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GO FIGURE: Nipsey Hussle’s Distribution of Wealth

Nipsey Hussle’s memorial service is this morning and I am still at a loss for words. So instead of trying to craft the perfect prose, I decided to create a data visualization. I wanted to better understand Nipsey as an investor and entrepreneur.

NipHussle_Dataviz_2019
Photo Credit: Art Party x BET.com

Born Ermias Joseph Asghedom, the diagram above reveals how Nipsey’s hustle has impacted the economy on both a local and national level. Using a combination of government and business data sources, I estimated Nipsey’s distribution of wealth across six sectors: Entertainment, Tech, Real Estate, Philanthropy, Food and Lifestyle. My analysis led me to calculating two main figures: The number of people Nipsey has either hired or impacted (41, 369)  and the projected value of investments made between 2013 and 2019 ($210, 413, 500).

Nipsey had big dreams and even bigger plans. The Grammy-nominated artist and his business partners were set to launch a range of ventures including a network of franchises with retail headquarters in L.A., which is partly why he purchased a commercial strip earlier this year in Crenshaw. The plaza is known for housing several businesses owned by Nipsey like The Marathon Clothing Store and a restaurant. However, Nipsey was planning to do much more.

Nipsey_Hussle_David Gross_vector90
Photo Credit: L.A. Times

Alongside David Gross, the 33-year-old entrepreneur co-founded Our Opportunity, an investment coalition. The organization aims to develop high-quality, affordable mixed-use properties across multiple cities, pairing local stars with investors. The first property to kick off their venture was supposed to be a six-story residential unit built above the very same plaza he purchased and was subsequently killed in front of. The partnership with David Gross (also a black man), reflects Nipsey’s dedication to creating and sustaining black wealth in industries where minorities have traditionally been excluded, like land ownership and technology.  

The numbers I compiled paint a picture of a man who was utterly obsessed with giving back. Within a very short stretch of time, Nipsey opened a STEM academy and co-working space in south L.A. with goals to expand across three more cities including Atlanta and D.C.

The data visualization highlights all of Nipsey’s documented business ventures and donations, including those that are lesser known, like his partnership with Vezt, a music streaming app which allows users to directly purchase the rights to songs using blockchain technology.  Nipsey also had cryptocurrency investments and an ownership stake in at least two other technology companies.

Nipsey_Hussle_Feature2
Photo Credit: Billboard

Ultimately, my projections are just that: projections. The numbers are estimations based on public records, industry white papers, U.S. census data, and business association statistics. They are meant to give us all a numerical idea of how much Nipsey cared for his community and our world.  

Reported figures like his $10,000 donation (in partnership with Puma) to 59th Street School were used alongside estimations provided by several sources like the U.S. Bureau Labor of Statistics. For example, Nipsey played a huge role in the formation of Destination Crenshaw, a public art space opening in 2020. According to census data, the Crenshaw/Baldwin Hills area of L.A. has about 36, 753 residents. So as a projection, I included those residents to the total number of people impacted or hired by Nipsey.

Nipsey_Hussle_Destination_Crenshaw
Photo Credit: L.A. Times

Of course, the valuation of some partnerships like his recent, multi-album deal with Atlantic Records are private. In cases like that, where ventures exist but there are no clear financial details available for public viewing, no numerical data was entered or used. Estimations of investment bids or the amount of employees at some of Nipsey’s businesses are averages calculated with figures provided by several organizations including the World Tourism Board and the International Franchise Association.

In my lifetime, I have known three black men who have died violently. Two were really boys, shot under the age of 30. All were pure spirits, on the verge of a fresh start and in the middle of “getting shit together.” The news of Nipsey’s death has filled me with that exact same sense of baffling grief I felt when I first learned of their murders.

