Remembering Nipsey Hussle

2:28 p.m. ET, April 11, 2019

Former president Barack Obama sends letter of condolence

Karen Civil, Nipsey Hussle's longtime friend, social media and marketing strategist, read a letter from former President Barack Obama.

In the letter, the former president said he knew of the rapper's music because of his daughters.

He praised the social activist for lifting up and investing in his South Los Angeles community.

"He set an example for young people to follow and is a legacy worthy to follow," Obama wrote.

2:30 p.m. ET, April 11, 2019

Frank Sinatra's "My Way" plays to moving tribute

Mourners got a glimpse into Nipsey Hussle's life with moving tribute showing photos of the slain rapper.

Frank Sinatra's "My Way" played as photos of Nipsey were displayed on a large screen during the service.

Here are a few of the photos shown during the tribute:

2:04 p.m. ET, April 11, 2019

A true celebration from the beginning

The memorial service for Nipsey Hussle kicked off with a DJ and a live band in a musical tribute to the slain rapper.

Songs including his hit "Victory Lap" were played.

"It's a victory baby," DJ Battlecat yelled to those gathered. "The marathon continues!"

"The Marathon" is the name of Nipsey's mixtape released in 2010.

1:59 p.m. ET, April 11, 2019

Here's the order of service for Nipsey Hussle's memorial

1:52 p.m. ET, April 11, 2019

Stevie Wonder, Jhene Aiko, Anthony Hamilton and Marsha Ambrosius set to perform

Maury Phillips/Getty Images for BET
Maury Phillips/Getty Images for BET

According to a program obtained by CNN, the farewell to Nipsey Hussle will be star-studded.

The legendary singer Stevie Wonder is set to perform.

His appearance is fulfillment of something the rapper apparently wanted for his service.

In his 2016 song “Ocean Views,” Hussle mentioned Wonder and described how he wanted to be remembered after his death.

"My precedures, stay crackin 'til my life's low / Then when I die, blue rag around my rifle / Hundred-thousand in my coffin, that's just life though / Play a Stevie Wonder song, smoke some flight, bro / Crack a pint of Actavis then pour in some Sprite, bro / Until that day I'm walking toward what's in my sights, though."

Singers Jhené Aiko, Anthony Hamilton and Marsha Ambrosius are also set to pay tribute to the artist who was gunned down March 31 in Los Angeles near a clothing store he owned. 

1:42 p.m. ET, April 11, 2019

SOON: Nipsey Hussle memorial service to begin

Just a quick programming note: The memorial service was scheduled to start at 1 p.m. ET but it appears they're slightly behind schedule. When it does begin, you should see it in the video player above. If you don't see the live stream (which currently shows an image of Nipsey), please refresh the page.

12:50 p.m. ET, April 11, 2019

Nipsey Hussle rapped about what he wanted for his funeral in a 2016 song

Before he was killed, Nipsey Hussle had already foreseen his funeral.

The rapper, who was born Ermias Asghedom, offered some lyrics in his 2016 song “Ocean Views” which described how he wanted to be remembered after his death.

"My precedures, stay crackin 'til my life's low / Then when I die, blue rag around my rifle / Hundred-thousand in my coffin, that's just life though / Play a Stevie Wonder song, smoke some flight, bro / Crack a pint of Actavis then pour in some Sprite, bro / Until that day I'm walking toward what's in my sights, though."

The "blue rag" would be symbolic of Hussle's affiliation with the Rollin 60's, a Los Angeles gang that is a part of the Crips -- something he didn't shy away from talking about.

His rise from the gang life to that of Grammy-nominated rap artist helped fuel his devotion to giving back to his community via entrepreneurship and activism.

1:44 p.m. ET, April 11, 2019

Nipsey Hussle's family remembers him as a "humble" man with an "unlimited intellectual capacity"

Nipsey Hussle (L), his mother, and his aunt attend the PUMA x Nipsey Hussle 2019 Grammy Nomination Party at The Peppermint Club on January 16, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.
Nipsey Hussle (L), his mother, and his aunt attend the PUMA x Nipsey Hussle 2019 Grammy Nomination Party at The Peppermint Club on January 16, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for PUMA

Nipsey Hussle wasn't just a rap star.

He was also a son, a brother, a nephew and a father who is being deeply mourned by his family.

His mother, Angelique Smith, talked to the Los Angeles Times about the legacy she hopes her leaves.

“I would like for him to be remembered as a humble, spirited, respectful man who had, since his childhood, had an extraordinary and unlimited intellectual capacity," she said.

The rapper's father, Dawit Asghedom, told the publication, "It was like he was sent by God to give some love to bring us together because that’s what his lyrics were saying, always. "

"He wasn’t scared of anything. [God] sent him to send a message. It looks like, ‘Your time is up because you have completed what I sent you to do.’ We all have a plan, but God has his own plan.," Asghedom said. "So he had completed what he needed to be doing and he did it early so [God] probably want to take him early too.”

12:35 p.m. ET, April 11, 2019

Crowds are lining up outside LA's Staples Center to remember Nipsey Hussle

ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images
ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

With seating limited to 21,000 inside the Staples Center, free tickets for the memorial were limited.

On Thursday morning crowds gathered outside of the Los Angeles venue to both be admitted and to pay tribute to the slain rapper.

"All hail, King Nip," said Latrell Parker, a barber and photographer from Fredericksburg, Virginia, who traveled across the country to honor the rapper.

Wearing a shirt bearing the rapper's image with the caption "The Marathon Continues" -- a nod to Nipsey's 2011 mixtape -- he told CNN that as an entrepreneur himself, he always admired how Nipsey taught others to pursue their goals.

"Take it as big as you want to make it, as far as you want to go," Parker said. "That's what Nipsey said. Being an entreprenur, you get to create your box and create how big you want your box to be, and I'm all for that. I'm all for getting out there creating your own opportunities, creating opportunities for your people. That's what Nipsey was about. It's just beautiful."

Rhenya Parker told CNN that the rapper's music had helped him in life.

"He really didn't care what color your were. He was just trying to help everybody be a better person," the Los Angeles resident told CNN.

"He's really took me though hard times that I was going through family-wise and just where I come from, and I think everyone can really relate to him in different aspects. Where he was from -- South Central, Crenshaw and Slauson -- I think people can really relate to him in many ways when it comes down to his music. He really touched a lot of people from all different cultures."