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(RNS) — When hip-hop writer Yoh Phillips arrived at Dreamville Festival on April 6, 2019, he found a 10-foot mural of the late rapper Nipsey Hussle planted in the middle of Dorothea Dix Park.
Then he noticed Nipsey Hussle seemed to be everywhere.
Sweaters - Artist - Crenshaw - Project - Performer
He saw sweaters from the artist’s “Crenshaw” project and heard performer after performer mention the impact and legacy of Nipsey during the daylong festival. J. Cole, who is the founder of Dreamville Records and the mastermind behind the festival, performed a tribute with a montage from Nipsey’s life in the background.
But the mural painted by Paul Garson and Nik Soupé — and the timeline of its creation — stuck with Phillips.
“They had one week to paint that,” he said.
When artist Nipsey Hussle was shot at his clothing store in L.A. at the end of March, the shocked hip-hop community stopped and mourned. Musicians offered tributes on social media as his Grammy-nominated album “Victory Lap” rose back to number two on the Billboard 200 chart.
Hip-hop - Community - Artist - Member - Family
Whenever the hip-hop community loses an artist, it loses a member of the family.
The mourning binds people together as they reflect on the life and legacy of an artist taken too soon and reveals the foundation of hip-hop culture: beauty from brokenness.
Dreamville - Festival - Mural - Phillips - Others
That’s what Dreamville Festival and the last-minute mural were for Phillips and many others: a space to mourn, remember Nipsey Hussle and return to what the hip-hop community is all about.
“Usually festivals feel like everyone’s there for something different, but Dreamville was a place for everyone to remember, to reminisce, to acknowledge all that Nipsey meant,” said Phillips. “There was something very church-like about it.”
Hip-hop - Community - Stranger - Loss
The hip-hop community is no stranger to loss.
Some of the most public deaths in music have been hip-hop legends, from Tupac and Biggie in the ’90s to Mac Miller and Nipsey...
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