Ian Lufitha's album: Victory Lap.
Victory Lap is the culmination of years of hard work, trials and tribulation for Nipsey Hussle. This album is a magnificent story of triumph, from street hustler to respected artist and businessman. His first and only studio album took years to make which is a demonstration of his life mantra “The Marathon Continues”. The album talks about his tough upbringing in South Central LA and how he moved past gang life to become one of the most influential members of his community.
“Everybody got bullet wounds and felonies and strikes. So to make it out mentally stable and not in prison and not on drugs, that's a win. That's a victory in itself. Then to be in the position I find myself in as an artist and entrepreneur who has respect around the world — that's legendary. And I say it in the most humble way.”
His goal was to let the music speak for itself. He’s a great storyteller, with honest accounts of different life situation arranged throughout the project. Nipsey explained how writing less and freestyling more of his verses allowed his words to be more genuine and raw. My favorite comes in verse 3 on Blue Laces 2.
I flashback on that shootout at the beach, twenty deep
You tried to squeeze, your gun jammed and they released
The bitch started to panic so I made her switch seats
Drivin' now, police chopper ahead flyin' now
Really not too spooked, calmly asked me, "Am I dyin' now?"
All I know is keep you calm and collected
Crackin' jokes like, "Nigga, now you gon' be finally respected"
See your blood leakin', got my foot on this gas
Tossed the .40, we pulled up to Daniel Free and see CRASH
You know the alibi, they started shootin', we was standin' by
Ain't see nothing but the flare from the talons fly
"I wasn't there, I was passin' by"
Matter fact, don't say shit, I'm just gon' drop you in the back and slide
That's yo weed, all the cash is mine
I'll take 'em both to the spot plus your phone 'til you back online
He took great pride in being himself and staying true to what he believed in and recommended others to do the same. The honesty and authenticity are felt with every bar, creating vivid pictures in the mind of the listener. Whether you’ve experienced similar circumstances or not, great storytellers make you feel as if you were there with them as stories unfolded.
Nipsey described this project as a blueprint for younger generations to follow. What Victory Lap is for me, is what Reasonable Doubt or 2Pacalypse was for him. I draw many inspirations from the content of his songs, from growing up as a young black male, overcoming hardships, and becoming a savvy businessman. He never let his circumstances dictate his direction in life and didn’t allow stereotypes to define who he was. This is why I and many others consider him as a mentor and a legend. I never got the chance to meet him personally, but I’ve become attached to his words.
“I understand art reflecting life, but we grew up on art instructing life, with love and from a position of: I been there young bro and I know it's hard on you but I did it like this; here's the bread crumbs. After a while, I felt like it was almost a responsibility for me to give the game up [on record]. I look at it like a blueprint.”
Due to his untimely death, hip-hop fans will never get the sequel to Victory Lap. However, what he has left for us in terms of music and community projects is enough for fans to pick up from where he left off. Strive to become the best versions of ourselves and give back to our community.
Favorite Track: Million While You Young (ft.The-Dream)
Favorite Line: “Now hope the example I set’s not contagious” from Dedication (ft. Kendrick Lamar)
RIP Nipsey Hussle!
Written by Ian Lufitha