Philadelphia-based rapper Meek Mill received backlash from Vanessa Bryant over his insensitive remarks about her late husband in his leaked track, “Don’t Worry (RIP Kobe).”
In the song featuring Lil Baby, Mill says, “Yeah, and if I ever lack, I’m goin’ out with my chopper, it be another Kobe.”
Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and several other passengers died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, last January.
Vanessa took to her Instagram story to address the lyrics, writing in her post, “Dear @meekmill, I find this line to be extremely insensitive and disrespectful. Period. I am not familiar with any of your music, but I believe you can do better than this.”
Lyrics At The Expense Of Lost Lives
Mill’s use of Kobe’s fatal crash in his song begs the question of whether song makers should ever use death as a punchline.
Biggie Smalls is another well-known celebrity whose death has inspired the lyrics of many rappers. Nevertheless, there is an unspoken rule to referencing legends gone too soon; that is, speak on their legacy, not their death.
Jay-Z often pays homage to his late friend and collaborator. Most notably, he said, “Flow infinitely like the memory of my n—a Biggie” in his song “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem).”
Is An Apology Enough?
Through his Twitter account, Mill said that he apologized to Vanessa privately.
I apologized to her in private earlier today not to the public…Nothing I say on my page directed to a internet viral moment or the family of a grieving woman! If you care about someone grieving change the subject!
— Meek Mill (@MeekMill) February 23, 2021
Before his apology, though, the 33-year-old rapper made it clear that he will continue to stand by his work.
“I don’t think we on the same signal y’all.., I don’t see what y’all see … I be looking at the net laughing like I did whet Upside-down face I say random s— all day on social … it becomes a trend to hate on me every once in a while but I feed off that s— ima beast literally,” he said in a post on Twitter.
Of course, it is up to Kobe’s surviving family to accept or deny Mill’s apology. But his choice to use the lyrics in the first place shows that the line between insensitivity and respect in the rap game is often blurred.
Mia is a recent graduate of Penn State and an aspiring writer. When she is not writing for RoyalTee Magazine, she enjoys listening to music, learning graphic design, and reading.