“The first thing I got from Nipsey Hussle was how intelligent he was,” begins a newly published XXL essay with words by Wiz Khalifa. The piece, published on his birthday, is a reflection on meeting the late West Coast rapper. It was the night before the 2010 XXL Freshman Cover shoot. The two, alongside Big Sean, French Montana and more, “vibed out,” in the studio, ate halal food and discussed smoking papers versus blunts. It reads as a harmonious moment on the precipice of the explosion of their careers. 

As for Nip’s aforementioned intelligence, Wiz later expands on his impression. The group recorded a song together called “I’m On It” for Curren$y and Wiz recalls Nip in the studio, “After he did his verse, he came out of the booth, chopped it up and put it into place to make the timing sound perfect. I’m like, This is a straight-hood nigga from Crenshaw—a real Crip—but he knows technology. This dude is like 20 steps ahead of the game because he knows how to do his own shit. That’s what made him stand apart from every artist I was working with at that time.”

Wiz also mentions how important knowing Nip was when moving to L.A., “If I did anything charitable for the kids or the neighborhood, Nipsey’s always been there. He’s always been somebody who I could count on and be a familiar face. If I’m somewhere and there’s a lot of people I don’t know and I see Nip there, I feel comfortable because we both got the same agenda.”

Check out the full piece over at XXL.