“Higher” by DJ Khaled (Ft. Nipsey Hussle & John Legend)
This is an ode to progress, as the artists (particularly John Legend) express being on a path which ‘keeps them going higher’, as in ascending to new heights of success. But it is actually Nipsey’s raps which most of the song is comprised of. And by studying them we can see that in this case the artists are not defining success solely by monetary gain. Instead Hussle’s first verse primarily serves as a shoutout to his grandmother and father for overcoming adversity and his wife and children as being respectively representative of his love and his future.
The second verse falls more in line with what we would expect from Hussle as it is largely based on gun violence, including Nipsey’s own participation in such. However, within the overall context of the song, this section acts as a reminder of the challenging circumstances he overcame in his quest to ascend “higher”. In fact he even recognizes that it was not his intellect which allowed him to survive the streets but rather “God’s grace”.
So in conclusion, Nipsey Hussle raps as the frontman on a track centered on a persistent attitude to “keep going higher” despite whatever obstacles may lie in the way. Indeed the presentation of such themes is what DJ Khaled is primarily known for.
Facts about “Higher”
- Both DJ Khaled and John Legend have fondly recounted being on the set of the music video of “Higher” with Nipsey Hussle just days before he was murdered on 31 March 2019. Accordingly, this was the last music video Nipsey ever filmed. Moreover the video itself serves as a tribute to Hussle.
- The producers of “Higher” decided to donate the profits generated from the single to Nipsey Hussle’s two children, Kross and Emani Asghedom.
- Epic Records and Sony Music Group released “Higher” on 17 May 2019, along with the rest of DJ Khalid’s Father of Asahd. It was supposed to come out earlier as a promotional single to the album but was delayed due to Nipsey’s untimely death.
- The writers of this song are Henry Davis and Kevin Cossom in addition to the three headline artists.
- Streetrunner and Tarik Azzouz also assisted DJ Khaled in producing the track.
On 26th January, 2020 (at the 62nd Annual Grammys), “Higher” won a Grammy in the “Best Rap/Sung Performance” category. In winning this coveted award, it beat 4 other international hit songs, including the following: