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Lil Wayne Pays Tribute to Kobe Bryant on New Album

Gettyimages | Nicholas Hunt
By Alyssa McCraw

Lil Wayne has added his voice to the chorus of celebrities offering their sincere condolences to the memory of Kobe Bryant.

The 37-year-old rapper (whose real name is Dwayne Michael Carter Jr.) released his 13th studio album was released on January 31st. The release of Funeral comes just five days after Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash that claimed the lives of his 13-year-old daughter and seven other victims, but he was able included a 24-second moment of silence to honor the late basketball legend on a track titled "Bing James."

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Gettyimages | Gonzalo Marroquin

Wayne credits his producers for the last-minute addition, and says his entire team was on board to ensure the tribute made its way on the album. "Everyone who is involved with that type of thing - as far as timing and when to turn the album in and things like that - everyone understands at that point," he said in an interview with Undisputed.

"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."

Gettyimages | Erika Goldring

Carter said that he hopes the album's impact will show where he's at in his career. He also wants to "show the younger artists that are coming up that there's still hunger, and you don't lose it." He continued by saying that he hopes his authenticity shines through, encouraging people to "continue to be who you were from day one."

One interviewer even points out that - like Kobe's number - the album coincidentally has 24 tracks. He also asks Wayne if he considered splitting it into two albums.

Wikimedia | https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kobe_B_Bryant.jpg

"I turned in 52 songs," he resoonded. Although his previous album Tha Carter V was released just two years ago, Wayne has been working on the music for Funeral since 2016. While initial news of the project came almost four years ago, he officially announced its release via Twitter on January 23rd.

Weezy went out on tour last summer with Blink 182, but it wasn't without trouble - he made threats of quitting but later changed his mind. Travis Barker, the band's drummer, says that Wayne infamously walked off stage during a show because - in Wayne's words - "I just felt like they didn't like me."

Gettyimages | Tim Mosenfelder

Like many others, the sudden loss of Bryant hit close to home for Carter.

“I have kids, man. I have four kids. And I have a beautiful daughter, and I cannot imagine. And I’ve been trying not to imagine," he said earlier this week. “Everybody knows, [it was] obviously very terrible day for sports. But as far as me and with my concern and my thoughts and prayers was just for the family of Mr. Bryant and the family of the others’ lives that were lost from the tragedy, and the situation, the accident."

Besides his track 8 tribute, you'll hear him shout out "Black Mamba" on track 16 ("Ball Hard").

'Funeral' is available now on Apple Music and Spotify.

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