How LL Cool J advised Kobe Bryant against ‘gangster rap’ career
LL Cool J has recalled how he once urged Kobe Bryant to scrap an album of gangster rap recordings.
The Going Back to Cali star attended a memorial service for the late basketball player on Monday, who along with his teenage daughter Gianna, was one of nine victims of a helicopter crash last month.
Speaking to Entertainment Tonight, the hitmaker, real name James Todd Smith, remembered the time Kobe signed a record deal for his first rap album, preceded by the lead single K.O.B.E.
“We talked about rap,” he said. “He played me this album, this gangsta rap album and I was like, ‘Kobe,’ I said, ‘Come on dog. That’s not what you need to be doing.’
“He had a gangster rap album. He played me that album, we’re sitting in a parking lot. I was confused, I was sittin’ there like, ‘What are we doing? You got endorsements, what are you doing?'”
“It had to be the funniest moment of my life, listening to him do gangster rap.”
The 52-year-old also spoke about the National Basketball Association (NBA) player’s performance of K.O.B.E. at the 2000 All-Star Game with Tyra Banks, adding: “Yeah, we’re not gonna pretend like we wasn’t laughing (sic). Like yeah yeah yeah the world was laughing, that was not – but you know, he took his shot. He took his shot.”
Stars including Beyonce, Christina Aguilera, and Alicia Keys took to the stage to perform at the star-studded memorial, with the proceeds from ticket sales for the Celebration of Life benefitting the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation, which Vanessa Byrant relaunched earlier this month. Musicnews