Nipsey Hussle left his mark on everyone who loved his music, especially those who were fortunate enough to know him. Among those people who fondly remember their exchanges with the late rapper is Steve Stoute.
The industry veteran delved into stories about his decadeslong career and the state of hip hop in an in-depth interview for the “Rap Radar” podcast. He also revealed some of his final text exchanges with Hussle. “He [was] very special, you know? Very unfortunate circumstances,” began Stoute as he acknowledged the rapper’s tragic passing. The Crenshaw legend was brazenly gunned down on March 31, 2019, while in front of his landmark retail business, The Marathon Clothing Store. He was 33 years old.
The record executive fondly remembered Hussle for being front and center at UnitedMasters SelectCon conferences, steadily looking to deepen his understanding of the music industry and sharpen his vision for his career. Prior to his untimely demise, the rapper released multiple mixtapes and was enjoying the acclaim for his album, Victory Lap, which was released in February 2018.
“He was so keen on understanding; that was his whole thing — knowledge of everything,” said Stoute before allowing host Brian “B.Dot” Miller to read his final text from Hussle. The messages were sent on March 26, 2019, and centered around questions about the rapper’s sophomore album. “When y’all made It Was Written, do you feel like y’all did anything wrong?” asked Hussle about Nas’ second studio album, released in 1996. During that time, Stoute was the Queens, New York lyricist’s manager.
Stoute responded that Hussle was crazy smart for asking that question. He would reveal that the biggest mistake was rushing to procure Dr. Dre to produce “Nas Is Coming.” He explained that it was the legendary producer’s first production after leaving Death Row Records. The executive then said the smartest thing they did was capitalize on Nas’ credibility to secure Lauryn Hill on the “If I Ruled the World (Imagine That)” hit, which deeply resonated with Hussle.
The “Double Up” entertainer responded, “‘If I Ruled the World’ was undeniable. I was 11 or 12, and I remember being blown away, and we was on some ‘West Coast only’ s**t back then. That song was the only voice other than Pac that spoke to us as young kids from [the] street on that level.” Stoute said the remainder of the message was personal but that the portion he shared reaffirms the Los Angeles icon’s legacy.
Watch the full interview below.
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