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Who was Nipsey Hussle? 5 things to know about the rapper

Nipsey Hussle, who was shot dead in Los Angeles on Sunday, was a Grammy-nominated rapper, community activist and father of two.
/ Source: TODAY

Tributes from fans, artists, politicians and athletes have poured in for rapper Nipsey Hussle since his death at 33 on Sunday after being gunned down in front of the clothing store he founded in Los Angeles.

The hip-hop world is mourning his loss, while police continue to search for the shooter.

Luminaries like John Legend and Pharrell Williams paid tribute to him on Sunday after hearing the tragic news.

Who was Nipsey Hussle? Here are five facts about the rapper

  • 1. He was an Eritrean-American whose real name was Ermias Asghedom.

His father was born in Eritrea, and his mother is American. He made his first trip to Eritrea to visit family for three months in 2004, according to a 2010 interview with Complex magazine.

  • 2. He was a Grammy nominee.

After years of releasing mixtapes, Hussle put together his first studio album, "Victory Lap," which was released in February 2018 and earned him a nomination at this year's Grammy Awards for best rap album.

Hussle grew up in the Crenshaw District of Los Angeles and initially rose to prominence in the mid-2000s on the strength of his "Bullets Ain't Got No Name" series of mixtapes. He also collaborated with top artists like Drake, Kendrick Lamar and Snoop Dogg.

  • 3. He was involved in community development.

Hussle and his brother founded The Marathon Clothing in 2017 on West Slauson Avenue in south Los Angeles, where he was working when he was killed on Sunday.

He was part of a group who created Destination Crenshaw, a museum honoring artistic achievements by African-Americans. Hussle also invested in a coworking space in South Central Los Angeles called Vector90, which provided a place for youth to take classes in science, technology and mathematics.

"In our culture, there's a narrative that says, 'Follow the athletes, follow the entertainers,''' he told the Los Angeles Times last year. "That's cool, but there should be something that says, 'Follow Elon Musk, follow (Mark) Zuckerberg. ... Coming from the inner city, it makes sense for me to be one of the people that's waving that flag."

Local politicians like Mayor Eric Garcetti and congresswoman Karen Bass mourned his loss on Sunday.

  • 4. He was a father of two children.

Hussle is survived by a daughter named Emani Asghedom from a previous relationship, whom he took as his date to this year's Grammy Awards.

He is also survived by a 2-year-old son, Kross Asghedom, with his girlfriend of five years, actress Lauren London. Hussle and London told GQ they first met when she came into his clothing store.

  • 5. He had publicly acknowledged his association with the Rollin 60s Neighborhood Crips.

The Rollin 60s are one of the largest street gangs in Los Angeles. He acknowledged his association with them in a 2010 interview with Complex magazine.

"Having strong enemies is a blessing," he wrote in his final tweet on Sunday, shortly before his death.