“I’m humble, inspired, a lot of things,” Nipsey Hussle said on the red carpet at last year’s Grammy Awards ceremony, standing beside his remarkably poised 10-year-old daughter Emani Dior. Twelve months later, the late rapper, executive, entrepreneur, activist, hometown hero, and—yes—legend is no longer with us, but he’s still very much a part of the Grammy conversation.
Although Hussle did not win the Best Rap Album Grammy in 2019 for Victory Lap, the next morning he was up early to shoot the “Racks in the Middle” video, because the Marathon don’t stop. Lurking around the edges of that video shoot were members of his All Money In team, a small circle of day-ones and hand-picked talents from the community where he grew up.
All Money In No Money Out was the name of Nipsey’s label before he dropped his first Bullets Ain’t Got No Name mixtape and began developing the Slauson Boyz, a crew that included Nipsey, Cuzzy Capone, Cobby Supreme, Hoodsta Rob, and Rimpau the Rebel, along with J Stone, BH, Wee Dogg, Ralo, and Tiny Drawz.
More than a company, All Money In was a mindset that Nip developed with his brother Blacc Sam, as well as founding partners Adam Andebrhan and the late Stephen “Fatts” Donelson. The concept was all about ownership and the empowerment of young black men with no industry support taking control of their destinies and building an empire straight off the curb. After being released from his deal with Epic Records in 2010, Hussle began The Marathon mixtapes series and his independent movement began in earnest.
With two of Hussle’s post-Victory Lap releases nominated for a total of three Grammy Awards this Sunday, the smart money says Neighborhood Nip should be bringing at least one home for The Shaw, which would be well-deserved, however bittersweet. The second verse of “Racks in the Middle” reflects Nip’s determination to carry on despite the death of his partner Fatts. Now, the All Money In squad draws strength from the lines: “Live your life and grow… Finish what we started, reach them heights, you know?”
The mixed emotions continued this week when the Recording Academy announced an “all-star tribute” to Hussle, which will feature Roddy Ricch, DJ Khaled, John Legend, YG, Meek Mill, and Kirk Franklin. To honor Hussle’s life and work on music’s biggest night is only right, but some have been asking: Where is the All Money In team? And the lineup sparked some backlash on social media. Sure, it seems fitting for Roddy to perform “Racks in the Middle” and for Legend and Khaled to take the crowd “Higher”—after all, these are the songs that earned Nipsey nominations for Best Rap Song, Best Rap Performance, and Best Rap/Sung Performance, respectively—and it’s well-known that Nipsey’s bond with YG went way deeper than music, and he’d begun working on a collaborative project with Meek. But it feels a little incomplete to see Nipsey’s inner circle left out of the tribute entirely.
“It’s crazy we weren’t even contacted about the Grammys,” says Pacman Da Gunman, an All Money In affiliate who grew up in Nip’s hood and whose single “Never Gonna Change” featuring O.T. Genasis turned out to be Hussle’s final Instagram post, just one day before his tragic death. Pacman, who has dropped two critically acclaimed albums since Hussle’s passing, found out about the big tribute via social media. “This is our brother, and he loved and respected us. I’m pretty sure he would want the team involved. If it wasn’t me, put J Stone. If not J Stone, put BH or Cuzzy or Cobby or Twan. Or have our sis Lauren London go and speak. But at the same time, I’m just happy that they’re doing a tribute for bro. It’s about Hussle at the end the day.”
Of course, maybe it’s not too late to fix the situation. If anybody at the Recording Academy HQ is reading this, see below for a handy list of All Money In rappers you need to contact to make the tribute complete. And regardless of the Grammys tribute situation, it’s worth it for everyone to take a minute and tap in with the rappers who helped Hussle build a movement from the ground up.
These are the artists who were hand-picked by Nipsey himself, and they’re the artists who are actively working on carrying out his musical legacy to this day. After all the years that the industry slept on Nipsey Hussle’s talent, it would be a shame to see the same thing happen to the rappers Hussle personally recruited to run laps alongside him on The Marathon. Get familiar with six of them below (and be sure to check out other affiliates like Hoodsta Rob and Rimpau).
Tap in: @jstone_allmoneyin
Essential listening: “All Get Right”
Notable quotable: “Either you gon’ fold or step up to the plate/When it’s your time to bat you show ’em that you great/Life is what you make it, hope you make a movement/I hope your opportunity survives the opportunist”
Rapping since the age of 8, J Stone laid down his earliest rhymes on a karaoke machine given to him by his aunt. He was not quite 14 when his older brother was killed; Stone would dedicate a tape called The Streets Ain’t Safe to his memory. “That’s where the pain in my music came from,” he explains.
