JAY-Z paid tribute to the late rapper Nipsey Hussle during an intimate concert in New York on Friday night.
The 49-year-old rapper, who was a close friend and collaborator with Hussle, performed a freestyle song in honor of the slain musician and activist, who was killed in Los Angeles last month.
During his performance at Webster Hall in New York City, JAY-Z took a break from his set list to perform the impromptu rap.
In the freestyle song, which was captured in an Instagram post by BET Networks, the 22-time Grammy winner rapped: “Gentrify your own hood before these people do it/ Claim eminent domain and have your people move in/ That’s a small glimpse into what Nipsey was doing/ For anybody still confused as to what he was doing.
“The neighborhood designed to keep up trapped / They redline us so property declines if you by blacks / They depress the asset and take the property back / It’s a ruthless but ingenious plan in fact,” he continued.
JAY-Z addressed Hussle again later in the rap, saying, “I told neighborhood Nipsey stay close/ There’s a hundred million dollars on your schedule, lay low … I never dreamed he’d be killed in a place that he called home.”
Earlier this month, the hip-hop mogul shared a tribute to Hussle (born Ermias Asghedom) in the program of A Celebration of Life, the large public memorial for Hussle held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
“‘Top of the top,’ this is how Nip always greeted me in the morning as if he was reminding me that he was steadfastly holding on to the top of the top of his own life string and destiny!” JAY-Z wrote in the program, obtained by Complex.
“The world just got to see a flash of your brilliance. You were a curious soul who was evolving at a speed that was truly inspiring. The seeds you have planted are already bearing fruit,” he continued.
“The outpouring of admiration is testimony to the love and respect you’ve farmed. Sleep well King. The Marathon continues as a line of energy for all of us to consider. LOVE AND LIGHT JAY,” JAY-Z concluded.
The two rappers connected back in 2013, when Hussle released his independent album Crenshaw, selling the CDs for $100 a piece. Hearing of the entrepreneurial rapper’s new project, JAY-Z reached out and arranged to purchase 100 copies of the disc for $10,000.
Hussle died on March 31 after being shot on the street near his clothing store is in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Los Angeles; he was 33 years old. The next day, the Los Angeles Police Department named a suspect and released a statement asking the public’s help in locating suspect Eric Holder, 29.
Holder has since been charged with one count of murder, two counts of attempted murder and one count of possession of a firearm by a felon, according to a release from the Los Angeles County’s District Attorney’s Office.
On April 4, Holder entered a plea of not guilty in court. He could face a maximum sentence of life in state prison if convicted.
Following the news of Hussle’s death, his fans and peers — including JAY-Z’s wife Beyoncé — shared their condolences on social media.
“I’m praying with every ounce of my heart for your family,’ Beyoncé wrote in an Instagram post. “Rest In Peace, Nipsey.”