‘The Next Big Thing’ Winner Pretty Yellow Talks ‘Mentor’ Nipsey Hussle Passing Right Before Giving Birth

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The inaugural season of BET’s docu-music competition series “The Next Big Thing” wrapped in September with Louisiana MC Pretty Yellow taking home the title.

And it’s just the beginning for the young star.

Pretty Yellow has the honor of not only being the first champion of the show that debuted this fall but has also been mentored by Nipsey Hussle. The show, which debuted in July, was filmed prior to Nipsey’s killing in March, when accused gunman Eric Holder opened fire outside Nipsey’s Marathon Clothing Store in South Los Angeles.

“His energy is just everything,” Pretty Yellow recalled to Atlanta Black Star on Oct. 7 of the late rapper. “It was dope. We vibed out. He tells me that less is more when it comes to making my music. We already established that I know how to rap. You just gotta have certain things that is gonna stick to your people. It was just a vibe all the way through.”

During an episode 9 moment of Nipsey’s mentoring of Pretty Yellow, the young performer voiced concern over having to clean up her usually expletive-filled lyrics for that week’s challenge for AT&T’s “Dream In Black” platform. The multi-channel program is meant to “co-create culture with African American Millennials,” according to the agency that helped the cellphone provider create the push.

“I’m a little salty because at this point, y’all messing with the drip, you feel me?” she said in a confessional. Asking how Nipsey felt she should navigate the challenge, the “Grinding All My Life” rapper advised she remain true to who she is as an artist.

“You can’t water yourself down,” he said. “You just gotta be clever of how to go about getting it off. You gon’ have to challenge yourself to express in that format.”

Pretty Yellow’s gratitude toward Nipsey runs deep. After giving birth to her daughter on March 31, the rapper penned him a note from her hospital bed. As she did, she learned that her mentor had been gunned down.

“It was just so crazy. I just wanted to thank him for the experience and taking the time out with me,” she said to ABS of what her letter entailed. “I felt like it was genuine. The foundation was solid, as he said.”

The rapper said she was lying in bed and got calls from the show’s producers telling her that Nipsey had died.

nipsey hussle
Pretty Yellow (left) and Nipsey Hussle (right). (Photos: Aaron J. Thornton/WireImage, Tiffany Rose/WireImage)

“He passed right before my daughter was born, the same day. So it was just crazy. Crazy day,” she said before noting that becoming a mom has pushed her to “go harder” in her career.

“I just want her to always follow her dreams,” she said of her 7-month-old daughter. “I don’t ever want her to get discouraged. No matter what come at her, I want her to go after what’s for her and what she wants, you know what I’m sayin’? So I have to be that example.”

Part of being an example means keeping focused on her career. Pretty Yellow disclosed that right now she’s working on keeping up the momentum from the show “getting out as much exposure as we can.” She’s already got an album finished that she’s teased features a “really, really dope singer.” A release date has yet to be announced.

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