Retail

Nipsey Hussle’s family to open Marathon store No 2: ‘Fulfilling his dream’


Nipsey Hussle’s family is planning to open “The Marathon Clothing store No 2” in Los Angeles this year, fulfilling a longtime dream of the late rapper.

Samiel Asghedom, Hussle’s older brother, said his family had purchased commercial property in the Melrose arts district in LA and will open The Marathon store No 2 there for the popular clothing brand.

“This second location is a dream that Nipsey always had, and it’s important that his kids are able to see his plans fulfilled,” said Asghedom, 39.

The original store at Crenshaw Boulevard and Slauson Avenue, is closed but will remain a site where fans can visit and pay tribute, he said. The surrounding commercial lot that the family owns will eventually be transformed into a community space offering free music lessons for youth, modeled after an impactful program Hussle completed as a kid.

The Melrose avenue shop, which is being remodeled and does not have a launch date yet, is just one piece of Asghedom’s efforts to carry on his brother’s legacy in LA. Last year, the Guardian revealed that the Los Angeles police department and city officials had targeted the family’s flagship south LA store on Slauson Avenue through a secretive surveillance program and failed eviction attempt.

A man walks on a basketball court mural of a profile view of Nipsey Hussle on a blue striped background.
Mural artist Gustavo Zermeno Jr walks on a Los Angeles basketball court mural he dedicated to slain rapper Nipsey Hussle. Photograph: Jae C Hong/AP

Fulfilling Hussle’s dreams for The Marathon

The Marathon clothing store launched formally in 2017, cementing Crenshaw and Slauson as the corner synonymous with Hussle’s name.

The project had been years in the making. Hussle had always had big ambitions. In one interview, the artist recalled being eight or nine years old and dreaming of being a professional musician signed to a label by the time he was 12. Success didn’t come that early, but Asghedom recalled his brother writing songs as a young teenager, and at one point collecting old computer parts from auctions and building a PC for himself so he could record music.

As a teen, Hussle started trying to make money at the lot on Crenshaw and Slauson by selling CDs out of his trunk. Across the street, Asghedom and his business partner, Stephen Donelson, used to sell clothing outside of a Louisiana Fried Chicken, though LA police department (LAPD) officers would frequently shut them down – sometimes, handcuffing them and seizing their merchandise. “We were like damn, you’re not doing this to nobody else selling food on the corner. We are trying to do something legit. And they were like, ‘No it’s not legit until you’ve got a location and pay taxes and pay rent like everybody else.’”

The brothers opened the Slauson Tees store in 2006, on the corner where Hussle had first sold CDs out of his car. The brothers’ businesses went through multiple iterations, until they launched The Marathon Clothing in 2017. Before its grand opening, though, Hussle had considered whether to move The Marathon Clothing to Melrose, another popular shopping area near West Hollywood where he thought they might have fewer conflicts with police, Asghedom said.

“We were almost swayed to just abandon it and open somewhere else – we knew it would work,” Asghedom said. “But Hussle was like, ‘Let’s just go ahead and bite the bullet and take whatever comes with it. The first Marathon clothing store has to be open on Crenshaw and Slauson.’”

The shop was a huge hit, though the LAPD presence on the corner intensified, according to the family and police records. As LA officials attempted to force the landlord to evict the store in 2019 – claiming it was a “nuisance” and site of gang activity – Hussle and his business partners instead bought the property from the owners.

Soon after, Hussle was killed outside of the store.

White tables in a clothing store display t-shirts with 'Crenshaw' written on them.
Samiel Asghedom and his brother Nipsey Hussle opened The Marathon Clothing store in Los Angeles in 2017. Photograph: Jorge Peniche

There has since been an outpouring of support for the brand online, Asghedom said, and the new store will offer a brick-and-mortar destination while carrying out Hussle’s vision for a Melrose shop.

Asghedom said it was important to also continue his brother’s legacy at Crenshaw and Slauson, and do it in a way that was not commercial. The family’s long-term vision for the original location is to build a youth center, reopen the Steve’s Barber Shop as a place to give free haircuts to youth, and to have some kind of museum or public site that commemorates Hussle: “We want a place where tourists and fans can come to pay homage versus a place that was all about sales.”

Hussle’s participation in a free music production program for youth in the Watts neighborhood had been transformative, Asghedom said, and Hussle wanted to replicate that in his neighborhood.

“Everybody out of that program, including my brother, ended up pursuing a successful music career,” he said. “Just a little effort and a little resources directed toward the youth can really make a big impact … So a youth center would be the best thing we could put there, in the vein of what Hussle stood for: something to inspire the youth and teach them skills that they can use to be productive and legitimate when they become adults.”

David Gross, Hussle’s business partner who helped him buy the lot, said that taking ownership of the lot was “profound and poetic” for Hussle and his drive to champion community entrepreneurship: “Whatever we do, it will be an enduring piece of Nipsey’s legacy and what he meant to the neighborhood … it will be there after I’m long gone.” Gross is also reopening Vector90, the south LA co-working space he and Hussle founded in 2018, which has been closed since the pandemic.

Two men give each other a high-five in the middle of a clothing store in this black and white photo.
Nipsey Hussle and his brother and business partner, Samiel Asghedom in 2011. Photograph: Jorge Peniche

The future of his unreleased music

There have also been ongoing rumors about Hussle’s unreleased music, including a recent announcement that new tracks would be released as an NFT, which Asghedom said was unauthorized and the family has since shut down.

But there are unreleased tracks, he said: “It’s quality, classic stuff. People are going to be really excited about it. There’s a lot of music that nobody has heard, all of it dope.”

Hussle had a very specific vision for Victory Lap, his debut (and final) studio album released in 2018, which meant that some tracks didn’t make the final cut: “There were records we knew could’ve been a radio smash,” Asghedom said. “We’d say, You gotta put that on the album,’ but he was like, ‘Nah, fuck the sales, fuck commercial success that this record could get. This record doesn’t fit Victory Lap. The album concept has to have a flow and a cadence and I want Victory Lap to be perfect.’”

But Asghedom said he doesn’t want to release the records as a “second album”: “For us, there will always only be one album: Victory Lap. That’s what Nip put out, and we don’t want to go around compiling new music and saying this is a second album.”

His hope is to release new music as part of the soundtrack to a documentary, to help tell the story of his brother’s life.

Asghedom said his family has been humbled by the outpouring of love for Hussle, seen in murals across LA and in the way so many people reference his story: “People from all walks of life have shown their love and respect for Nip: reporters, book writers, actors, doctors, lawyers, athletes, everybody … They understood what Nip was trying to do and the mantra and the movement of the Marathon. That’s what Nip wanted – to inspire people. I think that was his genius.”



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