Nipsey Hussle’s activism lives on as merchandise orders pour in

Teams at the rappers Marathon Clothing store say soaring sales arent just about fashion: People are trying to change and thats what Nipsey pushed for

The death last month of Nipsey Hussle, the Crenshaw-based rapper and community activist, prompted an outpouring of grief. Tickets for a Los Angeles memorial at the 20,000-seat Staples Center sold out in less than 20 minutes.

Such was Hussles success as an entrepreneur, however, that his family has been able to decline crowdfunding efforts as they vow to continue his community work.

In the past, fans simply purchased albums or CDs. In the age of streaming, allegiance is increasingly expressed physically through the sale of merchandise, which has accordingly become an increasingly significant aspect of music business success.


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Hussle, whose birth name was Ermias Joseph Asghedom, established the Marathon Clothing store in 2017. Since he was shot dead there on 31 March, at the age of 33, sales have soared. Outside the store last week, employees were busy fulfilling orders.

Sales had increased at least 100%, I know for sure, said Boutabag Wicced, 32, who identified himself as a member of the Rolling 60s gang and said he had been involved with the store for more than a month. Just days after he got out of prison, he said, Hussle gave him $800 worth of clothes and a job.

Marathon, he said, was no longer really [about] just buying clothes no more its really like a whole new way of life, you feel me? People are really trying to change and thats what Nipsey pushed for.

Every 15 minutes or so, men cleared a path to the road so they could load a white pickup with garbage bags filled with packages. Once the trucks flatbed was full, it would drive off to the post office.

Since the incident everything has picked up a lot, said Wicced. It went out the roof. We always had a steady flow, online orders; since the incident, its ridiculous. But we got a team of volunteers to help push out the packages. Were around the clock, pushing out packages. If you ordered some of the merchandise, its being sent to you.

The shop, he said, was now where youre going to come to remember his message.

Merchandise licensing is an increasingly important part of the music business. According to the Licensing Industry Merchandisers Association (Lima), it generates $12bn in annual revenue.


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According to Billboard, merchandise accounts for between 10% and 35% of revenue from major tours. A legend of the merchandising sector, Dell Furano, told the publication Kanye West, Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber shows routinely gross $300,000 to $400,000 in merchandise sales, accounting for as much as $15 to $20 spent by every concertgoer.

The pace of sales of Hussle-related merchandise is therefore not surprising, said Marty Brochstein of Lima: Licensing is always built on emotion so it would not surprise me that sales of his clothing are climbing. Its a natural reaction.

Fandom through fashion

The music industrys business model has flipped, from tours supporting albums to albums supporting tours and other revenue streams. And while bands like the Beatles, Grateful Dead, Kiss or Nirvana have profitable licensing businesses, few operate with as much sophistication as contemporary hip-hip acts.

Following Jay-Zs pioneering Rocawear line, acts like Kendrick Lamar, Travis Scott, Lil Wayne, Kanye West and Pharrell are invested not just in merchandising but in fashion hook-ups. West has been closely associated with Givenchy; A$AP Rocky with Dior Homme; Travis Scott with Virgil Abloh, Saint Laurent and Helmut Lang; Pharrell with Chanel; and Lil Waynes most recent release came with four t-shirts created with Heron Preston. On the most recent Drake tour, pop-up stores were stocked with his OVO brand. Justin Timberlake has operated pop-ups with Heron Preston and Nike.

According to the brand adviser Harry Bernstein, also known as Harry Bee: Merch has evolved from a concert T-shirt to an expression of fandom through fashion. Think about it: Pharrell had Billionaire Boys Club, then Adidas. Now Chanel is now another version of Pharrell merch.

No one would have done that in the 90s, Bee said. Kurt Cobain would have told you, Im not a clothing designer, Im a musician. But now if youre an artist with a certain style or aesthetic you not only make the merch but collaborate with brands.

Brochstein, of Lima, said: The tail is not wagging the dog. Its not a replacement revenue for music. But given the economics of the business, its something that more and more artists are looking at as a potentially important revenue stream.

He helped a lot of of people out

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It is unlikely many hip-hop artists will focus on community as much as Hussle did. At the store in Crenshaw, Herman Cowboy Douglas said Hussles gang once used the parking lot of the same mini-mall to do business.

Saying Jay-Z was the inspiration for the business, he added: Instead of hanging out on the blocks, where everybody gang-banged at, we sold CDs.

Like many who worked for Hussle, he said, he had spent time in prison. Since the rappers death, he said, members of rival gangs had come to pay their respects.


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A person like me, a person thats been to jail, its hard to get a job. [Hussle] employed me, he employed other people in the same kind of predicament. He helped a lot of of people out. He had homeless people on the payroll. They might be homeless, but theyd have a job to do. In the morning, come in, sweep up, whatever it may be.

Standing by a memorial arrayed with candles, flowers and other items including blue bandanas and bottles of alcohol, Wicced said: This aint about his death, how he died, he flew early or none of that.

Its about everything he wanted for everybody, for everybody to be happy and productive, elevate they life, start to be owners, start to get your own life together, be at your peace with yourself.

The whole thing about it is to keep his message going.

Original Article : HERE ; This post was curated & posted using : RealSpecific

This post was curated & Posted using : RealSpecific

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