Nipsey Hussle Grammy’s Tribute: John Legend, Meek Mill & More Honor Late Rapper & Activist

There wasn't a dry eye in the house following an uplifting and moving Grammys tribute to murdered rapper and activist Nipsey Hussle. It also paid homage to Kobe Bryant following his sudden death in a helicopter crash.

Nipsey Hussle Tribute
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Image Credit: Rex/Shutterstock

A bevy of talent gathered for a memorable Grammys tribute to the late Nipsey Hussle. The 33-year-old rapper, entrepreneur and activist was tragically gunned down in front of his clothing store in LA’s Crenshaw District on March 21, 2019. Gospel star Kirk Franklin, record producer and hype master DJ Khaled, crooner John Legend, and rappers Meek Mill, Roddy Ricch and YG took the stage to honor Nipsey through music at the Jan. 26, 2020 ceremony at LA’s Staples Center.

Meek kicked things off with a rap he wrote in Nipsey’s honor. Then the performance centered around DJ Khaled’s “Higher” that originally featured Nipsey and John Legend. The song is so uplifting, and John sang the heck out of it from behind his piano. Enter Roddy and YG with some rhymes. Then Kirk and a gospel choir joined in to close out the song. The men gave it their all while performing, minus their lost friend and collaborator. Nispey Hussle did win a posthumous Grammy, as his song “Racks in the Middle” took home best rap performance. Later in the evening, “Higher” won Best Rap/Sung performance.

The performance came just hours after Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna “Gigi” were killed in a helicopter crash in nearby Calabasas around 10am local time. The artists made sure to pay homage to the NBA icon, who called Staples Center his home court for nearly two decades and bought Los Angeles five NBA championships. “Rest in peace Nipsey Hussle. Rest in peace Kobe Bryant, Gianna. Long live Nip. Long live Kobe,” Khaled shouted at the end of the performance, as both men’s faces were shown on a giant screen behind him.

Nipsey was standing outside his Marathon clothing store, when a man came around the corner and opened fire on him. LA County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Eric Holder, 29, on April 2, 2019, and he was was charged with Nipsey’s murder. LAPD officials said Eric confronted Nipsey several times on the day of his killing, having conversations regarding personal dispute. He later returned with a gun and shot the beloved music artist. Nipsey — real name Ermias Joseph Asghedom — left behind partner Lauren London, 35, and their two children, daughter Emani, 11, and son Kross, 3.

Nipsey’s senseless murder completely shocked the community, as well as the music world. Even former President Barack Obama, 58, released a statement that read, “While most folks look at the Crenshaw neighborhood where he grew up and see only gangs, bullets, and despair, Nipsey saw potential.” His April 11 memorial had so many attendees, it was held at LA’s Staples Center. Snoop Dogg and Big Boi spoke at the event, while Stevie Wonder performed.

An activist, entrepreneur and rapper, Nipsey Hussle had a lasting impact on not just his community, but also the culture at large,” Ken Ehrlich, Grammy Awards executive producer, said in a Jan. 21 announcement. “There is no denying the influence he had and his legacy will be felt for generations to come. We are honored to bring together this amazing group of artists to celebrate Nipsey’s life and pay tribute to his many contributions to music”


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