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‘Rap Niggas’ by ‘Nipsey Hussle’ Explained

Released: 2018

“Rap Niggas” by Nipsey Hussle is a potent, forceful track that explores the artist’s stance on authenticity, his personal journey, and his sharp contrast with other rappers he perceives as being more style than substance. Here, Nipsey seeks to shatter the glamorized perceptions often associated with hip-hop lifestyle and bring the focus back to the hustle, the grind, the trajectory of true success.

Throughout the song, Nipsey repeatedly affirms, “I ain’t nothing like you fucking rap niggas.” This serves as a bold proclamation of his originality and authenticity, distinguishing himself from rappers who he feels are not genuine or real. His use of the term “Hussle man a shooter, that’s a fact, nigga” isn’t necessarily a literal reference to violence, but a metaphor expressing his resilience, determination and dynamism in tackling life’s challenges and the music industry alike.

When Nipsey states, “Thirty-two extendos in my mac, nigga. Spend a thousand on some t-shirts up at Saks, nigga”, he’s essentially sharing snippets of his lifestyle that include both grit (a mac refers to Mac-10, a type of gun) and glamour (Saks is a high-end retail store). However, Nipsey doesn’t glorify these aspects; instead, he lays them out as parts of a larger narrative that includes struggle, survival, and eventually, success.

The repeated line “I own all the rights to all my raps, nigga” underscores Nipsey’s commitment to business savvy and maintaining control over his creative output, a stark contrast to many artists who relinquish publishing rights and end up financially exploited. His ownership mentality extends to his lifestyle, as he references investment moves with phrases like “Open trust accounts deposit racks, nigga” and “Million dollar life insurance on my flesh, nigga.”

“German plates with sheepskin on my mats, nigga” and “Beamer’s, Benz, Bentley’s or a Lex, nigga” signify material success and affluence earned, not through flash-in-the-pan hits, but persistent hustle. The vehicles constitute the rewards of hard-fought success. When Nipsey says, “We the No Limit of the West, nigga”, he’s comparing his entrepreneurial spirit and independent ethos to that of Master P’s No Limit Records, a pioneering label known for its financial and creative sovereignty.

In summary, “Rap Niggas” serves as Nipsey Hussle’s manifesto, a declarative statement about his uncommon path to success, his insistence on authenticity, and a stark contrast drawn between his ethos and that of other rappers. It’s as much an autobiography as it is a critique, a narrative painted in bold strokes by a man whose journey from the streets to stardom was punctuated by resilience, entrepreneurship, and an unwavering commitment to authenticity.

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