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Lil Wayne's Latest Album Offers A Touching Subtle Tribute To Kobe Bryant

Gettyimages | Nicholas Hunt
By Chris Barilla

In the wake of the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant, his daugher Gianna, and seven other helicopter passengers on Sunday, January 26, the entire world has seemingly issued condolences in one way or another. Athletes, actors, musicians, and everyone in between has said something in regards to the untimeley passing of the basketball great.

However, the most unique musical tribute so far has come in the form of Lil Wayne's anticipated new studio album, 'Funeral,' which has a significant tribute to Bryant at the tail end of the 8th track.

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On "Bing James," which features fellow rapper Jay Rock, Wayne opted for a special kind of tribute to the fallen basketball player. Instead of writing lyrics that deliberately discuss the momentous loss, Wayne's tribute was one of silence, 24 seconds of it at that. On the 8th track of the album, at the end, 24 seconds of empty space finish off the track, leaving an interpretive tribute to the Olympic medal-winning athlete fit only for a hip-hop legend such as Wayne.

Giphy | SHOWTIME Sports

For those who may not know, the significance of the numbers 8 and 24 are they are the numbers Bryant donned throughout his NBA career. In the wake of his passing, many fellow NBA players who currently wear the number 24 on their own team's jerseys have asked to change to other numbers out of respect for the untimely loss of one of the game's brightest shining stars.

Prior to his retirement, Bryant was a player on the Los Angeles Lakers.

Giphy | BET Hip Hop Awards

While appearing on Fox program 'Undisputed', Wayne spoke about the last-minute tribute addition to his album, saying, “The message that LeBron said, ‘I’m going to go out and do it for you.’ I believe that’s the message of every single player in the NBA. That’s how they all feel,”

Wayne has been a known affiliate with many high profile NBA stars throughout his time in the spotlight, and references to friends such as Lebron James and Kobe Bryant were not uncommon, even prior to this tragedy.

Kobe Bryant when he played for the Los Angeles Lakers
Wikimedia | https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kobe_B_Bryant.jpg

As for what spurred the 24-second silence at the end of his eighth track, Wayne commented, "That right there, I have to thank my big brother Mack. You know that was an idea he called me with right then and there. A day later, he called me with this idea he thought of and of course I confirmed it, I agreed with it."

Aside from the tribute on "Bing James," Bryant is also referenced once more on the album, with Wayne discussing Black Mamba, Bryant's nickname, on "Ball Hard."

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