In the late 2000s, when Nipsey decided to prioritize music over street life, J Stone took the leap of faith along with him. They taught each other ProTools and took turns engineering for each other as they built their lyrical legacies side by side. On “All Get Right,” a standout track from Nipsey’s historic Crenshaw tape, Stone warned “My flow is sick; disinfect the microphone.”
Released last November, Stone’s third album, The Definition of Loyalty, leads off with “The Marathon Continues.” the first tribute song recorded after Nipsey’s death by any member of his inner circle. “I didn’t know when it was an appropriate time to even put out music after the fact,” Stone says. “But at the end of the day I had to express what I had to express. It’s like a form of release therapy for me. I had to write it, I had to lay it down, I had to cry. When I released the record I could breathe a little bit.”
Tap in: @iamcuzzycapone
Essential listening: “The Weather”
Notable quotable: “We stay with the drama my niggas is riders/My city ain’t hot, my city on fire/Marathon Clothing we ain’t wearin’ no Prada/When the water get deep I can send the piranhas”
When Cuzzy Capone first met a teenage Nipsey Hussle on the streets of the Crenshaw District in the early 2000s, Cuz had been rapping for several years—having spent time around Dr. Dre’s Aftermath Entertainment and the Murder Inc. crew—and he was already knee-deep in the streets. He saw something in the aspiring rapper known at the time as Ermy. Not yet known as Nipsey Hussle, Ermias addressed Cuz as “big bro.”
Though his lyrics are firmly rooted in the West Coast lifestyle, Cuzzy’s inspiration includes legendary East Coast MCs from Jay, Biggie, and Nas to Mobb Deep, The Lox, and Dipset. A charter member of Nipsey’s Slauson Boyz collective as well as a steady presence on the Bullets Ain’t Got No Name mixtape series, he’s more recently connected with Wee Dogg for a new installment of the Cracc Babies mixtape series. “The shots go off, it sound like an opera,” Cuz spits on “Beat Street,” the lead single from the forthcoming Cracc Babies 3. “Slauson Boy gang we the real top shottas.”
“When we started off, Nip and his friends used to look up to me,” Cuzzy recalls. “I used to be in the room tellin’ stories about the rap game and they eyes would be big as fuck. And that shit turned all the way around to where I was lookin’ at my little brother like that. Shit is crazy.”
Tap in: @killatwan_allmoneyin
Essential listening: “My Side to Your Side”
Notable quotable: “I got a whole lotta friends and family that were ridin’ with me/Now they dick-ridin’ tryna find me since I signed with Nipsey/I got me a new location, far ’way from you haters/Bye bye/Do me a favor and don’t do me no favors”
Born in Watts and raised in the same Nickerson Gardens housing complex where Top Dawg and Jay Rock started the TDE movement, Killa Twan first met Ermias Asghedom when he was a student attending Edwin Markham Middle School in Watts. A few years later, a friend put him onto a new artist from Crenshaw named Nipsey Hussle. “I’m like, ‘Who is that?’” Twan recalls. “He told me and I was like ‘Never!’ He’s like ‘Hell yeah, fool! That’s Ermy!’”
The final track of Nipsey’s Bullets Ain’t Got No Name vol. 1 is a seven-minute posse cut that features strong bars from Slauson Boyz Cuzzy Capone and Rimpau, but Twan serves up the song’s standout verse, painting vivid pictures of “Iced-out jewels and a pocket fulla loot / Ridin’ in the coupe with a hole in the roof / That’s sittin’ on 22s the color tropical fruit.” The song’s title “My Side To Your Side” may be a reference to the way Twan and Nip’s friendship crossed hood boundaries. “Callin’ text messagin’ AIMin’ sayin’ she miss me,” Twan raps on the track. “I tell her I’m with Nipsey cruisin’ through the 60s.”
Although Twan grew up amidst Bounty Hunter Bloods, Hussle welcomed him into the All Money In family, who were mostly Rollin 60s Crips—an early instance of Nip’s willingness to transcend the barriers that divide the streets of L.A. True to the title of his 2018 mixtape I Want All The Smoke, Twan does not hesitate to defend Nip’s honor. His latest track, “I Got It,” released this past September, finds him reppin’ the All Money In clique to the fullest. The song will be part of his next project, aptly titled I’m Who They Pretend To Be.
