A video taken in February 2018 of a fan meeting Nipsey Hussle for the first time in Phoenix has gone viral again — this time in light of the the tragic shooting death of the rapper Sunday.
The video was taken and shared at the time by 21-year-old Angel Gonzales. She captured an emotional fan named Don Isreal telling Hussle he was his sole inspiration for his own music career dreams. He then rapped a verse from one of his songs for him.
“On everything I love I feel like I was supposed to meet you today. I put my heart out because you’re someone special to me, bro,” he says to the rapper in the video. “I listen to you every day. Every day, Nip.”
Gonzales told BuzzFeed News she works for local radio station Power 98.3 and it was her first day on the job when she was sent to work the event at record store that hosted a signing for Hussle.
“I wasn’t aware of who Nipsey Hussle was [at the time],” Gonzales admitted. “After that day, I listened to his album Victory Lap and I fell in love.”
Gonzales said during the event she started recording their interaction because she was struck by how “generous” Hussle was to Isreal.
“For Nipsey to sit there and listen for almost a two-minute rap while he has other fans waiting is the most generous thing ever, which is why I recorded it,” she said.
She also found it particularly hilarious that, at the end of the clip, the rapper playfully ragged on Isreal a bit for not having social media accounts to promote his music.
“You got no Twitter no IG or nothing?” Hussle asks Isreal, to which Isreal responds no, and that he’s “trying.”
“It’s free,” Hussle joked. Everyone in the room, including Isreal, bursts out laughing.
Gonzales then posted the video on Twitter, where it went viral at the time with over 21,000 retweets.
The video has now resurfaced, and has gone more viral. One re-post by user @Omynee_Hurts has now been retweeted over 55,000 times.
Sadly, according to social media posts and a friend who confirmed the news to BuzzFeed News, Isreal died late last year. BuzzFeed News has reached out to family of Isreal for comment.
Before Isreal’s reported death, Gonzales told BuzzFeed News she was able to connect with him over Facebook.
“He was so happy,” she said after he realized that moment he shared with Hussle had gone viral. Gonzales then encouraged him to finally make a Twitter account for himself.
A day after his chance meeting with his idol, Isreal created a Twitter account.
His first tweet, dated Feb. 11, 2018, was a wink to Hussle. “I made twitter cause its free #GodGotIt,” he wrote.
Then, a month later, Hussle retweeted one of Isreal’s tweets about their meeting, and commented, “My boy Isreal went and got him a twitter ... y’all follow him ASAP he’s a fearless creative who spoke his success into existence.”
For Gonzales, her recording means more than ever today. Even though she did not know who Hussle was at the time of the recording, she quickly became a fan after that fateful day.
“I love the positive messages he sends in his music. I was upset I didn’t know who he was the whole time,” she said.
Earlier this week, Hussle was shot and killed in the parking lot of his store, The Marathon Clothing, near where he’d grown up in South Los Angeles.
Outside of being a lauded rapper, Hussle was also respected for his contributions and investment back into the community that raised him. In February, the rapper had bought the strip mall where his store was and planned to turn it into a condo development with other businesses.
He was particularly interested in tech and “creat[ing] a bridge between the inner cities and Silicon Valley” as a means to improve his community, he once said to Hot 97.
Other fans meeting Nipsey Hussle at the event in Phoenix.
When news broke of the rapper’s untimely death, Gonzales said she was devastated, and committed to relistening to all of the songs that initially sold her on him as an artist, and then him as a person.
“I felt like I grew a connection with Nipsey over the last year. He means so much to me,” said Gonzales.
“Rest in Peace to Don Isreal [and] Nipsey.”