"Hottest Breakthrough MC of 2010" Candidate: Nipsey Hussle
Yeah, he's living up to his name. Nipsey Hussle is hustling, building his brand across the board. He has a deal for his own shoe with Pony, just finished a film with Vivica A. Fox and another one with Ving Rhames, he opened a clothing store in his native Los Angeles, appears on the new "Def Jam Rapstar" video game, has a tour coming and still has more mixtapes and a debut album on deck for October.
"My album, it ain't got no wrinkles in it," Nip said recently in New York about his debut, South Central State of Mind. "From the sonic quality of it, every verse, every hook, to the features, to the production. Ain't no excuses for the album."
Nipsey's candidacy for "Hottest Breakthrough MC of 2010" comes from his grind in the streets. Last year, he dropped a trilogy of mixtapes called Bullets Ain't Got No Names, which introduced him and immediately captivated fans. His work in the 'hood garnered him co-signs by the likes of Snoop Dogg and the Game, both of whom he toured with. Drake also appeared on the potent Hussle underground smash "Killer." The momentum has made Nip one of the leaders of the new wave of West Coast MCs, also including Fashawn and Jay Rock.
"Nipsey, he brings the real to the table," said Rock, who will be teaming up with Nip for a duet mixtape called Red and Blue Make Green. "He brings that struggle. He's telling you his story. Nipsey is bringing a story as a whole package, as well as he's bringing real music. Reality rap."
"You gonna be hard-pressed to come to L.A. and not hear a car playing Jay Rock music, playing Nipsey Hussle right now," Nip said. "It's gonna be almost impossible. They say it starts in your backyard. I feel we putting forth that legwork. We really took our city without the traditional outlet, the Dr. Dre, the Snoop Dogg, the Death Row. That's not to take anything from them, but we wasn't really waiting. We kinda like stood on our own foundation of hard work. That's the brand that the new breed of West Coast artists gonna bring to the table. Self-made. Off the top!"
Besides the authenticity of his music, Nip's appeal lies in his laid-back delivery. You look at him or hear his music and you see your homie from around the way.
Nip knows that all the love in the streets is eventually going to have to translate in his official releases. He just dropped the single "Feelin' Myself (I'm So Fresh)" with Lloyd and has South Central State of Mind in cook-up mode right now. J.R. Rotem, Scott Storch, Houston's Mr. Lee, Grammy winners Play-N-Skillz, Terrence Martin and Nip's live band, 1500 or Nothin', produced on the album thus far. Trey Songz and Sean Kingston are among the guest performers.
"Regardless of people's opinion about it, the dominant culture in L.A. is gang-banging," Nipsey, a Crip, said about "Blue Laces," a song from his LP. "Us being young dudes in our 20s, we not the cause of that. We was born into this culture. We reacted to it from the perspective of survival. I feel like that record, 'Blue Laces,' speaks on the realness of that culture. We not the cause of this. This is what led us into that mentality."
Nip said South Central State of Mind speaks to young Angelinos.
"I'm kinda revolving around that concept on a lot of records on that album," he said. "On the state of mind in growing up in L.A. Whether you from Compton, Watts, Long Beach, the east side, west side, it's a state of mind that's way more powerful than an individual. I might feel a certain way personally, but this is what it is.
"I might feel like one of my dudes is a Blood, one of my dudes is from Hoover. So me, personally, this is my homeboy and I got love for him," he added. "But I'm from the 60s, and it's a politic that goes with that. I just feel like I revolved around that concept, the cause of this mind state. I want to impact the culture with the project and raise the consciousness of the people that's being affected by this. And bring a human element to what this is about and stop people from looking at us like we just mindless killers and we glorifying this type of life. We really striving for change from within. We ain't gonna go Hollywood with it and get a record deal and start blasting where we come from, but at the same time, we do wanna see change. It's a lot of general concepts that revolve around that theme."
Nipsey and 19 other up-and-coming MCs are in the running to become MTV News' "Hottest Breakthrough MC of 2010" — and the winner will be decided by you!
Cast your vote for the "Hottest Breakthrough MC of 2010" right here. The top five will be revealed beginning July 19, and the winner will be announced on the "Sucker Free Summit" July 25!