Tap in: @cobbysupreme1
Essential listening: “Checc Me Out”
Notable quotable: “Started out with nothin’, we ain’t had much/Got some Arm & Hammer and mix some grams up/Went and hit the block with all these savages/Ya gotta watch your back the Johnny’s scandalous”
Cobby Supreme first met Nipsey when he was selling CDs at a gas station near Crenshaw and Slauson. “A few years later we were in the studio together,” he says now. “We locked up like this and we just never parted,”
When Hussle got the chance to hit the road with The Game for his LAX tour, he brought Cobby along. On “Fly Crippin” from The Marathon Continues mixtape Cobby expresses his passion for fashion: “I got Polo socks on my feet/Polo draws on my waist/Louis belt on my Levi’s/And these diamonds be all on me/Diamonds on my neck/Diamonds on my wrist/I look like a robbery but nigga that will be a risk.”
At last year’s BET Awards, Cobby joined YG and BH on stage in paying tribute to Nipsey. Since then, he’s released the heartfelt track “Thinc About You” in honor of his homie. Cobby’s also kept Nipsey’s entrepreneurial spirit alive by establishing his own AMB Apparel on Crenshaw Blvd not far from The Marathon Clothing flagship store. When he’s not in the studio, he’s making sure the All Money Business stays open for business.
The life of Boss Hogg aka Boss Hussle aka Hoggy Bluestrip changed forever in 2007 when he was shot in the head at age 16. Nipsey recounted the traumatic incident on “Count Up That Loot” from his $1000 Mailbox Money mixtape. “I got that call and they said he was dead,” he rapped. “Look, I couldn’t cry, but it hurt a nigga/Mostly because he was too young to find his purpose, nigga.”
Hoggy promised God that if he recovered from his wounds, he would chart a new course forward. Hussle showed him the way, encouraging him to set up a studio in his mother’s house. They wrote inspirational quotes on the walls to keep them focused: “Quitting is not an option,” and “Don’t wait! The time will never be just right.”
“Nip was my mentor with this shit,” says BH. “I almost lost my life dealing with everybody who’s still doin’ dumb shit. It ain’t even worth it.”
Inspired by Hussle’s work ethic, BH put together a powerful catalog of tracks like “Trap Pac,” which is all set to drop when the time is right. “Nobody know what I got,” he confides. “They thinking, ‘That’s just Nip’s best friend.’ Man, y’all think I was with Nip every fuckin’ day for all these years and didn’t learn all the game? I was at every Nipsey meeting!”
Pacman Da Gunman
Tap in: @1960pm
Essential listening: “Where Yo Money At”
Notable quotable: “Lost my loc and ain’t ’shamed to say that I cried about it/Every other night, questioning my life/Am I doin’ right? Lead me to the light”
Back when he spent most of his time hustling on Eighth Avenue in the Crenshaw District, Pacman had no intentions of becoming a rapper. Then one day, Hussle pulled up wearing a bullet-proof vest with a proposition. “Hey,” he asked. “You wanna be in this video for me?” The video never came out, but a friendship formed. Nipsey would sometimes pick up Pacman and drive to the studio or take him on trips to Hollywood. “I still wasn’t like, ‘I wanna be a rapper,’” he recalls. “I was tryin’ to get a bird. I was grindin’. But the transition was probably the best thing I coulda did.”
It was B.H. who finally convinced Pacman to lay down some bars, and once he heard his voice played back, he was hooked. The next day, Pacman went to Guitar Center, bought a bunch of cheap equipment, and taught himself to record by watching YouTube videos and started pumping out his own mixtapes. He eventually flipped his popular Playball series into an apparel brand.
The youngest member of the All Money In team, Pacman may also be the most prolific, having released 15 mixtapes to date and two albums in 2019 alone. No Guts No Glory was pushed back and reworked following the tragic events of March 31. The last time he saw Nipsey and his brother Blacc Sam, they were discussing plans for Pacman’s Proud 2 Pay campaign, inspired by Hussle’s game-changing Crenshaw mixtape. His latest album 60th St was released with a $100 Proud 2 Pay model.
“That’s one thing Hussle admired about a nigga, was my grind, my drive,” Pacman says. “And he always told me that shit. So I just felt like it was time. As far as the music side, the quality is better now. I feel like we gave ’em so much music, and I’m like, ‘Alright, maybe they can pay for this one. But they can still get it free though at the same time. It’s always by choice, never by force. Just like he taught us.”