February 16th, 2018 was a good day in hip-hop. Nipsey’s long-awaited debut album was finally released. The west-coast legend decided to partner with Atlantic to give us Victory Lap (a lot of the marathon supporters thought he was done with major labels after he decided to part ways with Epic Records), his statement to the mainstream industry and the world. It’s evident that he wanted give that real feel of a LA ground-zero mixtape to a larger market; something that Atlantic Records could provide. Victory Lap was appropriately named because with this endeavor he’s shown that he can excel in the mixtape AND mainstream game if he chooses to and the album is a symbol of full success in a sense. From selling CD’s in the parking lot to owning that same parking lot is a major victory.
The album is a moderate 16 track project filled with plenty of game and motivation if you listen. He takes a step away from his gang roots and comes at the album from an older and wiser position. This is something he’s been doing for his past couple of projects now. That’s one thing that always stood out to me about Nip, you know where he came from but his message to all his listeners now is based around his marathon theme. Grinding and working towards your goals in life. Songs like “Dedication” and “Hussle & Motivate” attest to the vicious work ethic and endurance that got him to where he is. He even speaks on real business methodologies like vertical integration. In his words on the first song, “…this ain’t that weirdo rap you muthafuckas used to”. If you know me then you know this is exactly what I think the rap game needs. More music with some game and ways to elevate yourself, not only monetarily but mentally in it.
I was glad to hear that he had a variety of beat-types on the album and didn’t just stick with a traditional west coast sound (that’s usually one of people’s main critique when it comes to west coast rappers). He went with a Jay-Z sample on “Hussle & Motivate” and even tried a rasta-esque sound during “Succa Proof”. I think he picked his features perfectly too; he has chemistry with every artist he worked with on the album and in each song (esp. “Loaded Bases” and “Dedication”) the cohesiveness shows. The album was a good way to let the mainstream industry know that he’s here for good and that the marathon will continue. My personal favorite on the album would have to be “Blue Laces 2” with an emphasis on the third verse. Real music with a story behind it, I can’t ask for too much more than that.
Leave comments below and let me know what you thought about these the album!