As a first-generation Eritrean of a particular age, I was raised with a heightened awareness of loss.  Like Nipsey, I am technically older than my motherland. Your parents consider you their second chance at a life free from violence and war. Multiple wars to be exact. And so to lose your child to violence, in a different kind of war- the very thing you tried to escape; is not just a tragedy, but a reminder of how our potential and strength as a people keeps getting stunted when a young, black man like Nipsey dies. We needed him. And that’s why Eritreans across the diaspora have held vigils. Like this one in St. Paul, Minnesota, where roughly 2000 people gathered to mourn Nipsey’s death.

Nipsey_Hussle_Vigil_Eritrea_flag
Photo Credit: Seattle Times

The City of Angels may have gained a saint, but fans around the world have lost a key source of hope. Although, this beautiful video message his mother shared yesterday certainly helps. “The Marathon” is a metaphor Nipsey chose to define his music and social mission. It reflects how when you strive for greatness, you can only do so through dedication and generosity. You should never aim to do your victory lap alone. However, if men like Nipsey keep having to disappear from the race, what’s the point in even having a finish line?

GO FIGURE is a data visualization series highlighting the numbers which shape culture. Subscribe here. Tell me what you think of this story. What should I analyze next? Let me know via contact.


48 Comments

  • Maxie Taylor
    April 12, 2019 at 3:59 pm

    Dope article!!

  • Davia Cameron
    April 12, 2019 at 7:26 pm

    The more we earn about him, the more it hurts. It hurts because he wasn’t an average man. He was great and thought beyond himself and his family. He wasn’t a taker. He loved and it shows.

  • Filmon T
    April 12, 2019 at 9:14 pm

    THANK YOU for this amazing and detailed information about Nipsey’s accomplishments. Of course the more you learn about him the more it hurts, especially to Eritrean. We heard a lot about his contributions, such a detailed information is rarely given.
    It makes it even better when I learned that such a well written article is written by a fellow Eritrean🇪🇷!!

  • Cassandra
    April 12, 2019 at 9:32 pm

    This article makes me an even bigger fan!

    • Lala
      April 13, 2019 at 1:53 pm

      Such a great article! Thank you for sharing it ❤️

    • Candace
      April 13, 2019 at 8:21 pm

      My hope is the marathon will continue. The gangs will come together and build, American African will be encouraged to build and stick together. The powers that be are afraid of the power we possess, but when we see what this brother was doing for his people we must be encouraged to continue the marathon and know the power we posses. Like his mother exemplified for us we must call on the ancestors for strength and power, our brother is a ancestor and the marathon will continue.

  • Cornelio Austin
    April 13, 2019 at 3:52 am

    Thank You for this. My partner an I were fortunate enough to lease a studio in the same building with him for the 2017-18. I was witness to his detail to planning. He had dry erase boards in the lobby filled with plans and details of schedule and life. Incredible energy. I had no idea it was popping off like this.

    • Team AP
      April 13, 2019 at 10:49 pm

      Wow, that’s dope! It must have been incredible to see everything up close. Thanks for sharing! Yeah, I honestly didn’t know about all the ventures until I researched it and the list kept growing. Many other mainstream outlets just focused on the entertainment stuff, but he had so much more going on.

  • Jack
    April 13, 2019 at 11:39 am

    Thank you for following your gut instincts and then writing this wonderful article. Perfect alignment of prose, graphics and facts, but more importantly the content gave us a deeper perspective on the facts and not the hype. An inspiration, leader and visionary. Again, thank you.

  • Tiffani
    April 13, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    The only way to honor this amazing human being is to pick up the baton in our own lives and communities and do the same thing!

  • Summer Gray
    April 13, 2019 at 1:04 pm

    This was amazing to read. Well done.

  • Lauren
    April 13, 2019 at 3:33 pm

    Just looking at the visualization of everything that we as a people lost when he was taken does make it hurt so much. I can’t believe he’s gone. 😢

    • Team AP
      April 13, 2019 at 10:52 pm

      Facts! I got really emotional too while doing the data analysis/research because I could see how much he cared and wanted to give back. Thanks for taking the time to read the article. 🙂

  • Selina
    April 13, 2019 at 3:37 pm

    Thank you for this amazing article.

