Nipsey Hussle finally delivered his long awaited album Victory Lap after 4 years and countless release day push backs. The album was released independent last week, February 16th, and is expected to hit the top 10 Debut Albums on Billboard’s Top 200 Album charts.
Since the announcement of the album back in 2013/2014, the streets have been waiting for Victory Lap and he DID NOT DISSAPOINT. Victory Lap is one of those albums that will leave a lasting impression and bring back nostalgic feelings of when you heard the album and what you were doing when you heard it. The minute “Victory Lap” with Stacy Barthe played through my speakers, I knew we had something different with Victory Lap…
From the jump, the hollow vocals from Stacy and dark piano chords on the intro track leave a haunting feeling and sets the tone. While the lyrics are not deep and dark in nature (actually more motivational than anything) it’s something about the heavy bass and whistling synthesizer that brings you to a deep place with Victory Lap. Even the track “Dedication” ft. Kendrick Lamar offers moments of hollow chords to align with the deep bass. But make no mistake, Nipsey never cheats us on the West Coast vibes. Songs like “Rap Ni**as”, “Last Time That I Checc’d”, and “Succa Proof” capitalize on the notorious west coast G-Funk sound and embodies the California feel. There were several times throughout the album, I felt like I was a real Californian and I was bumping music on Crenshaw with Nipsey and his homies. From a production standpoint, Victory Lap is unique in its ability to bridge the generational sounds of west coast music. Not only does he use the rolling basslines with the synthesizer, Nipsey does a great job of incorporating this generation’s use of kick drums and instrumentation. He also adds a good amount of sampling on the project. For “Blue Laces 2” he gives us a smooth sample from Willie Hutch’s “Hospital Prelude of Love Theme”, and even adds an east coast tribute for “Hussle and Motivate” , which he sample’s Jay-Z’s “Hard Knock Life”. The production on Victory Lap is nothing short of quality and the vibe is certainly smooth, laid back, with some dark tones/tempos.
So let’s get to the real standout feature on Nipsey’s album other than his production. His lyrics. There’s a shortage of complete albums with solid lyrics these days and Victory Lap fills in that gap. It is an album full of inspiration, stories of dedication, survival, and most of all lessons. The respect that the streets have for Nipsey is evident so it is no surprise that Nipsey took this time to spread wisdom and knowledge on this album. While many of the tracks have notable lyrics, it was one line in particular on “Loaded Bases” that caught my attention.
See it’s a couple ni**as every generation, I wasn’t s’posed to make it out, but I decode the Matrix. And when they get to speak, it’s a like a coded language
I know there were many other powerful lines in this album, but bear with me…that one just took me by storm. The entire album feels like the streets bible and it drops countless gems to those who come from the hood or folks who are trying to make it out of their current situation. Similar to the Jeezy effect, Nipsey give you a glimpse into his journey and offers some solid advice on how to make it out of tough times.
Victory Lap is what the culture and real OG’s needed to restore faith in the rap game. Nipsey Hussle has proved himself to be genuine and authentic in his craft and it is clear as he took his time with Victory Lap. But rest assured Nip, the drop was right one time.
Stream the album on Spitify below