LL Cool J advised Kobe Bryant against releasing a gangster rap album.
The 52-year-old rapper has recalled a time when his late pal - who was killed, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others, in a helicopter crash last month aged 41 - played him a hip hop record he had recorded, but LL was "confused" and told him gangster rap was "not what you need to be doing".
He said: "We talked about rap.
"He played me this album, this gangster rap album and I was like, 'Kobe,' I said, 'Come on dog. That's not what you need to be doing [laughs].'
"He had a gangster rap album. He played me that album, we're sitting in a parking lot. I was confused, I was sitting there like, 'What are we doing? You got endorsements, what are you doing?' "
LL joked it was the "funniest moment" of his life listening to pro basketball player Kobe perform gangster rap.
He said: "It had to be the funniest moment of my life, listening to him do gangster rap."
While Kobe didn't make a side career out of rapping, he did release a single, 'K.O.B.E.', in 2000, but didn't end up dropping the album.
But Kobe performed his titular song at the 2000 NBA All-Star Game - a basketball exhibition match, hosted annually by the National Basketball Association - in 2000 with Tyra Banks.
And LL joked the "world was laughing" at the performance.
He told 'Entertainment Tonight': "Yeah, we're not gonna pretend like we wasn't laughing.
"Like, yeah, yeah yeah the world was laughing, that was not - but you know, he took his shot. He took his shot."
In February 2018, rapper Kendrick Lamar admitted he saw similarities between himself and NBA legend Kobe.
He explained: "I think from afar, we both have this will power of finding our how far we can max our potential in what we can do. I think once you have that curiosity, it'll keep you challenged, it'll keep you motivated and it'll keep you elevated.
"That's what he's done with his career, he maxed it out to this fullest on the court. Now, he's off the court and he's finding a whole new love for something and he'll continue with that concept and that same idea. I think that's what we share the most."