  • Debrah L. Bryant
    April 13, 2019 at 3:41 pm

    This is absolutely amazing! Being made aware of him and his actions has lite a fire in me at 58 to move more intentional and TO DO IT NOW! Thank you for a well written direction to him and OUR own possibilities…

    • Team AP
      April 13, 2019 at 10:42 pm

      That’s amazing, thank you! Yes, hopefully his life inspires us all to continue dreaming big. 🙂

  • Kia Simmons
    April 13, 2019 at 3:43 pm

    Thank you for this

  • Angel forbes
    April 13, 2019 at 3:51 pm

    The absolute beast article I’ve read in a very long time!

    • Angel Forbes
      April 13, 2019 at 3:58 pm

      I say to you thank you! We need you just as we needed Nipsey, my prayers will be with you along this journey of life. I pray the marathon continues! I stand with you! Learning so much more about Nip and all that he was doing and desired to do….. makes me want to join the campaign and work with whom ever that’s willing to keep the mission alive! We must keep his dreams alive for so many reasons! I’m all for it! Let’s reach the finish line together!

    • Team AP
      April 13, 2019 at 10:38 pm

      Oh wow, thank you!

  • The Milli Blog
    April 13, 2019 at 4:08 pm

    This such a dope article great job. We will be sharing it for you.

    • Team AP
      April 13, 2019 at 10:53 pm

      Yay! Thank you!

  • Marcus
    April 13, 2019 at 4:25 pm

    Do you have the original source of that wealth distribution diagram? Some of the text is difficult to read.

    • Team AP
      April 13, 2019 at 10:38 pm

      Hi Marcus, my apologies but the original source file I created is too big for the site. Here is everything in the diagram listed in plain text:

      1. Tech ventures/investments (2013-2018): Bitcoin, FollowCoin, Marathon App, Vezt, and Wireless C. He invested in Vezt,, a blockchain-based music app.

      2. Real Estate ventures (2013-2020): Our Opportunity, a commercial plaza, Viceroy Hotel bid, and Vector90. He launched “Our Opportunity,” a coalition dedicated to developing properties and revamping neighborhoods across multiple cities. He was also part of a bid to acquire the Viceroy Santa Monica, a luxury resort.

      3. Philanthropy (2013-2020): multiple donations to 59th Street School, STEM academy, Destination Crenshaw, and community donations. He co-founded a STEM academy in L.A. with plans to expand across three cities. Active role in establishing “Destination Crenshaw”,” a 1.3 mile public art space honoring L.A.’s Black heritage. Set to open in 2020.

      4. Entertainment ventures (2013-2017): The Marathon Agency, All Money In label, partnership with Atlantic Records, World on Wheels Roller Rink, and a studio space. He introduced the “#Proud2Pay” model, earning an estimated $1.5 million as an independent artist. This figure does not include merch or touring. Also reopened World on Wheels, a roller rink initially damaged during the 1992 L.A. riots.

      5. Food ventures (2014-2018): Baba Leo’s, Fatburger location and a Fish Shack. He set-up a partnership with Fatburger where employees wore uniforms branded with his clothing label’s “Crenshaw” logo.

      6. Lifestyle ventures (2016-2019): Puma partnership, Marathon Clothing Store, Elite Hair, Steve’s Barbershop, and OG Cannabis Strain. The Puma x Marathon Clothing line is set to launch Fall 2019. He establish “Steve’s Barbershop” in memory of his friend who died from gun violence.

      • MAC
        April 14, 2019 at 4:05 am

        What is “Wireless C?”

        • Team AP
          April 14, 2019 at 1:19 pm

          Hi, “Wireless C.” is short for the Wireless Connection cell phone shop owned by Nipsey. The graphic design wouldn’t give me space to include the whole name, so I had to abbreviate it. Thanks for asking!

