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Tag Archives: Nipsey Hussle

Billie Eilish and Lizzo are competing for a string of the top prizes, but could the likes of Ariana Grande, Lana Del Rey and Rosala cause upsets?

Noise threatens to drown out the music at the 2020 Grammy awards. A line had been drawn under the tone-deaf leadership of Neil Portnow, who had presided over the ceremony since 2002 between 2013 and 2018, Grammy winners were 91% male, but, after a 2018 ceremony where men swept the board again, Portnow said it was on women to step up and create opportunities for themselves.

A woman, Deborah Dugan, replaced him; a taskforce was appointed, and in December they published their report, calling for greater diversity in the Academy voters. Any hopes that they had moved on, though, were scotched last week by Dugan being suspended for alleged misconduct; Dugan countered by saying she had been sexually harassed, that the Academy had covered up an alleged rape by Portnow, and that the voting was corrupt.

So we go into this years ceremony more jaded than ever, but the irony is that, no matter how poisonous the Academy is and regardless of whether it is rigged or not, we ended up with a much more diverse range of nominees this year. Leading the pack are Lizzo with eight noms and Billie Eilish and Lil Nas X with six each a vibrantly youthful and non-conformist trio. But will the Academy members shake off the past and vote for the future?

Record of the year

Bon Iver Hey, Ma
Billie Eilish Bad Guy
Ariana Grande 7 Rings
HER Hard Place
Khalid Talk
Lil Nas X ft Billy Ray Cyrus Old Town Road
Lizzo Truth Hurts
Post Malone & Swae Lee Sunflower

Aside from the merely pleasant HER and Khalid tracks, this is a strong field. While lots of eyes are on Lizzo and Eilish, this could perhaps be Ariana Grandes year. Its her first time with nominations in the big four categories rather than being patronised in the pop awards and, with its My Favourite Things melody, doddering Academy voters might listen to 7 Rings and say: Hey, its one I know! Triumphant earworm Old Town Road is the longest-running No 1 in US history; Bad Guy is a showcase of the kind of fiendish genius usually employed by Hollywood horror movies to construct elaborate ways for teenagers to get killed. But an Academy eager to telegraph its modernity might go for Lizzo: Truth Hurts is a great underdog story, reaching No 1 two years after release, and her charisma is near universally infectious.

Will win: Lizzo Truth Hurts
Should win: Billie Eilish Bad Guy

Album of the year

Bon Iver i, i
Lana Del Rey Norman Fucking Rockwell!
Billie Eilish When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
Ariana Grande Thank U, Next
HER I Used to Know Her
Lil Nas X 7
Lizzo Cuz I Love You (Deluxe)
Vampire Weekend Father of the Bride

This is Grandes best chance of a big win. Thank U, Next is a superbly realised almost-concept album about heartache, grief and moving on that can be witty, even caustic, but never cruel it sealed her as one of the three or four definitive pop stars of our time. Lizzo, HER and Lil Nas X are hampered with too much 6/10 material across their albums; Lana Del Rey was the critical hit of the year and will certainly beat out fellow Pitchfork darlings Bon Iver and Vampire Weekend, but may not cut through to the more august and mainstream Academy members. Eilish was the inescapable pop-cultural breakthrough of the year, and her album has such terrific range and invention. She will, hopefully, squeak this.

Will win: Billie Eilish
Should win: Billie Eilish

Song of the year

Lady Gaga Always Remember Us This Way
Billie Eilish Bad Guy
Tanya Tucker Bring My Flowers Now
HER Hard Place
Taylor Swift Lover
Lana Del Rey Norman Fucking Rockwell
Lewis Capaldi Someone You Loved
Lizzo Truth Hurts

Piano-driven ballads dominate the songwriting category, including Taylor Swifts only big nomination. Lover is such classic American songcraft, though Lewis Capaldis powerful Someone Like You is the best of these ballads and it would be a British win to remember. Eilish is streets ahead in terms of songwriting innovation and should win for that Duh! alone. But, while Truth Hurts most famous lyric (I just took a DNA test, turns out Im 100% that bitch) may have been plagiarised and its British author later added to the credits, Lizzo has this sewn up. The lyrics are hilarious, and it is a massively successful example of that new school of songwriting where a single melody is repeated over and over until the brainwashed public is involuntarily chanting it and then clawing hopelessly at their faces.

