Reaching New Heights In Death

Nipsey Hussle memorial area at South Los Angeles store, the Marathon Clothing.
Nipsey Hussle memorial area at South Los Angeles store, the Marathon Clothing.

By Tai Spears

As the world continues to mourn the untimely death of Nipsey Hussle, the rapper’s music streams and sales have risen dramatically. According to initial reports made by Nielsen Music, on the day of and day after his March 31 death, his catalog of songs collected 101.5 million on-demand streams (audio and video combined). That’s an increase of 1,773 percent compared with his streaming sum on Friday and Saturday: 5.4 million, Billboard reported.

On Sunday, the day he died, the most-streamed song of his catalog was “Dedication,” featuring Kendrick Lamar, which tallied 1.23 million on-demand audio streams. “Racks in the Middle,” one of Hussle’s newer releases featuring rappers Roddy Rich and Hit-Boy,  also received a lot of attention immediately after his passing. “Victory Lap,” his first studio-produced album, was released in March 2018 and was nominated for a Grammy.

Typically following a death, a musician’s streams and album sales will see a drastic increase. However, in Nipsey Hussle’s case he put out his own music on mixtapes, rather than being affiliated with a major label. And he was much more than a musician–that has become evident by the outcry of support received all around the world. Whether for his hit songs, community activism, or million-dollar mindset, Hussle has become a topic of discussion among people of all backgrounds. While Nipsey Hussle isn’t the first artist whose passing has shaken the world, there seems to be a much larger percentage increase in his sales than that of other comparable musicians.

When Mac Miller passed in September 2017, from an overdose, on-demand streams of his music in the U.S. climbed by 970 percent, according to Nielsen Music. Just one day after his passing, the hip-hop star’s catalog of songs earned 32.5 million streams, both audio and video combined, up from 3.04 million on Sept. 6. Yet comparing the amount of increase immediately after both of their deaths, Miller’s streams fall short.

The passing of Aaliyah Haughton, a rising star in R&B, is arguably as controversial as the passing of Nipsey Hussle in hip hop, although for different reasons. The self-entitled album “Aaliyah,” which was released in mid-July and had sold fewer than 500,000 copies before her tragic plane accident in August  2005,  sold 306,000 copies right after her passing. That’s up from 44,000 the week before her death, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Unlike most artists, including Miller and Haughton, Hussle had ownership of his masters, making this surge in his music much more beneficial for the family. “I’m a master of my fate, plus I’m the type to own the masters to my tape,” he rapped on a release featuring Diddy from “Victory Lap.” He elaborated on the importance of ownership of the content he created during an interview  with Mass Appeal in 2018.

Nipsey was shot and killed March 31  outside his Marathon Clothing store in South Los Angeles.  Marathon’s product sales have also apparently skyrocketed since the shooting. reported that the store has sold more than $10 million of merchandise, mainly from hoodies, hats and T-shirts purchased online.

Two days after the shooting, 29-year-old Eric Holder was arrested in Bellflower, California. He is being held on murder charges.

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