I did a driveby on twitter yesterday, and noticed a lot of tweets expressing sorrow and RIPs over “Kobe.” I only know of one Kobe—basketball legend Kobe Bryant, and he was young. Once news officially broke about the helicopter crash that took Bryant, his young daughter, and others’ lives, I realized the worst was true. Somewhere in the back of my mind, there was an association with Bryant and music. So I started hopping around the Web to make sure my memory was right.
Did you know Kobe Bryant once had ambitions to be a rapper? He even signed on with Sony, but the relationship ended. As with many aspiring musicians, there seemed to be an argument over spinning out content that was pop friendly and would be more brand than art, or conversely, doing the type of art Bryant had in mind.
There’s an archived article at the archive for an ESPN blog that is no longer updated but makes the content available. The article is very well written by Thomas Golianopoulos who summed up Bryant’s rap philosophy as “lyrically complex underground rap.”
I’d say most music genres now and even then, in 2013 when the article published, weren’t interested in “lyrically complex” anything. That’s one reason so much of today’s chart-topping music will ultimately go the way of the corded phone.
As news broke about Bryant on Twitter, I realized how deeply a popular athlete can touch others. I also realized the fragility of our existence, the importance of valuing your loved ones every single day.
Too many people to count, both regular Americans and the celebrity class, extended condolences to the families who lost loved ones in that crash. Thus far, media are saying nine people died. Some on Twitter attempted to make political statements about Bryant’s past. I believe the day of a person’s death is not a day to get political about anything, even if the person is a politician and Bryant certainly was not.
Bryant, other than being an astounding athlete, seems to have had an artistic side to his talents and it’s sad that he didn’t live long enough to do something more with those talents. Personally, my sympathy is with his wife and other children and the families of all those who died that day.
You can read the feature piece on Bryant’s rap endeavors at the archives for ESPN’s ‘long journalism’ site Grantland. It seems to me Bryant had the heart of a poet and artist in addition to being a legend on the basketball court.
NBC/Los Angeles has published a story with briefs about the known victims in yesterday’s crash.
(Kay B. Day/Jan. 27, 2020)
*Image of Kobe Bryant used in this article is by Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, USA – Kobe Bryant, CC BY-SA 2.0; Licensing.