Meek Mill and Roddy Ricch release Nipsey Hussle tribute song, ‘Letter to Nipsey’

Nipsey Hussle tribute
Images of Nipsey Hussle and Kobe Bryant were displayed side-by-side during the Grammys tribute to Hussle, featuring YG, John Legend, DJ Khaled, Meek Mill, Roddy Ricch and Kirk Franklin.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

A day after Meek Mill and Compton’s Roddy Ricch performed a tribute to Nipsey Hussle at the Grammys, the two released a new collaborative single that continues to pay homage to the late rapper and offers a compelling personal portrait of Nipsey’s impact on their lives.

“Letter to Nipsey,” debuted live in part at the Grammy ceremony, starts with Meek’s intimate, first-person account of the days after Nipsey’s murder: “I just left your viewing at the Staples Center / Obama wrote you a letter, yeah you made it ... I ain’t finna sit here, act like I’m your main homie / But when we lost you, it really put some pain on me.”

Ricch, who appeared on Hussle’s final single, “Racks in the Middle,” which earned them a Grammy for rap performance, follows up with a heartfelt, fully-sung chorus that shows the role the elder Hussle occupied in the mind of his young protege: “Had to stare through these tears, ’cause I see you every time my eyes close / Asking myself why you had to go, but only God knows.”

At the Grammys, their tribute included John Legend, YG (a great friend and collaborator of Hussle), Kirk Franklin and DJ Khaled for a regal take on Khaled’s “Higher,” which Nipsey guested on. But “Letter to Nipsey” shows just how specifically the late MC affected a generation of rappers, and how much music will come in his wake that would have been impossible without him.