Will win: Lizzo Truth Hurts
Should win: Billie Eilish Bad Guy

New artist

Black Pumas
Billie Eilish
Lil Nas X
Maggie Rogers
Tank and the Bangas

Nice to see some country-soul curveballs here in the excellent Black Pumas and Yola, though the less said the better about the tune-free Tank and the Bangas at any rate, theyre all making up the numbers. Maggie Rogers didnt really break beyond her fanbase with her underrated debut album, and Im sure the Academy will see Lil Nas X merely as a two-hit wonder. Lizzos debut album came out in 2013, whereas Eilish has only just turned 18 and feels like the rightful owner of this award. But you can bet than every Latinx voter is going to be going for the astoundingly talented Rosala, who won big at the Latin Grammys and could cause an upset here.

Will win: Billie Eilish
Should win: Billie Eilish

Pop solo performance

Beyonc Spirit
Billie Eilish Bad Guy
Ariana Grande 7 Rings
Lizzo Truth Hurts
Taylor Swift You Need to Calm Down

Just as performances where you cry, shout and climb inside the carcass of a bear win you Oscars, the leading pop award rather behoves you to give it some welly not for nothing has Adele won it three times. Eilish and Grandes variously murmured and chatted performances will appear to the Academy like weirdo arthouse choices here, and even Swift is in a relatively conversational mode. Beyoncs ponderous Spirit was the lame old wildebeest eaten by the younger jackals on the Lion King soundtrack, so this is Lizzos to lose.

Will win: Lizzo
Should win: Billie Eilish

Rock performance

Bones UK Pretty Waste
Gary Clark Jr This Land
Brittany Howard History Repeats
Karen O & Danger Mouse Woman
Rival Sons Too Bad

Anyone looking for evidence of backroom dealing in the Academy might well make Bones UK their exhibit A: Pretty Waste is the kind of creative vacuum beloved only of nihilistically cocaine-addicted LA music industry execs looking for something to soundtrack rock bottom. The rest is pretty good. Rival Sons riffs and hollering make them the most tangibly rock thing here Karen O essays 60s pop, and Brittany Howards History Repeats is a kind of bluesy funk tune, but with mainstream rock stranded out on a sandbar while rappers and pop stars taunt it on jetskis, they need to blur the genre lines. Gary Clark Jr could edge this with his politically charged This Land, half-rapped over a heavily skanking backing.

Will win: Gary Clark Jr
Should win: Rival Sons

Rap performance

J Cole Middle Child
DaBaby Suge
Dreamville feat JID, Bas, J Cole, Earthgang & Young Nudy Down Bad
Nipsey Hussle feat Roddy Ricch & Hit-Boy Racks in the Middle
Offset feat Cardi B Clout

Many voters hearts will go with Nipsey Hussle, whose murder last year robbed the world of a skilful, soulful MC who united backpacker hip-hoppers and mainstream rap fans. Racks in the Middle also features Roddy Rich, who has broken through spectacularly over the last year. But the track pales next to two others here: DaBabys Suge is a slowly prowling piece of minimalism that makes Offset sound fussily overworked in comparison; its ridiculous that DaBaby isnt up for best new artist. He is rather damaged goods after a series of run-ins with the law, however. That could hand Middle Child the win, on which J Cole raps as if hes high-stepping across the surface of a lake, his triplet time full of balletic grace.

Will win: J Cole
Should win: DaBaby

Country solo performance

Tyler Childers All Yourn
Ashley McBryde Girl Goin Nowhere
Willie Nelson Ride Me Back Home
Blake Shelton Gods Country
Tanya Tucker Bring My Flowers Now

If you scoff at country, youll probably always scoff at country, but this spread of songs shows off the admirable breadth of the genre and may pique your interest yet. Willie Nelsons song is a bit something-and-nothing; Tanya Tuckers Bring My Flowers Now is nominated in the song of the year category, and its live-for-today message and simple piano backing will appeal across the Academy, but its rather workmanlike. Ashley McBryde outdoes her in the ballad stakes, but its Tyler Childers and Blake Shelton both strongly channelling the gospel and soul music that not so secretly underpins country who are the strongest here. Childers song would make for a classy first wedding dance, while Sheltons stirring ode to proud Christian labour, while deeply unfashionable, will have you gazing soulfully across a cornfield.

Will win: Tanya Tucker
Should win: Tyler Childers

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Friends, family and fans gather in Los Angeles as blogger reads letter from Barack Obama to crowd

Nipsey Hussles legacy as a persistent rapper, community activist, uniter, a doting father, a protective sibling and a loving son were underscored at his public memorial service on Thursday, with deeply personal testimonies from those closest to the rapper, including his fiancee, Lauren London; collaborator and dear friend Snoop Dogg; and his mother, who said she was at peace with the death of her superhero son.

