Kobe Bryant’s Brief Rap Career Back in the Spotlight After His Death

Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash along with his 13-year old daughter Gianna and seven other victims on Jan. 26. He was not only one of the all-time greats in the NBA, but he was also was a two-time Olympic gold-medal winner and won an Academy Award for his short film, Dear Basketball. But at one point, Bryant was a hip-hop artist and fans are taking a look back as his career in music in wake of his death.

On Twitter, one fan shared a video of Bryant featured in the song "Hold Me" by Brian McKnight. The song peaked at No. 12 on the Billboard R&B chart and No. 35 on the Hot 100 chart.

"Hold Me" was released in 1997 right when Bryant was entering the league. In 1999, he signed a deal with Sony to release a studio album according to the Los Angeles Times. In that same year, Bryant collaborated with Destiny's Child, remixing the hit "Say My Name." His debut single, which was called "K.O.B.E." was released at the All-Star game and it featured supermodel Tyra Banks.

"It's embarrassing," Dexter Thomas of the Los Angeles Times wrote back in 2015 when talking about the song. "That cheap-sounding beat, the uninspired hook, the awkward chorus - this is more off-target than those airballs he threw in 1997 against the Utah Jazz."

Thomas may not like the song, but it was the song that led to Bryant meeting his wife Vanessa. She was brought on to be part of the music video to accompany the song and the two develop a relationship that would lead to marriage and four daughters. However, the video was never released.

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Because of that and the song getting panned by critics, the album was shelved. Sony then let Bryant go and he never got back into music full-time. But the good news is Bryant's short-lived music career has led to music superstars like Jay-Z, Drake and Kendrick Lamar to drop his name their songs.

After Bryant's death, it was reported that fans were more interesting in his music. On eBay, a vinyl copy of "K.O.BE." was going for $100. On Amazon, anything related to Bryant and music is sold out. And during the Grammy Awards, there were a number of tributes to Bryant as the show was being held at the Staples Center which is the home of the Lakers.