Nipsey Hussle had a reputation for one of the wisest minds in the rap industry. But he also demonstrated a humanitarian side that you don’t often see from rappers of his level. A 247HH interview highlights Nipsey Hussle on survival mode and how it keeps us in a vicious cycle of desperation. He then gives the key to escaping this dangerous mentality, and it’s all about energy.
Nipsey Hussle on Survival Mode
“There’s no one answer to how you change the hood or change the reality of what goes on… what you have to think about is when you don’t have resources, you’re in survival mode. So being in survival mode automatically rules out a lot of things because you don’t care about morality. Because you don’t experience morality, you experience the need to survive.”
He says that focusing on getting what you need makes you lose sight of your humanity. The lack resources such as food, clothing or shelter clouds your judgement. You can forget about kindness and what’s fair. This makes you less moral, and the consequences of that can appear in your own attitude to people and situations.
The interview with Nipsey Hussle on survival mode reveals a lot of the social problems that contribute to this mentality. Above all, he says, the key lies in economics– in creating constructive spaces instead of destructive ones. He mentions the prison system and the lack of positive cultural institutions. These are important because they give the youth a safe space to explore and learn while staying off the streets.
“Empowering people economically is how you really impact, but I don’t know if it’s about dropping a bag of money in the hood. I think it’s about impacting culture in a way that the mentality changes, and then also that the institutions that exist, it’s just a prison institution really, it’s like a pipeline of jail. There aren’t any constructive institutions for real that meet you ground level. It’s just like ‘if you fuck up we’ve got somewhere to put you’, so it’s like a fear-based, preventative approach, than like, some love. And like ‘we know you’re all going through a struggle, and we know you all could use an art center or a studio compound or an entrepreneurial space’. It’s like ‘whatever’s going on, if you can’t figure it out we’re gonna lock you up bro, so, whatever it is it’s on you all’.”
He then goes on to explain how learning to deal with his situation changed his attitude.
“I think if you get people out of survival mode they start thinking different. I did, you know, when I figured out how to get myself out of the situation, my approach to life and people was different– I wasn’t so angry, I didn’t have my guard up, I wasn’t so aggressive, I wasn’t so expecting, “if you ain’t helping me fuck you”, that wasn’t the mentality anymore.”
We Get What We Give
Giving advice to today’s youth is tough considering that everyone has their own struggles. He mentions that it would even be ‘dishonest’ to do so. Likewise, he states that “there’s context for everything,” and “nothing happens in a vacuum.”
However, Nipsey Hussle says that what every single person can do to change their own destiny starts with their energy:
“But I will say that you’re gonna lay in the bed you make, you’re not gonna get away with nothing in terms of the energy. You might beat the camera or the police. They might not catch you for what you’re doing, but the energy is always gonna return to you. So when you’re just living in this cycle of being negative all day and just putting out negativity and that’s the only energy you’re putting out, it’s going to return to you in a different form than you put it out in. So I would just say master your energy.”
The energy we put out comes from our own decision to change. Avoiding these personal decisions is only cheating ourselves. And as Hussle says, the energy always comes back to us. Our best option is to try our best to focus on thinking and working towards positive goals.
We can also learn from Nipsey Hussle on survival mode that none of us have to do it alone. At the end of the interview he gives some examples to see how others have dealt with their situations. He cites looking at Kendrick Lamar, or at his own example of rising from ‘hopelessness’. We just have to see what they did, and how they “wiggled their way through it,” and use it to inspire ourselves to change.