“But I do look toward other people I identify as heroes; maybe role model is a more appropriate label for them, because I understand that while I must do all that I can, on my own terms, to get from point A to B, in this world, there are those people who’ve done it before me, who did it better, who are still doing it.” – Common – “Let Love Have the Last Word”
Role models walk with us in various settings, unraveling truth and clearing up fog. We find our identity through their existence, thus, bringing clarity in the midst of a purposeful search. Throughout my adolescence, I was a lost boy. The feeling of wanting to be great but not knowing where to apply the ambition, created frustration.
My radical aspirations have left me feeling lost in equations that I thought I’d never solve. Staying power is on my side, partnered with patience to endure any given process. However, lacking guidance, at times, this road appeared bleak. Life houses the most students, but I had the advantage of living under my stepfather’s roof, where I grasped responsibility, accountability, character and set fire to my foundation. My stepdad’s household is where life’s lessons met serendipity. My stepbrother was the pivotal factor for coupling potential with who I was at the time. My foundation embodied introspection, ambition and the need to be the best version of myself; all I needed was some guidance to evince said foundational characteristics.
“And if you pattern my trend, I make you my protege” – Nipsey Hussle – “Hussle & Motivate”
Sitting front row, watching your idol kick game and show you another perspective is a privilege. Having the game shown and told is not a guarantee. I was quiet by nature during adolescence, but it was with inten on soaking up as much knowledge as possible from my teachers — my stepbrother and many other idols that were pages in my life and not chapters. I immersed myself into his world in order to create my own. The way he talked, the way he dressed, his mannerisms, his work ethic, charisma; I wanted to be just like him. He called me his protégé and I wanted to make him proud of my efforts. Over the course of 6-7 years, I would be his protege
The late (still hard to believe and accept) Nipsey Hussle had an intimate experience of hustling, as shown by way of his brother, Blacc Sam. Sam showed Nipsey the lake, taught him how to fish, then Nipsey proceeded to learn how to catch as many fish as possible. Nipsey continued the refined structure of a blueprint in order to help others.
“My big brother: that’s my biggest inspiration. I grew up under a hustler. So I ain’t really have no choice. I used to want to go play and my brother would make me stay down and keep grinding, as a kid. Whether it was cutting grass, watering grass, raking leaves, whatever we was doing. Nipsey said during an interview with DTLR VILLA. “He was also someone who was saving money. He always understood saving, early. When I was trying to spend mine on cds and The Source magazine, he saved $1000 when I was like seven. I thought that was incredible. He was like 9 or 10 and had a stack. I thought he was rich.”
Samiel Asghedom’s (better known to the world as Blacc Sam) influence shifted Nipsey’s relationship with money. Liabilities began taking a backseat early on, as he worked to obtain and maintain assets
My brother’s qualities resonated with me. My drive for life was (still is) high. I craved direction. There were times I exceeded his expectations and he emulated me; that lit a match under my ass and inspired me in a way I couldn’t fathom without him. The roles can reverse and the teacher can receive a lesson. It’s one of the highest forms of flattery when you impress the person you epitomize.
“Go farther, go further, go harder. Is that not why we came? And if not, then why bother?” – Jay Z – “Mr. Carter”
On April. 11, 2019, Nipsey Hussle — the late and great — was laid to rest. During his homegoing service, in front of a sold-out Staples Center in Los Angeles, Blacc Sam took to the stage — broken but not unfixable — down, but knowing the marathon must continue. He spoke on Nipsey’s character and Hussle’s hustle.
“We had a little crew on 60th street and we would try to hustle up money. Water lawns, shovel the neighbor’s dog shit in the back, wash cars, for whatever we could get. We would work hard all day and it would seem like Nip would put in ten minutes and come back with 2-$300 and we couldn’t believe the shit.”
Sam led Nipsey to the lake and taught him how to fish; he demonstrated how to catch as many fish as you could. Sam’s blueprint was executed and Nipsey took it further. The cycle continues as many emulate the blueprint Nipsey left.
In a statement regarding His brother and the Nipsey Hussle Tower, Sam said, “Nipsey knew what he was here to do. His purpose was to inspire those who had no inspiration.”
Role models bridge the gap between the foreseeable and the ability to actually see it through. My brother preached “No Struggle, No Progress.” It’s a motto I keep with me to this day. Learning the struggles of your role model is just as important as learning the success. Blacc Sam buried a quarter of a million dollars in their mother’s backyard.
“Blacc Sam would tell me ‘poke your chest out, ni**a” – Nipsey Hussle – “I Don’t Stress”
Due to mold, they lost a lot, but gained more over time. The struggle before the progress. Although the chapter of having step-relatives is behind me, the blueprint is in my formula.
I studied nearly everything my brother did. I never thought about it at the time, but my younger stepbrother watched my moves. It’s the domino effect. I went from wanting to show my brother how physically and mentally sharp I improved since he last left for his college semester, to wanting to prove it to myself and be an example to others.
Sam’s early demonstrations of money management, character, perseverance, and endurance, helped Nipsey bring the message to a larger magnitude — one for the masses — a message we could all follow.
Nipsey would’ve turned 34 this year. Despite having his life shortened, the marathon is still one of length, as he’s inspired a mass amount of people — and so — we continue.