Nipsey Hussle has been releasing mixtapes since 2005, but has yet to drop a full-length. He’s been on the trajectory we fear Gunplay will follow for nearly a decade. His first studio album, iHussle (ick), is due out soon, but one was also due out nearly five years ago when he signed with Epic (it's never been heard). We’re also supposed to hear a collaborative mixtape with fellow Californian YG this year. Nipsey shows up on MMG tapes and you wonder “Who’s this guy?” or “What’s he been up to?” It’s a shame Rozay hasn’t been able to help him out more.
This small hook-less loosie (made for the benefit of his Twitter followers) finds the rapper monologuing in his Meek Mill-meets-Jim Jones patter with the kind of confidence that comes from years of pounding out rap verses quickly, not from commercial success. He operates on the fringes of the game, and interacts similarly with the beat on “Smoking With my Stylist.” He’s bragging, but you can hear a healthy bit of bitterness shining through his self-aggrandizing. He mixes oblique pronouncements (“Destined as I seem to you, I know what I made to you/Martin Luther king junior, hustle, let me dream through you”) with more generic boasts (“Now I keep them links Cuban, money talks, I speak fluent/Everybody buying Rollies, you can ask my team’s children), and it’s all done over something that sounds like the Clams Clasino beat for Lil B’s “I’m God” with the reverb dialed down. If this is the caliber of stuff we can expect from Nipsey in the near future, then maybe 2013 will finally be his watershed year.