‘Neighborhood Nipsey’ Hussle dropped into our neighborhood for the Houston show of his Victory Lap Tour at the House of Blues.

Nipsey Hussle
Photo: David Wright

Houston turned out in full force for Nipsey Hussle’s Wednesday night show at the House of Blues, hosted by Premier Live Experience, an independent live entertainment company based out of the DFW. In true music journalist fashion, I completely ignored the 7 p.m. time doors opened (because yeah right…) and showed up at 9 p.m. when, of course, the show still hadn’t started. A DJ was spinning everyone’s favorite songs in your usual rap show fashion while people finessed their way to the front of the standing room only show that was packed from front to back.

Out of seemingly nowhere, Hussle hopped on the stage and started going in – no opener, just him, appropriately starting off with “Victory Lap,” the title song from his latest release, his first studio album ever. I know, I know…it seems like there should have been more albums, but that’s why this one is so important – it’s literally a victory lap around all the haters that said he wouldn’t make it, around all the b.s. he’s had to put up with in the industry, and around his personal angels and demons that he’s had to overcome. His first commercial release after a string of mixtapes over the last 13 years, there is no way a rap fan cannot support Nipsey Hussle. It’s arguable that he’s the Cardi B of his style – you just want him to win so badly. The reason for this is because, as his followers have seen, and as he was quick to remind us early in the show, he really isn’t like all these other “Rap N*ggas.

Nipsey Hussle
Photo: David Wright

Nipsey performed all our favorite songs, even going back and darn near listening to us perform songs from Crenshaw for him while he watched us. The show was super light on guest appearances, as one’s first tour for their first album should be. However, this may have affected the show negatively, as it was clear after about an hour or so that the energy was crawling. Nipsey seemed to be running out of breath, and people were talking and leaving. It was a work night, so you have to count the fact that that many people even showed up as a testimony to Nip’s dopeness, but the energy coupled with the 2-hour wait time for the artist to show up on stage (enough time for people to get too high and so drunk they have to leave) was a lot to endure. After hearing my personal favorites from the album, “Hussle and Motivate” and “Status Symbol 3,” I, too, had to call it a night.

For a debut album tour, I will give it to Nipsey for packing out the House of Blues from front to back, including the mezzanine and VIP. That’s not a small venue, and it was hard to maneuver even my tiny frame around all the people rapping at the top of their lungs. The most intriguing part of the show was the live band. You haven’t lived until you’ve heard your favorite rappers backed by live musicians, and it’s usually a move they pull at the end of their careers to mix it up. Nipsey has certainly been in the game longer than some of your favorite rappers, and has earned OG status even before dropping an official album. He’s definitely earned the right to tour and create as he sees fit, and we’re all here for the rapper to play the game any way he wishes.

Nipsey Hussle
Photo: David Wright

Nipsey Hussle
Photo: David Wright

Nipsey Hussle Photo: David Wright

Nipsey Hussle
Photo: David Wright

Nipsey Hussle
Photo: David Wright