Nipsey Hussle may be a businessman, but he is also an artist. As an artist, he knows exactly what goes into making a genuine album, which is why as he revealed in a new interview with Complex, he left off big feature records to make sure Victory Lap was all about his story.
"I had big records,” he said. “I had a record with Cardi B, I had a record with Future, and these [were] probably hits. But Victory Lap won't be Victory Lap if you go get to track 9 or track 10 and hear, ‘oh, he's trying to cover the club record’ or ‘he trying to get to the female audience with this one.’ I wanted it to be just a person telling their life story over the course of an album.”
Nip's approach here is very admirable. Releasing a record with Cardi B or Future would have increased the likelihood of him landing a Billboard hit—to date, Nipsey's only entry on the Hot 100 is as a guest feature on YG's 2012 single "Snitches Ain't," which peaked at No. 100. But rather than go for the archetype records and commercial success, Nipsey chose to stay himself and tell his story.
Not only did this make Victory Lap a stronger, more focused album—which led to a GRAMMY nomination for Best Rap Album—but this also serves as a lesson to other artists: the feature is not always right for the album.
Sometimes a big name may look good, but doesn't help tell the complete story on your record. Always privilege the narrative of the music, not the hit-potential of a record.