Meek Mill really didn't need to riff on dying like Kobe Bryant

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Just days after posting that “‘attention’ is the most addictive drug known to mankind,” Meek Mill sure managed to secure some for himself. It’s been three years since his last proper album, Championships, and he’s been teasing a new project of some kind for release this year. But after one Lil Baby-featuring track called “Don’t Worry” leaked online, the focus certainly wasn’t on whether or not it slaps.

Although the song has largely been wiped off social media and its lyrics removed from Genius, fans were quick to notice a line comparing Meek’s hypothetical demise to Kobe Bryant's, who died in a helicopter accident alongside his daughter, Gianna, last January:

“This bitch I'm fuckin' always tell me that she love me / But she ain't ever showed me / Yeah, and if I ever lack, I’m goin' out with my chopper / It be another Kobe.”

You can see where this might get Meek into some dicey territory, regardless of whether the "chopper" reference was to a gun. While it’s far from uncommon for a rapper to compare their theoretical death to another departed icon, it's rarer when their family is still in the early stages of grieving.

Bryant’s widow, Vanessa, posted a statement to Mill on her Instagram stories, condemning the lyrics as “extremely insensitive and disrespectful.” Bryant continued: “I am not familiar with any of your music, but I believe you can do better than this. If you are a fan, fine, there's a better way to show your admiration for my husband.”

After the backlash piled up, from Bryant herself and so many fans of both Mill and Kobe, the rapper posted a note of his own to Twitter. Presumably addressing people who were badgering him for an apology, Meek claims he spoke to Bryant on Tuesday:

“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!”

You know, the guy’s pretty much correct here! The issue is between Meek and the Bryants, so any public apology would only serve to placate people without a direct personal interest in the matter. Anyway, what a disastrous unforced error that didn’t by any means have to go down like this. I’ve already seen someone suggest that he shelve whatever album this song was set to appear on for a few months, in hopes that people forget about this. Given the daily deluge of new outrages and misfires, it feels like a safe gamble.