The unfortunate death of NBA all timer Kobe “Bean” Bryant, Gianna Bryant, John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Christina Mauser, Ara Zobayan, Sarah Chester and Payton Chester shocked the entire world.
Kobe’s death hit so hard because we’ve watched Kobe grow up. From high school hoops phenom, to one of the greatest players to ever touch a basketball to his post basketball transition where we saw him enjoy fatherhood, win an Oscar and give back to the game he loved so much by mentoring and training young basketball stars such as Trae Young, Jason Tatum and Giannis Antetokounmpo among others.
Kobe’s impact wasn’t just felt in the sports world either. Kobe loved music, rap in particular piqued his interest. In 2000 Kobe Bryant released his debut album “K.O.B.E” on Sony records.
Pretty incredible feat when you consider the fact that he won his first championship in that same year We all know how relentlessly Kobe worked at the game of basketball, so for him to drop an album in the midst of winning his first of five ships’ just adds to his legend.
Many Hip-Hop artists have referenced the Laker great in their music one of my personal favorite references came from Drake in 2012 on Rick Ross’s smash hit “Stay Schemin” .
“Kobe ’bout to lose a hundred fifty M’s. Kobe my n-gga, I hate it had to be him. B-tch, you wasn’t with me shootin’ in the gym”. – Drake
The Hip-Hop world loved Kobe as much as he loved Hip-Hop his anal retentiveness towards the game of basketball, was an example to young kids to work harder than who ever is working the hardest. Below I highlight my favorite Kobe references in Hip-Hop.
Chief Keef – Kobe
“I been ballin’ so damn hard I swear I think that I’m Kobe. Young bull of this rap shit but I think that I’m Kobe”.
I was 15 years old and in high school when this song was released, at the time Chief Keef was the man! Keef was the face of Chicago’s “Drill” movement and his impact was felt in New York City just as much as it was felt in the Chi. Chief Keef is only a year older than I am so he grew up watching Kobe just like I did, this explains why he correlated “Ballin” to Kobe Bryant and named a song after him.
Kendrick Lamar – The Heart Pt. 2
“One hood with 20 four-four’s like a cloned Kobe Bryant.”
In 2010, Kendrick Lamar was far from the Kendrick we know today before the Grammys and accolades we were watching a young Compton rapper who spit as if his life and everyone else he knew lives depended on him delivering hot bars. Growing up in California there is no doubt Kendrick was a fan of Kobe Bryant.
Kanye West – See Me Now ( Feat Beyonce, Charlie Wilson, Big Sean)
“They say G.O.O.D. Music like the new Miami Heat, shit. Comparin’ them to us, man they gotta add Kobe” – Big Sean
In 2010 LeBron James shook up the NBA world when he announced on ESPN that he would be packing his bags to head to South Beach to link with D Wade and Chris Bosh to join forces in Miami. From that day forward, every one especially Big Sean (“Everybody know I’m coming soon like LeBron’s ring”) knew Bron’s first ring was imminent. However on See Me Now, Big Sean name dropped Kobe who had already won 5 rings at the time and was viewed as an all time great.
Wale – Barry Sanders
“Interscope feeling like Charlotte when they traded Kobe you know? But I I let if go, Rozay finna re up. He got himself a Kobe and they stuck with Vlade Divac”
In 2011, Wale had just released his sophomore album “Ambition”. That year Wale also dropped his 11.1.11 theory mixtape featuring the cut Barry Sanders. Fresh out of a deal he obviously wasn’t feeling Wale threw some shade at his former label while bigging up Rick Ross for finding a diamond in the ruff. The Hornets are still feeling the effects of that trade till this day.
A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie – Still Think About You
“I shoot up and lean back on some Kobe s—/ They don’t know how to pass on some Kobe s—.”
In 2016, the sound of New York City’s Hip-Hop would make a monumental change. A young Bronx artist by the name of A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie pushed his city to embrace the melodic sounds of the south by infusing New York City lifestyle with it. Although A Boogie is from the Bronx, Kobe’s legendary Rucker Park game and his sponsoring of Harlem’s Rice High School basketball team made Kobe loved throughout the city.
Young Thug – Check
“I promise I won’t ever quit, b-tch, I’m Kobe and I whip that white, you can snow me”.
Thugger! Young Thug has become arguably this generation’s most influential artist in Hip-Hop. It all started in 2014, with his debut album “Barter 6”. On Check, (one of my personal favorite Thug tracks) he vowed to never quit like Kobe. Kobe literally taught us quitting was never an option.
Lil Wayne – Kobe Bryant
“Who they want? They want Kobe. And what he want? He want the trophy. The victory and the glory, no Shaq or Robert Horry.”
Like Kobe Bryant, Lil Wayne has been considered by his peers as one of the best to ever do it. As they say “greatness knows greatness.”
Drake – Views
“Now me and Kobe doin’ shots the night before the game. Still drop 40 with liquor in my system.”
Drake can relate to Kobe Bryant’s endless pursuit of perfection. When you’re the top dog in your sport that’s all that can truly motivate you.
Fabolous – Black Mamba Freestyle
“Them game winning shots you gotta wanna take it. Same way you could miss it is the same way you could make it .That’s that Kobe 4th Quarter shit”
Kobe Bryant and Fabolous have history, dating back to Fab’s “Trade It All Part 2” video. Not only did Fab rock the iconic Kobe “8” Laker jersey, Kobe also pulled up to the video shoot to show love. Glad Fab made this track while Kobe was here to hear it.
Travis Scott – Stargazing
“I’m way too gold for this beef, feel like I’m Kobe”
On the intro of Travis Scott’s biggest project, we get a Kobe Bean reference. What Travis is humbly saying is, I have too many victories to beef. The same we see the GIF of Kobe reminding someone that he has 5 rings. Certain things are just beneath you at some point.
According to LyricFind Kobe Bryant has been mentioned in 535 songs, across genres. Kobe’s impact both on the court and off, will have him forever honored and remembered in music. R.I.P to all lives lost in that horrendous tragedy.