Not exactly in my opinion. Nips soul was too old to have been Pac, but Malik Shabazz? 100%. For those who don’t know, Malik Shabazz was the final stage of the boy born as Malcolm Little, later Detroit Red, and most popularly referred to as Malcolm X. Obviously Nips Malcolm X chain has always been a huge staple of Hussle’s look, but if we examine the two men we see a lot aligns in their stories. Through Nips untimely & senseless death we were able to learn who Ermias was, a hopeful youth fascinated with technology & enjoyed making people smile, a true entertainer.
Malcolm’s autobiography gives us similar stories of Malcolm’s childhood where we see his early genius, we see his dream to become a lawyer. Despite the circumstances around them both men knew they were born to lose but destined by God for much more. Ultimately, both young men succumbed to the symptoms of America’s white supremacist power structure. As much as we want to overlook this time we cant, it is essential to the men they became. Thundercat or Detroit Red, Nip said it best on his song DEDICATION,
“Young black nigga trapped and he can’t change it, know he a genius, he just can’t claim it’ cause they left him no platforms to explain it. He frustrated so he get faded.”
As young black men in a world that is designed to fear and hate us we are often crushed through the education, “justice” and especially the prison system. Hence, I have no mercy or compassion in me for a society that will crush people and then penalize them for not being able to stand up under the weight.
Malcolm X, despite being on the front lines of the civil war of our communities both men “had dreams to graduate” but before those dreams could come to fruition, both men were locked up. It is obviously very well documented Malcolm’s transformation begins in prison and births the man the world will come to fear.
Nip also cited getting out of jail changed his focus level on the music. “got out the county jail 2008, couple months, I dropped the tape then I was on my way, my first single out, it set the streets ablaze, on location, shot that video in front the cage. Tryna find my way through this fuckin’ maze.”
Nips popularity starts to grow through a series of dope mixtapes, very similar to Malcolm’s rise through the ranks of the Nation of Islam; it coincides with his teachings being more widely heard as NOI mosques grew throughout the country. Both men advocated creating black communal wealth. Nip built his own business empire that diversified his income streams & boosted his community economically.
Nip also used his personal wealth to build resources in his community outside of just businesses as well. Malcolm always advocated keeping black money black & often spoke about the importance of educating our own children. Both men loved reading. Both men decided to go at things their own way which landed each of them criticism but they stuck to their values. Malcolm was eventually suspended from the NOI because of his comments & opinions on sticking to his values and takes a pilgrimage to Mecca. While in Mecca, Malcolm undergoes another transformation. He writes:
“I remember one night at Muzdalifa with nothing but the sky overhead I lay awake amid sleeping Muslim brothers and I learned that pilgrims from every land–every color, and class, and rank; high officials and the beggar alike–all snored in the same language.”
Malcolm then changes his name to el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz, founds Muslim Mosques Inc and Organization of Afro-American Unity. Nip likewise went to Mother Africa twice, speaking about how both trips were so influential in his mental growth.
Nip & Malcolm were both hustlers and knew the power of empowering the hood. And because I had been a hustler, I knew better than all whites knew, and better than nearly all of the black ‘leaders’ knew, that actually the most dangerous black man in America was the ghetto hustler. Why do I say this?
The hustler, out there in the ghetto jungles, has less respect for the white power structure than any other Negro in North America. The ghetto hustler is internally restrained by nothing. He has no religion, no concept of morality, no civic responsibility, no fear–nothing. To survive, he is out there constantly preying upon others, probing for any human weakness like a ferret. The ghetto hustler is forever frustrated, restless, and anxious for some ‘action.’ Whatever he undertakes, he commits himself to it fully, absolutely.” And for this, both of these men upset the power structures set in place to continue the vehicle of white power.
This isn’t to say the government set up Nip the same way they did with Malcolm (don’t argue with me on this) but the symptoms of the white power structure embedded into the very fabric of America is what murdered Nip. Which is probably what makes Nips murder so much tougher to deal with, in my opinion.
Regardless of the music, the impact Nip had is real and tangible. Jobs created, children empowered & given opportunities, a sense of pride. Malcolm was our manhood. Our ‘living black manhood’ was how Ossie Davis describes Malcolm.
The other day I was reading a piece from a young director who said when she was in school, she had a job in another part of L.A and when someone found out she was from Crenshaw she felt embarrassed until Nip dropped the Crenshaw line.
She suddenly had pride in where she was from. I think Nip did that for more than just South Central LA. I think Nip did that for every person that has ever faced that adversity. Nip knew to come from the bottom meant the marathon must continue but that the laps are the most beautiful part.
“In fact, once he is motivated, no one can change more completely than the man who has been at the bottom. I call myself the best example of that.” – Malcolm X
Both Nip & Malcolm have inspired generations and will be remembered for much more than just music or preaching. They will be remembered for how they reached inside of us and tapped the deepest potential for ourselves to draw our strength to run another lap!
Wide Receivers Coach
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