On Friday, DJ Khaled and John Legend released Nipsey Hussle’s final music video “with the full blessing” of the late rapper’s family.
Khaled said late Wednesday that it took “a soul-searching journey” to proceed with “Higher,” a song by Khaled that features Nipsey and appears on Khaled’s new album, “Father of Asahd,” which he also dropped Friday.
The song, a gospel-hued number with yearning, resonant vocals from John Legend, finds Nipsey reminiscing about his family’s resilience — surviving emigration from Eritrea, difficult pregnancies and the rough-and-tumble life in South Los Angeles. While Nipsey’s lyrics lamenting violence in the neighborhood now feel even more somber and harrowing, the song still searches for uplift in the face of it.
The accompanying video, set on top of a parking structure in Inglewood, was filmed just days before Hussle was gunned down outside his South L.A. clothing store in late March. It is likely to be one of the last new visual documents of Nipsey performing.
“The very title of the song reminds us that vibrating on a ‘Higher’ level was the essence of Nipsey’s soul,” Khaled wrote in a message shared on Twitter. “It is in this spirit, of moving forward, of preserving his mission that I, my co-writers, producers and label partners are donating 100% of all our proceeds from ‘Higher’ to Nipsey’s children, Emani and Kross.”
Legend shared the same missive on Instagram, adding that he was “proud to be a part of this inspiring record with @djkhaled and @nipseyhussle. We lost him too soon.” The Grammy and Oscar winner referenced the music video for the “beautiful new song” in a March tweet mourning Hussle’s death.
The local rapper, regarded as a symbol of hope in a neighborhood he was trying to rehabilitate, was 33 when he died.
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