The term “It’s been a long time coming” might be the biggest understatement in hip-hop history when it comes to Nipsey Hussle’s debut album. His name has been relevant in rap circles for years now, and to think that today, 2/16/2018, we finally get a chance to hear his first studio album is preposterous! With that being said, I anticipate Nipsey giving us something great here since he had us waiting for so long. (P.S, Nipsey is more than capable of making something great)
5. HUSSLE & MOTIVATED
I don’t care how ya’ll feel about my top 5, especially if you disagree with this entry!
I love when rappers step outside of their comfort zone a little, and I feel Nipsey does just that on “Hussle & Motivate.”
Over this slow paced instrumental — that actually incorporates elements of Hov’s “Hard Knock Life” beat in it — Nipsey attempts to rap regular-degular, and as a result, his bars poke out even more. Content-wise, Nipsey talks about everything from hustling to dodging enemies, sweating neither.
Anyone else take notes while listening to this song?
4. MILLIONS WHILE YOU YOUNG
For majority of this album, you get explosive music from Nipsey, which makes “Millions While You Young” such a refreshing change of pace. On it, Nipsey talks directly to the hustlers of his city, giving them the ins-and-outs of becoming a success story. I love how the track feels like an interview — one in which Nipsey initially laughs at us, but is ultimately willing to help us out with a little advice.
The-Dream shows up at the end of the track, adding this spiritual piece to the song. The-Dream hasn’t been doing much on his features these days.
This will probably end up as my favorite song on the album.
3. LAST TIME I CHECC’D
Nipsey Hussle and YG reunite for the lot less political “Last Time I Checc’d’.
I was one of those people that loved “FDT”; not only because of its strong political approach, but I also thought it was pretty raw musically. “Last Time I Checc’d” has a bit of a different feel to it, as it takes advantage of its heavy west coast roots to send it’s message of women, flossing, and real street s–t to the masses. As expected, the chemistry is strong between YG and Hussle on this song, as both LA rappers feed off each other’s energy masterfully.
This song is in the top 3, because it symbolizes what the west coast is all about.
2. VICTORY LAP
In the words of Will Smith on Bad Boys 1: Now that’s how you drive, Nipsey!
I told ya’ll that Nipsey had some pent up anger that he had to release on this album! I can hear the passion/determination in literally every bar he drops on this song, as he dismisses all the other rap dudes in the game as competition. The mafioso instrumental and harmonizing woman in the background accompanying Nipsey only adds to “Victory Lap’s” legend, as the LA rapper, in the bluntest way possible, speaks his mind.
How cocky of Nipsey to drop a introduction track titled, “Victory Lap.”
Every hood in California was waiting for a collaboration between Kendrick and Nipsey, sorta like how white people are waiting for the season premiere of “Stranger Things.”
You know what I love about both of these Cali rappers? Each of them spit with this urgency that I love! (Especially Nipsey) On this particular song, Nipsey sounds hungry as hell, rapping like he’s trying to put his lil homie onto game while trying to figure out why his breaks aren’t working. Overall, it’s a dope ass verse from him, mainly because it mixes some trill ass vibes with motivational lyrics. To say I love it is an understatement.
Of course you knew Kendrick was going to spaz on this s—t! On his verse, he does no smiling, no singing, he just drops straight up knowledge revolving around uplifting. Lamar’s flow is perfect, his aggression is powerful, and his words are exact.
Damn, this is some real s—t!
SONG BY SONG BREAKDOWN
1. VICTORY LAP (5/5)
2. RAP NIGGAS (4.3/5)
3. LAST TIME THAT I CHECC’D (4.6/5)
4. YOUNG N***AS (4.7/5)
5. DEDICATION (5/5)
6. BLUE LACES 2 (4.7/5)
7. HUSSLE & MOTIVATE (5/5)
8. STATUS SYMBOL (4/5)
9. SUCCA PROOF (4.1/5)
10. KEYS TO THE STREETS (4/5)
11. GRINDING ALL MY LIFE (4.5/5)
12. MILLION WHILE YOU YOUNG (4.8/5)
13.LOADED BASES (4.5/5)
14. REAL BIG (5/5)
15. DOUBLE UP (4.6/5)
You know what “Victory Lap” reminds me of? Rick Ross’ “Deeper than Rap” album. On that project, Ross was spitting with a chip on his shoulder after entering into a beef with a guy named 50 Cent. The beats Nipsey chose to rap over mimic the ones Ross chose to rap over on the 2009 release, and the subject matters seem very similar, to me (You can even argue that the features are similar, too). I loved “Deeper than Rap,” so this is definitely a compliment.
I don’t know who aggravated Nipsey on his way to the studio, but dude seems pissed from song number 1 to song number 15. I don’t want to call the Cali rapper a grumpy old man, but he definitely isn’t happy with what he sees happening around him. Because of this, “Victory Lap” will have your heart racing, as Nipsey gives us a body of work that never has a single dull moment. Aside from that, it feels like Nipsey is saying the things that the Kendrick Lamars and the Drakes of the world really want to say, but can’t because they have to worry about the backlash they might get from a good chunk of their fair-weather fans. I’m so glad that Nipsey was willing to be their anger-translator on this album.
No one wants to say it, but I will: Nipsey is a top 10 rapper in the game right now!
Quincy is the creator of Ratings Game Music. He loves writing about music, taking long walks on beaches, and spaghetti that fights him back.