Who can forget the first time they heard Jay-Z’s Hard Knockn Life (Ghetto Anthem). That first time that you hear the iconic ‘Annie’ sample singing, “It’s the hard knock life for us”. Or the first time you hear the street hustler that is Jay-Z spit: “From standin’ on the corners boppin’, to drivin’ some of the hottest cars New York has ever seen”. It becomes immediately undeniable that this song is more than just a hit, it’s culturally defining and the very definition of timeless. The same timeless feeling Nipsey Hussle has created with his track “Hustle & Motivate” which is the 7th track off his critically acclaimed album Victory Lap.
Hustle & Motivate samples from Jay-Z’s “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)”, but what is most impressive is that it does not sample any of the lyrics or the chorus. It samples the soul of the record which is the beat. When Annie says “IT’S A HARD KNOCK LIFE”, you feel that. The same feeling Mark the 45 King felt when sampling the record. When Jay-Z says “I’m from the school of the hard knocks, you must not, Let outsiders violate our blocks and my plot”, you feel that.
So now that it’s Nipsey’s turn he doesn’t waste a bar and makes you feel every word when spits:
Pull up in motorcades, I got a show today
It’s all I’m tryna do, hustle and motivate
Choppers a throwaway, hustle the Hova way
That’s why they follow me, huh? They think I know the way
With a classic sample and a west coast bounce it’s clear that Nipsey Hussle was looking to create a great song and he executed the only way he knew. The Nipsey way! He also recognized that the importance of great songs in this new streaming world. Because a great song is way better than a hit song. Check your playlists and see what I mean.
Back to Jay-Z, he just didn’t stop with an iconic song he also created an iconic video to help further push the record into greatness. As we remember:
Nipsey Hussle is also looking to make this song iconic with the release of his video to “Hussle and Motivate”. Check it out: