatest mogul, Jay-Z. Nipsey called this strategy “Proud-to-Pay” because he believed the people who would buy the project were his most dedicated fans and willing to support him.
The album is loaded with quality tracks from start to finish. The title-track opener tells the story of how Nipsey has got to this point. Nipsey points out the improbability of a gangbanger from the inner-city making it to his status when he raps, “I'm an urban legend, South Central in a certain section/ Can't express how I curbed detectors/ Yes, it's evidence of a divine presence/Blessings, help me out at times I seem reckless.” On the second track “Rap N*****,” Nipsey reminds the world he is a different breed of rapper and should not be confused with the rappers of today. This is evident when he tells a street story on “Blue Laces 2.” Nipsey raps, “I flashback on that shootout at the beach, twenty deep/ You tried to squeeze, your gun jammed and they released/ Blood on your tee, how many stains? I see three.” During the rest of this verse, Nipsey recreates the scene in which he is driving his friend that has been shot to the hospital.
On the project, Nipsey recruits big name hip hop talents YG, Puff Daddy, Kendrick Lamar and more. On “Last Time That I Checc’d,” which features YG who he collaborated with for the highly political 2016 single “FDT,” the two shows off the chemistry they had on “FDT,” but this time over an unapologetic west coast beat. YG shows love for Nipsey when he says, “Aye Nip, I remember all that game you taught me/ Don't f*** around and get played by these label owners.” YG is not the only west coast rapper who shows love for Nipsey. On “Dedication,” Kendrick Lamar raps about Nipsey being more than a gangbanger and points to his business acumen, something that is often overlooked. The two also rap about the struggle it took for both men to get where they are. Nipsey has gained the respect from his peers because of his talent, which he showcases on “Young N****” where he raps just one extended verse with Puff Daddy co-signing him like a hype man at a cypher.
This album is everything a gangster rap album should be, but it does drag on. There are several instances towards the tail end of the album where the songs are blending together and do not separate themselves like the majority of the songs on the project. Nipsey also takes a chance on “Real Big” where he sings on the chorus. Though it is not bad, it is not something Nipsey should do frequently. The song is a head scratcher because he has an R&B singer in Marsha Ambrosius featured on the bridge of the track. Nevertheless, the slight slip-ups on the album are vastly outweighed by what the album does well, but they are still there and they do the hurt the album as a whole.
Nipsey Hussle’s long-awaited Victory Lap proved to be worth the wait. He showcased everything he does well and now with a major label backing him, the sky is truly the limit for what Nipsey will do next.
Jerome Taylor is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.