NPR for Northern Colorado
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

'Bullets Ain't Got No Name': Keeping Kids Out Of Gangs

Rapper Nipsey Hussle was shot dead this weekend at the age of 33.
Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for BET
Rapper Nipsey Hussle was shot dead this weekend at the age of 33.

This weekend, Grammy-nominated rapper Nipsey Hussle, 33, was shot and killed in front of a store he owned in south Los Angeles.

He was scheduled to meet with officials from The Los Angeles Police Department the following day about how to reduce gang violence in the city.

The musician-turned-community activist was born Ermias Asghedom and was associated with the Rollin 60s Neighborhood Crips gang, although it is unclear if his death was gang-related.

Last year, he told The L.A. Times about his experience coming up in music, and how he managed to change his future.

“I grew up in gang culture,” he said. “We dealt with death, with murder. It was like living in a war zone, where people die on these blocks and everybody is a little bit immune to it. I guess they call it post-traumatic stress, when you have people that have been at war for such a long time. I think L.A. suffers from that because it’s not normal yet we embrace it like it is after a while.”

Ultimately, his goal was to combine his music interests with his tech sensibilities — partly due to financial constraints.

Hussle opened a store, a STEM-focused co-working space and engaged in other local efforts to counter the culture of violence in his neighborhood.

The FBI reports 33,000 street, motorcycle and prison gangs are active in the U.S. today. A 2012 CDC analysis of large cities in 17 states found that gang violence — including homicides — is “ a significant public health problem,” particularly among youth.

Why don’t we hear as much about the epidemic of street gangs anymore? Why do people continue to join these groups? What do we know about effective ways to combat gang violence and who is leading that work?

Produced by Jonquilyn Hill.


Terrell Williams, DJ Chubb E Swagg, worked with rapper Nipsey Hussle; @DjChubbESwagg

Hannah Dreier, Reporter, ProPublica; @hannahdreier

Mark Culliton, CEO, College Bound Dorchester; @mculliton

Francisco Gallardo, Program director, Gang Rescue And Support Project

Alex Ghiz, Supervisory Special Agent, Federal Bureau of Investigation

For more, visit

© 2019 WAMU 88.5 – American University Radio.

Copyright 2020 WAMU 88.5. To see more, visit WAMU 88.5.