While I personally hate the concept of an athlete who wants to be a rapper and vice versa, I do understand the mentality. In order to be one of the best rappers in the game, you’ve got to have an athlete’s mindset that nobody else can compete with you. And it’s in that spirit that Nipsey Hu$$le delivers one hell of a debut album, appropriately entitled, Victory Lap. In sports, a victory lap is a celebratory run around the track, field, or court, after the contest is won; thus, in naming his album Victory Lap, ‘Hu$$le the Great’ is sending a strong message that he’s #1 amongst this generation of MC’s.
The title track serves as the intro to the album, and it’s here where ‘Neighborhood Nip’ unabashedly confesses: “I’m prolific, so gifted/I’m the type that’s gon’ go get it…” For fans of the Slauson Boy, these aforementioned lyrics are a truism; however, critics of the rapper will make the claim that his engagement to actress Lauren London is bigger than the impact of his music. On the contrary, Nipsey’s music represents a return to the golden ‘G-Funk Era’ popularized in Los Angeles during the early-mid 90’s. As in the case with all of his music, what you’ll hear when you listen to Victory Lap is a rapper true to his West Coast roots. The passion when he delivers his raps are reminiscent of Tupac; his style, cadence, and overall finesse is similar to DJ Quik; and his presence, aura, and Crip gang-affiliation reminds you of the ol’ Snoop (think Snoop Doggy Dogg NOT Snoop Lion).
Still, Victory Lap is so much more than an ode to times of yesteryear. Victory Lap stands out because it’s Nipsey showcasing what he does best – story-telling and giving game! Nipsey says what he means and means what he says. He unapologetically rebukes those uninspired to make a way for themselves. On this album, Nipsey shares more keys to success with songs such as: “Million While You Young.” Furthermore, he inspires and motivates when he details his own struggles on his road to riches with songs like: “Blue Laces 2.” Overall, what’s really great about Victory Lap is that Nipsey does not stray away from what has made him, him. The music that you’ve grown accustomed to and expect to hear from ‘Young Nipsino’ is ever-so-present. When you play the album from front-to-back which is the way it was intended to be heard, what you hear is an artist not trying to sell you on a gimmick. His lyrics and message in his songs are genuine, intentional, and have a funny way of sticking with you.
Victory Lap isn’t just for Nipsey, it’s for everyone who has been on this “marathon” for nearly 10 years with him. Granted this his first major label release, ‘Young Nipsino’ sounds like the seasoned vet we know he is on this debut.
Victory Lap Track List:
Bonus Track: Double Up (Ft. Belly & Dom Kennedy)
Bonus Track: Right Hand 2 God
If you want to Hear More Nipsey Hu$$le check out:
- Bullets Ain’t Got No Name Mixtapes Series: (1-3)
- The Marathon
- The Marathon Continues (TMC)
- Mailbox Money
- Slauson Boy