Snoop Dogg spoke about his late friend from the stage at the star's memorial in L.A. on Thursday

By Melody Chiu
April 11, 2019 05:25 PM

Snoop Dogg and Nipsey Hussle both grew up in gangs, but the rapper doesn’t want the world to focus on the late star’s past.

Taking the stage at Hussle’s memorial at the Staples Center in L.A., Snoop remembered the slain rapper (born Ermias Asghedom) by sharing a story that drew laughs from the audience and also emphasized the size of his friend’s heart.

Snoop Dog at Nispey Hussle's Funeral
Snoop Dogg at Nipsey Hussle’s memorial.
| Credit: Tidal

“The first time I got his CD, I didn’t listen to it … I was at football practice,” admitted Snoop. “Then about a week later, I’m rolling up a blunt on his CD, and I open the CD up … I was like ‘Damn, ‘cuz is hard!'”

“Long story short, we ended up connecting, we ended up making music together … we created a bond,” he continued. “We created something that was special.”

Recalling how the rappers were often compared to one another, Snoop insisted that Nipsey was very much his own man.

“When he first started, a lot of people was like, ‘He look like me.’ But I don’t think so. I think it was the fact that he was tall. He was lanky. He had braids. He had that L.A. mentality, and he claimed the gang so it was natural to be categorized.”

What the musicians did have in common, however, was a similar “spirit of love,” said Snoop.

“One thing that me and Nip had was a kind spirit … we met each other [and] it was like a magnet coming together,” he explained on stage. “We had the same spirit. But what was crazy was Nip mentality was stronger than a rapper that’s been in the game for 15 years.”

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Nipsey Hussle and girlfriend Lauren London
| Credit: Gregg DeGuire/Getty Images

Hussle died from gunshot wounds of both the head and torso, the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner confirmed last Monday. “Paramedics were called and [Hussle who was born Ermias Joseph Asghedom] was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead at 3:55 p.m.,” the coroner said, in a statement obtained by PEOPLE.

Eric Holder, 29, has since been charged with one count of murder, two counts of attempted murder and one count of possession of a firearm by a felon, according to a release from the Los Angeles County’s District Attorney’s Office.

On April 4, he entered a plea of not guilty in court. The aspiring rapper could face a maximum sentence of life in state prison if convicted.