The late basketball star Kobe Bryant had a short-lived music career during the late 1990s and early 2000s, however besides the commercially unsuccessful single titled “K.O.B.E.” and a rare remix of the Destiny’s Child single “Say My Name,” his work remains largely unreleased. According to Rev Run of the legendary hip hop group Run DMC, one of these tracks includes their collaboration, which never saw the light of day.
The hip hop performer explained that their meeting was centered around their connection to the sportswear company adidas. While the basketball player was known later on in his career for his partnership with Nike, he began with an adidas partnership releasing shoes such as KB8, KB8 2, KB8 3 and the Kobe 2, while Run DMC had a hit single titled “My Adidas.”
“Years ago, somebody connected [Run-D.M.C.] to Kobe Bryant, and we were going to make a record together. We met at the studio [in L.A.], because Kobe at the time had a relationship with adidas, and we had that big record, ‘My Adidas,’” Rev Run explained.
Bryant’s hip hop career began in high school, when he served as a member of the CHEIZAW rap group. The group was eventually signed to Sony Entertainment, who sought to capitalize on the player’s NBA fame. Unfortunately, the reception around his debut single “K.O.B.E.” which featured Tyra Banks was received poorly, which led the label to drop him and scrap their plans for a studio album. Despite being signed to a commercial label, and releasing a single with a pop oriented sound, Bryant had his roots in underground hip hop, and enjoyed rapping as an art form.
“He liked to rap, we knew he was a good basketball player that wanted to rap with us, and we had a great night, took pictures,” Rev Run recalled. “He was excited to meet us, and we were excited to meet him. …It was just beautiful hanging with Kobe — and starting to record a record that we never finished.”