Nipsey Hussle earns three Grammy nominations, leads a strong showing for L.A. hip-hop

The late Nipsey Hussle earned three Grammy nominations, two for his anthem "Racks in the Middle."
The late Nipsey Hussle earned three Grammy nominations, two for his anthem “Racks in the Middle.”
(Prince Williams / Getty Images)

For obvious reasons, slain rapper Nipsey Hussle’s three Grammy nominations are bittersweet, just as hearing his anthemic hit with Roddy Ricch and Hit-Boy, “Racks in the Middle,” banging out of the car stereo via Real 92.3 FM generates equal parts joy and anger.

Hussle, who was gunned down earlier this year in front of his Marathon Clothing Store at Crenshaw Boulevard and Slauson Avenue, earned a pair of trophy opportunities for “Racks in the Middle”: rap song and rap performance. Hussle was also acknowledged in the rap/sung performance category for his work on DJ Khaled’s “Higher” (with John Legend).

Notably, Hussle’s competition in the rap/sung race will pit him against, among others, young Compton rapper Ricch and Hussle’s longtime friend and collaborator, Mustard. Ricch and Mustard are nominated for Mustard’s “Ballin’,” and Ricch even shouts-out Hussle and the late rapper’s girlfriend, Lauren London, in one of the verses when he boasts of having love and wealth “like London and Nip.” Elsewhere Ricch boasts, “We came up on dirty money / I gave it a birdbath.” Also vying for the award are Lil Baby & Gunna, Lil Nas X and Young Thug featuring J. Cole and Travis Scott.

Roddy Ricch at BET Experience at Staples Center in June.
(Scott Dudelson/Getty Images)

For his part, Ricch’s trio of nominations with Mustard and Hussle confirm his status as one of Compton’s finest new talents. The 21-year-old artist’s Atlantic Records debut, “Please Excuse Me for Being Antisocial,” comes out Dec. 6, and arrives in the wake of his just-released track with Gunna, “Start Wit Me.”


The volume of South Los Angeles connections in the rap categories makes Compton rapper YG’s absence all the more notable. He and Hussle were best friends, and YG turned his memorable 2019 Coachella performance into a tribute to his fallen friend.

One of L.A.‘s most successful and acclaimed rappers of the decade, YG has never been nominated for a Grammy, a fact that he pointed out on Big Boy’s morning radio show in 2014. “I think it has to do with me being from the streets, and representing what I represent,” YG said at the time.

Five years later, YG got passed over again, despite the success of his infectious “Go Loko” and the album from which it came, “4Real 4Real.” Another of his close collaborators, Ty Dolla Sign, nabbed a dance recording nod for his memorable vocal turn on Skrillex and Boys Noize’s “Midnight Hour.” Los Angeles rapper-provocateur Tyler, the Creator’s “Igor” was also among the five finalists for rap album.