          • Heather Thompson
            April 16, 2019 at 12:06 pm

            I’m blown AWAY. Everything here is impressive, inspiring and yet heartbreaking. I’m sure many judged him by his cover, but what a book this man was!! My hope and prayer is that we take action in the ways that he did, and begin to invest and uplift our communities, both locally and globally. I’m genuinely proud of what he accomplished. Now, I’ve got to do my part. Thank you for your work with this article!!

  • Christal Casteel
    April 13, 2019 at 5:43 pm

    Very informative and eye opening. I really enjoyed reading. RIP Nipsey. Gone too soon. The Martahon Continues.

  • Janel B.
    April 13, 2019 at 6:54 pm

    What an amazing article! Thank you for working to quantify Nipsey’s impact on the nation. It’s just incredible to see all he accomplished in just 6 years. I pray this inspires a new era of activists and philanthropy beyond our wildest dreams. He’d be proud to know that the marathon will truly continue.

  • Sparkle
    April 13, 2019 at 6:56 pm

    Thank you sister!! Beautiful and highly educational article!

  • Tonya
    April 13, 2019 at 7:41 pm

    Your comment of “, if men like Nipsey keep having to disappear from the race, what’s the point in even having a finish line?”. We have to try because if we don’t he died in vain. And believe it or not its going to be a race war. Read the book “ The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander. Which have been banned by prison.

  • Juliana
    April 13, 2019 at 8:56 pm

    Thank you for this article!

  • Michael Cobbs
    April 14, 2019 at 12:34 am

    This is a great post. Thank you for posting this.

  • David
    April 14, 2019 at 2:59 pm

    Nipsey was a stood for unity, entrepreneurship, giving back, fighting for a cause to better his people. We must not only protect his legacy but continue doing our part so that he didn’t die in vain in other words we must make sure the marathon continues! CIP NIP. #BlackExcellence

  • MsAdvantageous
    April 14, 2019 at 3:01 pm

    Hand clap to you. Very detailed & factually informative. Very much appreciated. Say it louder for the people in the back 🗣💯

  • TJ
    April 14, 2019 at 4:30 pm

    Such a beautiful mind! He will surely be missed.

  • Ellen
    April 15, 2019 at 1:21 am

    Thank you for writing this! I am also a first generation Eritrean/Ethiopian American, just a few months older than Nipsey, and I lost my brother 5 years ago at the age of 35 to gun violence. He too was just launching his company, an entrepreneurial, confident man with an eye to helping others. It is so sad to see black men cut down at their prime almost as a matter of course, especially when we know the pain our parents fled. You got it so right with this and I really appreciate that you took the time to create this. All the best.

  • Kimberly Brant
    April 15, 2019 at 6:16 am

    Thank you so much for your article. This was the best representation of his legacy that I have read so far. I have been deeply troubled and sorrowful about his passing. I’m inspired to move differently in the world by his example. Many blessings to his family, loved ones and the community.

  • Adrienne Taylor
    April 15, 2019 at 7:43 am

    Please sign and share the Petition for the Nipsey Hussle United States Postage Stamp. @ Change. org

    • Mason
      April 16, 2019 at 11:31 pm

      Hi I think Nipsey was a huge loss to the community and his work was amazing but to say that the 36k people who lived near an art installation were impacted seems like a reach to me. Also I’m curious about how the monetary figure is created. It doesn’t make sense to me how someone with an 8ish million dollar net worth could have a quarter of a billion dollar impact.

  • Nicole Forever
    April 16, 2019 at 5:09 am

    Thank you for this article. We are sharing and talking about it in our home and community.

  • AshaLyn
    April 16, 2019 at 2:31 pm

    What NIP did was awesome but these figures don’t add up. Can you show exactly where you got this number?

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