Nipsey Hussle murder trial: A background

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Nipsey HussleImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Nipsey Hussle's debut album was nominated for best rap album at the 2018 Grammy Awards

On 31 March 2019, Nipsey Hussle was shot dead outside his own clothing business in south Los Angeles aged 33.

The trial of Eric Holder, the man accused of murdering the rapper is expected to start this week.

He's accused of murder and two counts of attempted murder, and has pleaded not guilty.

Following Nipsey's death, tributes were paid from across the music industry.

Beyonce, Rihanna, Drake, Chance The Rapper, John Legend and Big Sean were among the artists that spoke about him.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Eric Holder is accused of killing rapper Nipsey Hussle

The trial of Eric Holder is expected to last around four weeks.

Who was Nipsey Hussle?

Nipsey, real name Ermias Asghedom, grew up in south Los Angeles. As a teenager, he was a member of the Rollin' 60s street gang.

He took 10 years to release his Grammy-nominated debut album, Victory Lap, after rejecting major-label cash to build his own empire.

The rapper famously sold 1,000 copies of his 2013 Crenshaw mixtape for $100 - even persuading Jay-Z to buy 100 copies - which gave him the financial security he needed to pursue music on his own terms.

Nipsey later became a community organiser, and was involved with the Destination Crenshaw community arts project.

"I grew up in gang culture," he told the Los Angeles Times in a 2018 interview.

"We dealt with death, with murder. It was like living in a war zone, where people die on these blocks and everybody is a little bit immune to it."

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Nipsey Hussle was involved in community projects in his local area

He opened the Marathon Clothing store as a way of investing in his neighbourhood.

According to an interview with Complex magazine, he said he wanted to focus on "giving solutions and inspiration" to young black men like him.

Using the money made from music, he funded improvements to neighbourhood schools and spent time with students, also participating on panels about growing up in the area and the influence of gang culture.

He helped to open a co-working space which was dedicated to having greater diversity in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Prior to his death, Nipsey Hussle had also contacted officials from the Los Angeles Police Department to arrange a meeting about what they could do to help prevent gang violence in South Los Angeles.

While being praised for his work in the neighbourhood, Nipsey Hussle's properties were also reportedly under longstanding investigation by authorities.

Media caption,
Nipsey Hussle: Thousands remember rapper in Los Angeles

Tributes

At the 2019 BET Awards, tributes were paid to Nipsey Hussle, where he was also given the Best Male Hip Hop Artist and Humanitarian Awards.

John Legend and DJ Khaled performed a musical tribute to Nipsey during the ceremony, which celebrates black culture in America.

During a public memorial celebrating his life, around 20,000 people attended, with a statement from US President Barack Obama praising his life for leaving "a legacy worth of celebration".

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
A mural of Tupac Shakur, Nipsey Hussle and Kobe Bryant

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