It’s always great to hear music from artists I haven’t listened to before. Of course, I’ve heard of Nipsey Hussle, but when people talked about him, they weren’t talking much about his raps; they were talking about what he does outside the studio. They made it seem like he was more gangsta than rapper. I always knew he was a rapper, though, but I’ve never seen people say he was a good rapper. And unfortunately, until now, I was never put on to him. Even though he’s had a solid amount of mixtapes, Victory Lap is Nipsey Hussle’s first official album and the day it dropped, I saw a lot of folks saying that Nipsey dropped a classic album, they were saying this was the album the streets have been waiting for and after listening to it a few times, I could definitely understand why.
Victory Lap has 16 tracks (2 of those are bonus tracks) and runs for 1 hour 6 minutes. It’s good to see that artists aren’t making super long albums like Migos did with Culture II.
The first song ‘Victory Lap’ starts with a sample I heard in an Arctic Monkey’s song called ‘Knee Socks’, but it is actually sung by Stacy Barthe. Nipsey then raps over the sample with a soulful beat. He creates a picture of the scenes he’s rapping about and it’s very vivid. He sets the tone for the rest of the album very well, letting listeners know who he is, where he’s from, what he’s come from, and why he’s doing it; rapping. ‘Rap Niggas’, the second song, is a hard song, with a beat that slaps, and the toughest lyrics to go with it. Nipsey raps with intensity and his rhyme schemes are insane. He tells us he’s not like these other rap niggas because he’s a real one ‘and that’s a fact nigga!’. I think that on Victory Lap, Nipsey chooses beats and tones that either sound like ‘Victory Lap’ or ‘Rap Niggas’.
Nipsey Hussle uses a variety of beats and flows on Victory Lap. He samples other songs impeccably, especially on ‘Hussle & Motivate’, a fascinating song which samples ‘Hard Knock Life’ by Jay – Z. I also recognized that he sampled ‘West District’ by PartyNextDoor, and ‘Knee Socks’ by Arctic Monkeys, which I already mentioned. The album also features many other artists including YG, Kendrick Lamar, The Dream, Dom Kennedy, and CeeLo Green. There are a few other features, too, from artists I have not heard of. The important thing is that they all did their job.
Victory Lap starts off strong and continues that pace throughout the rest of the album, which is tough for most rappers. Some rappers have a lot of fillers in their albums, and I believe that it is because they don’t want to put that hard work in to make every song great. For his first album, Nipsey made sure to work hard on every song, and that’s really the only option. Victory Lap was delayed many times because of stupid label politics, but he didn’t lose sight of what he wanted and kept working. He stayed dedicated to his work and didn’t lose the hope that he’d break through. It’s fitting that he has a song called ‘Dedication’ on the album and, even better, it features Kendrick Lamar, who, needless to say, goes off. Hard work, sacrifice, and patience; the dedication. And because of that, I think that Victory Lap is an inspirational album, the album has a common theme throughout that tells listeners to not let themselves be held back and keep doing you because if you keep working, you’ll get to where you want, in anything you want to do in life. Rap is just a metaphor. Unless you want to be a rapper. When you listen to rappers, they make putting the work in seem easy but it’s not, they have to work hard everyday if they want to stay in the position they’re in, or get bigger. There are no shortcuts to success.
I would listen to this album again, I mean, I’ve already played it at least 6 times before writing this, plus listening to it while writing. My favorite songs on the album are ‘Hussle & Motivate’, ‘Succa Proof’, and ‘Rap Niggas’. I would rate Victory Lap a smooth 8.5/10, meaning it is a great album but it is not perfect. I can see why fans would call it a classic album, but to me, it’s just a great album. I think that if I was from L.A I would consider it a classic because that’s where Nipsey’s from. I imagine myself cruising down L.A streets blasting Victory Lap with the windows down on a nice summer night.