"Charlie Uptown is a well-educated young man with a lot of ambition, poise and smarts to conquer the world through his talents and love. He has performed in various places, won awards and has recorded his music all while attending college and hosting a radio show all on his own."
I can’t even believe I’m writing this, I really didn't know what to say on Sunday night. It’s been like a nightmare, a crazy dream that won’t end. I can’t even imagine what your brother, parents, team, family, kids, your lady, and all those closest to you are going through. This loss extracts a heavy toll in the hip hop world on the scale of Biggie, 2Pac, Eazy E, Big L, and the list unfortunately goes on... All I can speak on is the impact and the influence I received from following and studying your movement. So much to say yet so difficult to get it out. I don’t remember the last time I bought a cd from an artist who wasn’t a legend, dropping new music. The excitement I had waiting for the delivery from Amazon was surprising but I knew exactly what I signed up for, something special. I was planning to hear Victory Lap for the first time in Cali on my birthday trip in March 2018, but I was so hype when I got it that rather than wait I popped it in to my surround system in my crib and instantly the vibes of the music took me on an early flight to the west coast. I was so submerged into your music that I had forgotten to move my car to the alternate parking side and got a ticket. When I finally made it to LA, automatically I had to go to the Marathon Store to support, witness a hustler’s ambition and for the opportunity, a chance to build with you. I didn’t get to meet you, but I got to share words with Adam. I’m like wow I’m really talking to 1/4 of the All Money In empire. It was really cool that he remembered me the second time I came around to the store during that trip and he said what’s up to me. Returning to NY I kept thinking how can I be down and contribute to something that is already built. Ironically during that time you were on instagram looking for new creative team players. I sent various emails with my idea alongside a video demonstration that would potentially affect and impact communities in a social and positive way, specifically addressing and creating solutions for the overwhelming homeless population in Los Angeles. I never got a response but I never lost sight.
Victory Lap was the soundtrack of my birthday in 2018. I drove around every where in Los Angeles blasting Victory Lap, lighting that Marathon OG. The album is beyond special to me; anytime I play it I’m instantly back in LA. It has so many jewels and lessons and it spoke to me directly. The overall theme of the album is motivation, staying the course, hustling and maintaining an empowering entrepreneur fighting spirit. Victory Lap dropped in the beginning of the year in 2018 during a time of an onslaught of hip hop albums coming from old and new artists alike. The album held so much weight that it was Grammy nominated, your first major album straight out the gate making headlines. 2019 was looking promising for you, Puma, Roc Nation, and your brother beside you. You became landlord of your own block, you were going to have a meeting with the LAPD about stoping the violence in the hood, all your plans were coming to fruition. I came back to Cali this year during my birthday week, and you already know I had to pull up to the Marathon Store. I was a bit hesitant to go because I’m like what would I say to you without sounding nervous. I was starting to feel like Ralphie in the Christmas Story movie, you know the scene where he spills out his guts to Santa about his Christmas wish right before Santa pushes him down the slide. Thank GOD I went because although we didn’t get to cross paths I got to meet your brother Sam. I was so excited. I told him as much as I could, which were most of the things I wanted to tell you. I got to say how much I appreciate what ya built and how much it influenced me, that this is my second time in LA coming 2 years back to back and both times I’m here pulling up to the store to support. I told him I’ve been adding to the culture by hosting college radio to showcasing talents in open mics, working on my craft, and told him to tell you to lookout for me, “Tell Nip about me, tell him Charlie Uptown came through, Dominican from NY” lol. Sam was so genuine, we shook hands a few times, he kept strong eye contact with me, a big smile, kept telling me “right on, for sure”, the energy was felt. I left back to NY knowing in my heart that one day we will meet. I honestly felt I was getting close and my third time around was gonna be it, we were finally gonna link up, since I’ll be back soon. Everything changed Sunday night. Earlier that day I was dealing with some personal grief, praying and talking to GOD, and eventually I went about my day, working on a verse I needed to complete. When I was done I go on Instagram and check the explore page. I couldn’t believe my eyes “6 times”!! “Oh my GOD”, praying you pull through and then a few minutes later the worst possible happened... Still can’t comprehend this, what a blow man, we gotta stop the hate, stop the violence, Father GOD why Lord? what are we teaching the youth??...
So many questions to how this could have been prevented. In all my visits to the store I never felt in danger or threatened, it was always laid back and welcoming. I’ve been in that neighborhood day & night with no drama. Nipsey was a man of his community, well known, loved, and respected. If a man can’t be safe in his hood among his people then where can he be safe? Before any news reports I had a gut feeling that it was done by someone he knew simply because the amount of times he was hit. The shooter had to have been in proximity, even in the midst of an argument I know he didn’t anticipate that outcome, I believe nobody did. Again the vibe of the store is always chill, Nip was a business man chilling at his place of business... I am truly lost for words but must find the courage to vent and express.
First and foremost I’m a student of hip hop and I’ve been put on to Nip for years, but I can’t even front, watching the documentary about his store on Slauson and all the challenges they faced with the police, building a name, his brother getting locked up, and then becoming legit business owners, really struck a cord with me. That documentary led me to embrace his art, his message, the whole movement. “Listening to music at the Mayan ruins”, one day I will visit the Mayan site, play Victory Lap and zone out.... 33 years old with the world in your hands. “The world is mine” was tatted on you and you most definitely lived by it. My favorite quote from Nipsey Hussle was something he said when asked about what advice he had for the up and coming artists, he simply replied “Stay down, it’s a marathon” [😪] [🏁] Rest in Paradise, Last of the real Hussle Man Nip [🙏] [👑] God Bless you!!! From a friend that is loyal & true.
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