Beyonce and Jay-Z were among the celebrities who attended the three-hour event in Los Angeles at the Staples Center, where the last celebrity funeral held at the concert arena was Michael Jacksons in 2009.

The arena was packed with more than 21,000 fans and drove home the important impact Hussle, who was just 33 when he died, had on his city and the rest of the world.

My son Ermias Joseph Asghedom was a great man, said Angelique Smith, dressed in all white. Standing onstage with Hussles father, Dawit Asghedom, she declared: Ermias was a legacy.

London, in dark sunglasses, was emotional but stood strong onstage as she told the audience: Ive never felt this type of pain before.

London called Hussle majestic and brilliant and said she had learned so much from his presence. She added though she was hurting, she was really sad for their son, Kross, whom she feared wouldnt remember his dad: My pain is for my two-year-old.

A blogger, Karen Civil, read a letter from Barack Obama. Ive never met Nipsey, but Ive heard his music through my daughters, and after his passing I had the chance to learn more about his transformation and his community work, the former president wrote. While most folks look at the Crenshaw neighborhood where he grew up and only see gangs, bullets and despair, Nipsey saw potential. He saw hope.

Snoop Doggs words to immortalize his friend were both serious and silly, as he told old stories about Hussle and their brotherhood. This a tough one right here, he said.

Hussles father said he knew his son was strong because when he was born, the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck but he prevailed. He was a fighter, he said.

Stevie Wonder was the last performer to pay tribute to Hussle, who he said he had the chance to meet. Before he sang his song Rocket Song, one of Hussles favorites, Wonder denounced gun violence and told the audience: Theres enough people being killed by guns and violence.

A DJ called the event a celebration, and indeed, Hussles mother danced in the aisle in tribute to her son as the R&B singer Marsha Ambrosius sang the Mariah Carey song Fly Like a Bird while fighting back tears.

A montage of photos featuring the rapper from infancy, childhood and adulthood, with fellow rappers, his family and his fiancee, the actor Lauren London, were shown to the crowd, set to Frank Sinatras song My Way. Singer Anthony Hamilton invoked the spirit of a church service as he performed in Hussles honor. The Nation of Islam leader, Louis Farrakhan, hailed Hussles ability to bring different factions together.

A fan holds a sign up along the procession route for Nipsey Hussle following his memorial at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on 11 April. Photograph: Kyle Grillot/AFP/Getty Images

People from Eritrea attend the memorial for slain rapper Nipsey Hussle, an Eritrean American, on 11 April. Photograph: David McNew/Getty Images

A sign outside the Staples Center bears the image of Nipsey Hussle, whose real name was Ermias Asghedom. Photograph: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

A makeshift memorial is filled with candles for Nipsey Hussle outside his Marathon clothing store in Los Angeles. Photograph: Jae C Hong/AP

Hussle was killed last month at age 33 in front of a store that he tried to use to empower his south central Los Angeles neighborhood. Most who filed in for the public memorial at the arena Thursday were young adults, but ages ranged from small children to the elderly.

Were here for a great man. Were all here for big Nip. It wasnt his time, said Wutup Levy, 27, of Long Beach, California.

Daren B Harris waited outside the arena before the doors opened with his grandmother and other family members, who wore black T-shirts with Hussles face on them. Harris said he grew up listening to the rappers music and followed his journey to improve his community.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing, said Harris, 23, who lives in South Los Angeles. He was a treasure.

Harris grandmother, Reba Johnson, said she couldnt miss the occasion to celebrate Hussles life. He was bigger than his music, she said.

A fan at the memorial service wears a shirt with an image of Nipsey Hussle. Photograph: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

A fan wears shoes in tribute to Nipsey Hussle at the late rappers memorial service. Photograph: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Books with an image of Hussle on the cover were handed out to service attendees. The book of nearly 100 pages contained numerous photos of Hussle with London, his children, and friends such as Russell Westbrook and Snoop Dogg. It also had heartfelt messages from Rick Ross, the Game and LeBron James.

Ive never cried myself to sleep over any public figure before, but Nipseys presence meant so much for our community, the actor Issa Rae said in her message inside the book.

