Oakland unveils new mural paying tribute to rapper Nipsey Hussle

OAKLAND (KGO) -- If you stop and look around near the intersection of Grand and Ellita Avenues, a brightly-colored mural of Grammy-nominated rapper Nipsey Hussle is sure to catch your eye.

"He was a strong brother amongst his community, amongst our community," Timothy Bluitt, the artist, said. "You know, he brought people together and that's why you know, I wanted to create Nip."

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Bluitt painted the mural of Nipsey Hussle on the wall of the Grand Express convenience store in just two days.

Hussle was gunned down outside of his clothing store in south L.A. in March. His death shook fans across the country.

"He freed himself and came back and freed his people," Bluitt said.

Darryl Reed is Bluitt's uncle and sponsored the mural project through his foundation, The Darryl Reed Foundation.

Reed lives the message Hussle preached. He broke out of a bad situation and is giving back to the neighborhood. Reed was incarcerated for 28 years.

"I felt like it was a perfect opportunity for me to use his death, which was a tragedy for Nipsey, and make something positive out of it," Reed said. "What I want young people in Oakland to feel when they see this mural is this, we've got to learn how to resolve conflict without violence."

Grand Express also has a cultural connection to Hussle.

"I told my pops like Nipsey and I come from the same roots," Gibe Habtay said.

Mengs Habtay, Gibe's father, has owned Grand Express for a decade. Mengs is from Eritrea, like Hussle's father. When Mengs was approached about the mural, he couldn't say no.
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