Little is remembered about Kobe Bryant’s career as a rapper and less is known about his debut album Visions. After a disastrous first quarter promotional campaign to set off the new millennium in 2000, Visions suffered the same fate as Allen Iverson’s debut CD Jewelz and Shaq’s 5th CD Superfriends by being put on the shelf. Being “shelved” meant having your album never see the light of the day and making sure it doesn’t sit on a clearance rack at a Sam Goody or Vinyl Fever (shout out to my favorite Tallahasee spot) next to Chris Webber’s Gangsta album or Shaq’s last official release – the 1998 album Respect.
I was in the small minority that purchased Shaq’s Respect album 15 years ago and I do remember finding the album disappointing – yes even by Shaq’s album standards. Shaq’s albums have always been known for great guests ranging from Biggie to Jay-Z to Method Man to Warren G to Ill Al Skratch…ok scratch Ill Al Skratch (but Where My Homiez was cool). On Respect the most popular guests were DJ Quick, Peter Gunz (more known for being Corey Gunz dad) and Loon (retired and now known as Amir Junaid Muhadith after converting to Islam). What I didn’t know about the track 3 X’s Dope until reading this Grantland article is that the un credited first rapper in the song is actually Kobe Bryant. The shock of it was like finding out that my Dad isn’t my biological or when Brent Barry found out…ok I’m kidding and I wont go there.
The other shocking factor is that I don’t find Kobe to be that bad of a rapper. I’m not saying he’s on the level with raps finest from the 90s but I’ll listen to him any day over half of the rappers trending and populating World Star Hip Hop now. Chief Keef recently came out with a song called Kobe and as mediocre as Kobe Bryant was and as awful Tyra Banks was, i’ll take that version any day over Keefs! Then again how can I resist these Biggie worthy lyrics by Keef.
Hundred thousand in one pocket I get paid like I’m Kobe
When these f**k boys play games man I just play like I’m Kobe
I been ballin’ so damn hard I swear I think that I’m Kobe
Young bull of this rap s**t but I think that I’m Kobe
I swear I’m dunkin on these h*es on these n***s I’m free throwin
These boys they don’t like me cause I think that I’m Kobe
Watch me hit the strip club make it rain like I’m Kobe
Industry full of lames I play the game like I’m Kobe
And since I think I’m Kobe my bitch don’t like to know me
This is for them n***s that be thinking they Kobe
Click here to read the Grantland article The Secret History of Kobe’s Rap Career
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