The hearse carrying Hussles coffin was scheduled after the funeral to go on a 25-mile lap through the city, including past the strip mall where his The Marathon clothing store is located. Finally, it will arrive at a funeral home in the citys Crenshaw district, where the rapper was born on 15 August 1985.

Fans wait for the funeral procession following a memorial for Nipsey Hussle along Slauson Avenue in Los Angeles on 11 April. Photograph: Patrick T Fallon/Reuters

Masons attend the memorial for Nipsey Hussle in Los Angeles. Photograph: David McNew/Getty Images

Eric R Holder Jr, who has been charged with killing Hussle, has pleaded not guilty. Police have said Holder and Hussle had several interactions the day of the shooting and have described it as being the result of a personal dispute.

Hussle, whose real name was Ermias Asghedom, was an Eritrean American father of two. He was a beloved figure for his philanthropic work that went well beyond the usual celebrity giving back ethos.

Following his death, political and community leaders were as quick and effusive in their praise as were his fellow hip-hop artists.

Hussle recently purchased the aging strip mall where The Marathon is located and planned to redevelop it into new businesses and affordable housing, part of Hussles broader ambitions to remake the neighborhood where he grew up and attempt to break the cycle of gang life that lured him in when he was younger.

For a decade, Hussle released much sought-after mixtapes that he sold out of the trunk of his car, helping him create a buzz and gain respect from rap purists and his peers. His said his stage name, a play on the 1960s and 70s rhyming standup comic Nipsey Russell, was given to him as a teen by an older friend because he was such a go-getter, always hustling.

He received a boost when Jay-Z bought 100 copies of his 2013 mixtape Crenshaw for $10,000.

Last year, he hit new heights with Victory Lap, his critically acclaimed major-label debut album on Atlantic Records that made several critics best-of lists. The album debuted at No 4 on Billboards 200 albums charts and features collaborations with Kendrick Lamar and Cee-Lo Green.

On Thursday, his family and friends vowed to continue his work, and London told the crowd: The marathon continues!

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Police believe Eric Holder, 29, fatally shot the rapper over a personal dispute on Sunday

Authorities in Los Angeles have detained a suspect in the shooting death of the rapper Nipsey Hussle.

The Los Angeles police department said on Tuesday it had detained Eric Holder, the 29-year-old suspected of shooting Hussle on Sunday, in Bellflower, a city about 20 miles south-east.

Hussle, 33, whose real name is Ermias Asghedom, was shot multiple times in Los Angeles on Sunday afternoon and rushed to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. A coroner determined the artist had died of gunshot wounds to the head and torso.

Holder had argued several times Sunday with Hussle while standing outside the rappers South Los Angeles clothing store and later returned with a handgun and opened fire, the Los Angeles police chief, Michel Moore, said in a press conference on Tuesday.

The chief did not reveal how the two men were acquainted or offer any details about their dispute, but he said the disagreement between the two men was personal and did not involve gang activity.

At the same news conference, the Los Angeles mayor, Eric Garcetti, announced plans to deploy new resources to try to roll back the violence. Hussles killing came amid a spike in gun violence in the area.

The police chief and the president of the citys police commission had been scheduled to meet with Hussle on Monday to discuss the relationship between the police force and the inner city.

Both Moore and the police commission president, Steve Soboroff, said they were devastated when they learned Hussle had been killed on the eve of their talk.

An emotional Soboroff read from the email Hussle sent asking for the meeting.

Our goal is to work with the department to help improve communication, relationships and work towards changing the culture and dialogue between LAPD and your city, the email said.

Tuesdays arrest follows a tense scene during an impromptu memorial on Monday night in the parking lot where Hussle was shot.

A man brandishing a gun caused a panicked stampede. At least 19 people were injured in the chaos, including two people who were taken to hospitals in critical condition, police said.

Its been a tough few days for Los Angeles, Garcetti said. Nipsey Hussle was an artist who touched our city and lives.

Hussle grew up in South Los Angeles and was a member of a street gang during his teenage years.

But he had since become a community organizer. He had recently purchased the strip mall where the shop is located and planned to redevelop it into a mixed-use commercial and residential complex.

The plan was part of Hussles broader ambitions to remake the neighborhood where he grew up and attempt to break the cycle of gang life that had lured him in when he was younger.

The rapper sold demos for just a few dollars in those streets before becoming an underground phenomenon for a decade with his much-sought-after mixtapes. Last year he had a mainstream breakthrough with his album Victory Lap, a major label debut that got him a Grammy nomination.


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